Day after Portland

Kyle Wiltjer of the Bulldogs shoots over Portland’s Gabe Taylor in a game dominated by Zags’ defense. (Colin Mulvany)
Kyle Wiltjer of the Bulldogs shoots over Portland’s Gabe Taylor in a game dominated by Zags’ defense. (Colin Mulvany)

Busy day so we’ll get right to it. My gamer, Colin Mulvany’s photos and an expanded gallery.

Day-after Portland post below.

--It reads like a who’s who of Gonzaga guards and shooters since the addition of the 3-point shot to the college game in 1987. And now, Kevin Pangos sits atop GU’s all-time 3-point list with 291 3s, and counting.

Here’s the rest of the top 10: 2. Blake Stepp 288. 3. Richie Frahm 280. 4. Matt Santangelo 252. 5. Derek Raivio 243. 6. John Rillie 230. 7. Steven Gray 210. 8. Gary Bell Jr. 194. 9. Dan Dickau 188. 10. Matt Bouldin 187.

Pretty good company.

“It feels great because you’re going to be recognized for years to come,” Pangos said, “and that’s pretty special.”

Pretty good argument: Who is the best shooter, pure shooter, on that list? Pangos has to be at, or in the top 3, of that list.

By the way, Stepp's scoring record at South Eugene High is about to fall, too. More here.

--Something happened in last night’s game that I’m not sure I’ve seen in a Gonzaga game this season: The Zags had a shot-clock violation. That happens about as often as a New England running back fumbles.

 Alert readers or avid GU fans might be able to point out a previous shot-clock violation but I couldn’t remember one, other than one of those run-out-the-clock, lead-by-30-at-the-end-of-the-game. Arizona maybe? I asked around and 4-5 others that follow GU’s program closely couldn’t recall one.

--Gonzaga’s offense hit a few speed bumps last night. Question is, How much of it was GU’s execution and how much of it was Portland’s defense?

The Zags certainly missed a number of shots they normally make. Bell was 0 of 4 on 3s, and all were decent looks. Silas Melson missed three open 3s.

But there were issues with shot selection and lack of patience.

Portland often collapsed in the lane on post touches – on one play Przemek Karnowski dealt with four defenders and a fifth was close by. Gonzaga still scored a ton of paint points (32) but it wasn’t able to make the Pilots pay from the perimeter when they clogged the lane. Most of GU’s other opponents haven't been as fortunate.

“The shooting tonight was a little bit shot selection and not quite using each other as much as in the past and taking (shots) early,” Few said.

The Zags were smoother in the second half and able to get some transition buckets and points off Portland turnovers, including two Melson steals that he converted into a layup and a dunk.

--Domantas Sabonis has been an impact freshman off the bench all season but he’s played his best basketball of late. Sabonis is a freshman in name only. He gained invaluable experience playing for Unicaja Malage in Spain in the world’s second best league.

He’s also a reserve in name only, too. He averages 21.6 minutes, in the neighborhood of Karnowski’s 24.2 and Wiltjer’s 25.8. In WCC play, Sabonis is averaging 23.6 minutes.

Sabonis’ 13 points and 11 rebounds last night boosted his season averages to 10 points and 6.9 rebounds.

“He did a great job rebounding in traffic,” Few said. “Just the toughness he brings and the physicality. He’s playing with a broken finger, too. He’s as tough as they come. He never takes a rep off in practice.

“It’s a real luxury. And it’s a luxury where in years’ past when once Shem got those fouls we had to be really creative how we guarded post – are we doubling, are we doubling from the perimeter or bringing it from the other post. With Domas, you don’t have that. He’s fine guarding all alone in there.”

In Gonzaga’s last six games, Sabonis has had rebounding totals of 13, 12, 11, 9, 9, 8 and 8. Sabonis has made 78 percent of his shots in the last five games.


--Quite the stat line for Przemek Karnowski: 4 of 6 FG, 2 of 6 FT, 10 pts, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 turnovers, 3 blocks, 2 steals. Lot of activity for 26 minutes.

--GU’s 14 assists were divided among seven players.

--Karnowski’s three blocks moved his career total to 93, just behind No. 6 Josh Heytvelt’s 95 on the school’s all-time list. By season’s end, Karnowski figures to be at No. 5, behind Casey Calvary (207), Robert Sacre (139), Ronny Turiaf (129) and Austin Daye (124). Tim Ruff is at No. 5 with 99.

--Portland previous season low was 55 points vs. Valparaiso.


Pangos on barking at Alec Wintering after hitting his second 3: “I don’t like when our team is in a close game and things aren’t going so well … There were a couple of fouls I thought should have been called but I don’t like to complain to the refs. I like to keep playing. That’s the way I took it out; nothing against him. I wasn’t happy with how things were going. I wanted to change it.”

Melson: “The fans were putting a lot of pressure on Kevin chanting his name and all that, but of course he’s mature enough to handle it.”

Few: “Our defense is slowly climbing up in the top 20 nationally in DER and for percentages on 3s and 2s.”


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Jim Meehan
Jim Meehan's coverage areas include Gonzaga University men's basketball, Spokane Shock football, golf and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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