Gonzaga rolled to a 91-54 victory over Loyola Marymount on Thursday, clinching no worse than a share of the WCC title for the ninth straight year. Read on for links and my day-after post.
--Gonzaga was mainly looking ahead and not back after routing Loyola Marymount.
“We want to win the league outright. I don’t think we’ve done that yet,” head coach Mark Few said. “We want to keep trying to improve our NCAA resume, and continue to keep playing better basketball.”
“It’s a really good feeling to get the league title, but we can’t be satisfied because last year we were kind of satisfied with the league title and ended up losing in the conference tournament,” forward Josh Heytvelt said.
--Steven Gray, who was replaced in the starting lineup by Micah Downs two games ago, caught fire in the second half. He made 5 of 6 3s and scored 21 of his 23 points. Gray made just four 3s in the previous five games.
Gray’s productivity doesn’t seem to be influenced by whether he starts or comes off the bench.
“You can only start five at one time,” he said. “When you’re on the bench you can see how the game is being played and you can jump in. I feel an advantage. You almost sort of feel the game out.”
“I just try to bring my energy and the intensity I’m capable of bringing on the defensive end, hitting shots and rebounding,” he said. “I’m just playing really hard – that’s what the coaches want me to do.”
--After a string of steady WCC performances, Matt Bouldin was limited to just four points and three assists. He took just two shots. For just the third time this season, Bouldin was in foul trouble. He had four fouls and played just five minutes in the second half and 22 overall.
--Austin Daye finished with 13 points and seven boards in 26 minutes. He was tagged with a technical foul with 7:12 remaining when he got tangled up with Loyola Marymount’s Kevin Young in the backcourt.
“He hit me in the chest and I hit his arm away from me,” Daye said. “I guess they saw the second guy. I didn’t initiate it.”
--Jeremy Pargo finished with six assists and one turnover in 25 minutes. It was his best assists-to-turnover ratio since Washington State on Dec. 10 (10 assists, 1 turnover, and 11 points). Five of his assists came in the first half.
--Senior Andrew Sorenson logged his first minutes since the last meeting with LMU on Jan. 24. Sorenson made another 3 – that’s at least one 3 in six of the 13 games he’s played. He’s 7 of 12 on 3s for the season.
Walk-on guard Chris Pontarolo-Maag played three minutes, seeing game action for the fifth time this season.
--Jarred DuBois and Vernon Teel, LMU’s top two scorers, scored just 22 points on combined 8-of-25 shooting. The two average nearly 30 points per game. The two had seven of LMU’s 17 turnovers.
Daye on whether Gonzaga has leveled off or is improving late in the year: “I think both, somewhat. We’re doing well, but we're not doing what we’re fully capable of. It seems like we’re not 100 percent with our effort, but I think we’ll be able to get there before the WCC tournament.”
Few on GU’s effort vs. LMU: “We really wanted to share the ball and move it around and try to get everybody going. We did that. At the same time, our defensive mentality was pretty good. They made some tough shots. Most of the shots they took were over a hand.”
Downs on building momentum late in the season: “It’s very important, coming out and winning league and the conference tournament. It’s a big helper and keeps the momentum going into March Madness.”
Pargo on getting the ball inside to Heytvelt and Daye: “That’s one of the things we wanted to do a better job of, getting the ball to the right spots at the right times. Josh outsized a lot of those guys and so did