Gonzaga strengthens grip on No. 1 spot in AP poll

Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs (1) and head coach Mark Few discuss strategy during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Iowa, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020 in SIoux Falls, S.D. (AP Photo/Josh Jurgens)
Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs (1) and head coach Mark Few discuss strategy during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Iowa, Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020 in SIoux Falls, S.D. (AP Photo/Josh Jurgens) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All RIghts Reserved.)

A two-week layoff did nothing to slow down Gonzaga.

The Zags strengthened their grip on the No. 1 spot in The Associated Press college basketball poll released on Monday, earning 61 of 64 first-place votes from a media panel after knocking off then-No. 3 Iowa.

No. 2 Baylor received the remaining three first-place votes and Kansas moved up two spots to No. 3. Iowa and Villanova rounded out the top five.

Gonzaga showed no signs of rust after pausing team activities for two weeks due to COVID-19 issues. The Zags (4-0) jumped on the Hawkeyes early and went 13 of 26 from 3-point range to win 99-88 at The Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

“They’ve got a lot of weapons,” Iowa coach Fran McCaffrey said.

Gonzaga had last played on Dec. 2, an 87-82 win over No. 7 West Virginia in Indianapolis. The Bulldogs canceled their showdown with Baylor on Dec. 5 just hours before tipoff because a player and a staffer tested positive for COVID-19.

Gonzaga had to shut down after that and missed four home games before returning to the court last week.

The break worked out well for freshman Jalen Suggs, who had 18 of his 30 points in the first half against Iowa and went 7 for 10 from the 3-point arc.