Gonzaga has been in 14 NCAA tournaments, five of which ended with an appearance in the Round of 16. But no Gonzaga team has ever before been ranked No. 2 in The Associated Press’ Top 25, as the Bulldogs were Monday.
The Spokane school moved up one spot to its highest ranking ever, surpassing the No. 3 position it enjoyed last week and for the final two weeks of the 2003-04 season.
“It’s a special thing to be recognized at this time of year,” guard Mike Hart said. “We’ve got 30 games under our belt. That says a lot. It’s not just a few games.”
That sentiment was echoed by Zags coach Mark Few.
“The polls mean a lot more this time of year than they do in November, December, even January,” Few said. “All of us are being judged on the true body of work. It’s definitely rewarding.
“It establishes us as a national program, which I believe we have been for the last 10 years.”
Guard Kevin Pangos cautioned that it is an ethereal honor.
“It can change in a flash in case we lose a game,” Pangos said, adding that players were aware of the carnage at the upper reaches of the poll in recent weeks. “It makes us aware it can happen to us at any time.”
HOOSIERS, BEARS RETAIN TOP SPOTS IN AP POLL
Indiana is No. 1 in The Associated Press’ Top 25 for the fourth consecutive week, while Baylor remains at No. 1 in the women’s poll for an eighth week in a row.
The Hoosiers, who have been ranked No. 1 for a total of 10 weeks this season, received all but one first-place vote, which went to No. 2 Gonzaga, from the 65-member national media panel.
Duke moved up three spots to third and is followed by Michigan and Miami.
In the women’s poll, the first seven stayed unchanged with Baylor, Notre Dame, UConn, Stanford and Duke rounding out the top five.
TOP 25 MEN
No. 6 Kansas 108, at Iowa State 96 (OT): Elijah Johnson scored a career-high 39 points — 12 in overtime — and the Jayhawks survived a scare by the Cyclones to get coach Bill Self’s 500th career win.
Travis Releford added 19 points for Kansas (24-4, 12-3 Big 12 Conference), which snapped Iowa State’s 22-game home winning streak and kept pace with No. 13 Kansas State atop the Big 12.
The Cyclones (19-9, 9-6) led by five points with 35 seconds remaining in regulation, but the Jayhawks rallied with Johnson sinking two free throws with 4.9 seconds to go in regulation to tie the game at 90.
In overtime, Johnson and Releford buried 3-pointers to put Kansas ahead 100-92 with 2:03 remaining putting the game out of reach for Iowa State.
At No. 22 Marquette 74, No. 12 Syracuse 71: Davante Gardner scored a career-high 26 points and the Golden Eagles surprised the Orange with the upset victory.
Gardner made all seven of his shots and was 12-for-13 on free throws in 33 minutes to pull Marquette (20-7, 11-4 Big East) into second place, one-half game behind No. 7 Georgetown. C.J. Fair had 20 points for Syracuse (22-6, 10-5).
At No. 13 Kansas State 75, Texas Tech 55: Thomas Gipson scored 20 points and the Wildcats, under coach Bruce Weber, reached 12 conference wins for the first time in 40 years with a win over the Red Raiders.
The 12 league wins are the most ever for a first-year coach at Kansas State (23-5, 12-3 Big 12). Dusty Hannahs scored 14 points for Texas Tech (9-17, 2-13) and Jaye Crockett added 13.
TOP 25 WOMEN
No. 1 Baylor 86, at Oklahoma 64: Brittney Griner scored 15 points, tied her season-high with 15 rebounds and blocked seven shots to lead the top-ranked Bears (27-1, 16-0 Big 12 Conference) to their 25th consecutive victory against the Sooners (19-9, 9-7).
Griner moved past Connecticut’s Maya Moore into fourth in career scoring in women’s basketball. Only Jackie Stiles of Missouri State, Patricia Hoskins of Mississippi Valley State and Lorri Bauman of Drake have more than Griner’s 3,045 points.