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Gonzaga adds Northern Arizona to home nonconference schedule

UPDATED: Thu., Oct. 29, 2020

Gonzaga has added Northern Arizona to its nonconference home schedule.

The Lumberjacks will visit the McCarthey Athletic Center on Dec. 12. Gonzaga now has home dates lined up with Tarleton State on Dec. 8, NAU and Dixie State on Dec. 29.

Gonzaga is shooting for six nonconference home contests to go with five marquee neutral-court games: Kansas, Auburn, Tennessee, Baylor and Iowa. That would give GU 11 nonconference games and 16 West Coast Conference matchups for a total of 27, the maximum number as mandated by the NCAA.

Gonzaga has had to revise its original schedule – which included NAU on Dec. 28 and Tarleton State on Dec. 12 – and a few versions since because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The NCAA moved opening day for games from Nov. 10 to Nov. 25 and earlier this week coronavirus protocol concerns prompted the cancellation of numerous ESPN-operated tournaments in Orlando, Florida.

Northern Arizona, Tarleton State and Bellarmine, which was also on Gonzaga’s original 2020-21 schedule, will be on the Zags’ home schedule next season. The contracts for this season were deferred to next season and new ones were drawn up for this year’s contests against NAU and Tarleton State.

NAU (16-14 overall) was 10-10 in the Big Sky Conference last season. The sixth-seeded Lumberjacks lost to No. 11 Idaho State in the opening round of the conference tournament. Interim coach Shane Burcar was elevated to head coach in March after guiding the Lumberjacks to the program’s most conference and overall wins since the 2014-15 season.

The Lumberjacks return 10 players but only three, juniors Cameron Shelton, Luke Avdalovic and Nik Mains, averaged at least 10 minutes per game. Shelton averaged 14.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.4 assists to earn All-Big Sky third-team honors. Avdalovic chipped in 8.9 points.

NAU is rebuilding its frontcourt. Post Brooks DeBisschop (12 points, 8.1 rebounds) graduated and forward Bernie Andre (11.2 points, 6.6 boards) moved on to Vermont as a grad transfer. Guard Cam Satterwhite (9.0 points) transferred to Montana.

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