Gonzaga to Play Auburn Despite 2 Players in COVID-19 Protocols

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistNovember 27, 2020

Gonzaga cheerleaders and fans look on during a free throw attempt in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game between Gonzaga and Loyola Marymount in Spokane, Wash., Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
Young Kwak/Associated Press

The men's college basketball game between the No. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs and Auburn Tigers will go on as scheduled Friday despite two Gonzaga players being in COVID-19 protocols.

According to Jim Meehan of theย Spokesman-Review, two Gonzaga players were placed in COVID-19 protocols after the Zags scored a season-opening 102-90 win over the No. 6 Kansas Jayhawks on Thursday, although it doesn't necessarily mean they tested positive for COVID-19.

Jeff Goodman of Stadium reported that the two players who will miss Friday's game are "younger role players."

Gonzaga released the following statement on the matter, per Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports:

The Fort Myers Tip-Off game between Gonzaga and Auburn will occur Friday at 11 a.m. ET in Fort Myers, Florida.

Gonzaga was highly impressive in Thursday's win over Kansas, as three Zags players scored at least 20 points in the victory.

Sophomore forward Drew Timme led the way with 25 points, while freshman guard Jalen Suggs added 24 and senior forward Corey Kispert scored 23.

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Entering the season, there were some questions about Gonzaga's status as the No. 1 team in the nation after it lost leading scorer Filip Petrusev and No. 3 scorer Killian Tillie from last year's team.

When the 2019-20 college basketball season was cut short and unable to be finished because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Zags were the No. 2 team in the nation and potentially in line to win the first national championship in school history.

That opportunity was taken away because of a situation outside of Gonzaga's control, but head coach Mark Few's squad has the look of a team ready to go the distance this season.

Friday's matchup with Auburn is an intriguing one since the Tigers got off to a 15-0 start last season and established themselves as a potential national title contender as well.

Auburn lost its top six scorers from last season, including Samir Doughty and Isaac Okoro, but head coach Bruce Pearl's team scored a 96-91 win over Saint Joseph's on Thursday.

Even without the two players who are out of Friday's game, Gonzaga is a heavy favorite against Auburn given its status as the No. 1 team in the country.