Just before an 11 a.m. ET tipoff on Friday morning pitting No. 1 Gonzaga against unranked Auburn in the Fort Myers Tip-Off, Gonzaga acknowledged in a statement that it was dealing with COVID-related issues. The game went on as scheduled, and Gonzaga -- as expected -- strutted to a comfortable 90-67 win. But how the game was able to be played despite positive tests was a concern that arose from Mark Few's postgame comments revealing that a player had tested positive.
"We had people out for quarantine due to contact tracing, we had a positive test on an administrative staff, then we had a positive test on a player," Few said. "It's how the preseason has went. You just wait to get the news on testing, then you have to react, have to stay agile. We followed COVID protocols with the tournament, and the Florida health board down here have all been great. Our guys have been incredibly diligent about following all the rules."
Few did not reveal the names of the staffer or player who tested positive, nor did he reveal the identities of those who were out due to contact tracing. But curiously missing from the bench in Gonzaga's game against the Tigers were freshmen Dominick Harris, who played three minutes against Kansas on Thursday, and Julian Strawther, who played two minutes in the 102-90 win over the Jayhawks on Thanksgiving.
Gonzaga in a pregame statement acknowledged that two players would be out of the game against Auburn per tournament guidelines and COVID-19 protocols. And on Twitter, an account that appears to belong to Dominick's father, Shawn, revealed that his son was isolating because he was "in close proximity with a player who tested positive."
"After Florida Department of Health independently conducted its contact tracing measures, the two individuals are isolating in their hotel rooms and the medical staffs of all four participating schools deemed today's games can be played," Gonzaga said in a statement.
It's unclear just how strict the contact tracing measures, but a video posted to the team's Twitter account Thursday showing the team celebrating Few's 600th career win was subsequently deleted, according to KREM2's Brenna Greene. The video showed Strawther front and center next to Few pouring water on his head in a crowded locker room.
The game was the final of Gonzaga's two contests in the Fort Myers Tip-Off. The Zags face West Virginia next Wednesday in the Jimmy V Classic.