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Wed., Dec. 21, 2011, 9:19 a.m.

Day after Butler

Gonzaga forward Elias Harris (20) heads to the basket past Butler forward Kameron Woods. Harris had 19 points. (Colin Mulvany)
Gonzaga forward Elias Harris (20) heads to the basket past Butler forward Kameron Woods. Harris had 19 points. (Colin Mulvany)

Good morning. Let's get to the day-after Butler post with links: S-R gamer, photos and column and a recap in the Indianapolis Star

Much more below.

--Kevin Pangos worked up an appetite scoring 19 points. He stacked up three pieces of pizza for a post-game snack before heading out of the locker room to greet his sister and dad, who were in attendance. (Mom is coming in for the Air Force game.) Pangos made 3 of 7 3s and 7 of 11 FGs to finish with 19 points, his second best scoring game of the season. Other than his 33-point effort against WSU, Pangos has been consistently in the 11-14 point range.

I watched the replay late last night and his move that froze Ronald Nored was impressive. He dribbled between his legs twice before connecting from 21 feet over Nored, a highly regarded defender. Pangos’ assist-to-turnover ratio (a solid 2.36 entering the game, tied for 46th nationally) took a bit of a hit with two assists and three turnovers.

Pangos said it was a challenge to defend Butler’s endless supply of set plays.

“We just had to communicate and finish the play with a box out and rebound because they never gave in,” he said. “We go through their stuff in practice, basic concepts, we know what we have to do. It’s just a matter of communicating.”

Pangos’ family will stay in town through the holiday and the Portland game on Dec. 28th and then take in GU’s road game against Xavier in Cincinnati.

--Continuing with GU’s guard play, which Butler coach Brad Stevens said was the difference in the game, David Stockton again showed his flair for hitting key hoops when he connected on a runner after Butler had pared GU’s lead to 59-52 with 4:33 left. His other bucket, also a runner, at the 9:26 mark boosted GU’s lead to 10.

Gary Bell Jr. played 17 first-half minutes with zeroes on the stat sheet except for one foul and one blocked shot. He never let up at the defensive end and was one of the primary factors in Butler’s miserable perimeter shooting night.

Bell played 16 second-half minutes and scored nine points, hitting a 3 and draining all four of his free throws.

“He showed great maturity,” Few said. “He doesn’t get too rattled if it doesn’t happen. He lets the game come to him.”

--Butler, as mentioned, had a miserable shooting night, missing open and contested shots. The Bulldogs have sputtered offensively all season (39 percent FG, 29 percent 3-point, 63 percent FT). Aussie Jackson Aldridge was 1 of 7, 0 of 4 on 3s. Chrishawn Hopkins was 1 of 8, 0-2 on 3s. Chase Stigall was 1 of 10, 1 of 8 on 3s (the make came in the final seconds). Those three combined to go 3 of 25, 1 of 14 on 3s.

“I don’t know if it was us being near them or them missing shots,” Stockton said. “I’m going to say it was us, but you never know.”

--Butler had a couple of surprises in their starting lineup with Erik Fromm and Aldridge getting the nod and Andrew Smith and Hopkins on the bench. Fromm came in averaging 3.2 points and had made just 9 of 26 shots, but he’s been coming on in recent games, according to Stevens. Fromm, who scored nine points in Butler’s win over Purdue, scored 16 points, made four 3s and 6 of 11 FGs.

“He hasn’t been doing that all season,” Few said. “I watched him against Purdue and I was concerned about the pick-and-pop stuff. They were finding different ways to get him the ball, that’s why they’re so good.”

Butler pounded the offensive glass, but turned 15 rebounds into just 10 second-chance points. Robert Sacre had four blocks.

“You have to finish those,” Stevens said. “We got knocked off our spot quite a bit.”

--Guy Landry Edi scored his first points as a Zag, weaving down the lane on a fastbreak for a layup. He also took a charge and made a 3-pointer. He finished with six points and two boards in 11 minutes.

“He gives us some athleticism that maybe we don’t have on the perimeter and he’s another guy that’s a very good defender and rebounder,” Few said. “He helps.”

--Sam Dower continues to show signs of his form over the last half of last season while Marquise Carter continues to struggle.

Dower made 4 of 6 shots. He had nine points and pulled down seven rebounds. He’s scored 31 points in the last three games, well-timed with Robert Sacre’s point production slipping. Dower is 13 of 19 (68.4 percent) from the field in the last three games. On his first 3-point attempt of the season, Dower connected from the top of the key, giving Gonzaga the lead for good, 13-10.

“I think he’s back, but who knows,” Few said. “You just can’t make these big generalizations with all these guys. Lately he’s been what we need him to be.”

Carter, meanwhile, played just three minutes, all in the first half. He missed his only shot attempt, a 3. Carter, a key player in the WCC title run last season, scored 17 points in the season opening win over EWU. He has scored just 18 points in Gonzaga’s last six games.

STATS OF NOTE

--Five of Elias Harris’ 11 3-pointers have come in the last two games.

--Harris didn’t have his best shooting night (5 of 13 FG), but he made 3 of 4 3s and 6 of 8 FTs. He also had nine boards, the third straight game he’s led or shared team-high rebounding.

--Harris leads the team in scoring (14.0) with Pangos (13.7) and Sacre (13.6) right behind.

--Who is Gonzaga's most accurate shooter? Try Stockton, by a considerable margin. He's at 56.8 percent. Dower is next at 50.9.

--Sacre scored just two points on a first-half dunk. His worst three scoring games have been in the last three games (9, 10, 2). He had some opportunities. He pulled down one offensive rebound two feet from the hoop and ended up shooting a fallaway from 5-6 feet and he also fired a 5-foot bank shot too hard and didn’t draw iron.

--Gonzaga had nine assists on 24 baskets, Butler 16 assists on 24 baskets.

--The Bulldogs racked up 21 FT attempts (making 14). Butler didn’t get the foul line until 11 minutes remained. The visiting Bulldogs finished 1 of 4 on FTs. Stranger yet, Butler had just 15 personal fouls, GU 14.

QUOTEBOOK

Stevens: “We took very contested shots at the rim. We need to find those (uncontested) shots.”

Few: “We didn’t get frustrated to the point where we quit attacking inside out, and I thought Kevin did a nice job of stepping up and making plays.”

Few on GU’s three-game winning streak: “They’ve been really hard, all different circumstances. Each team brought something, whether it was the experience and toughness of Oral Roberts, or the great athleticism and talent Arizona possesses or just the resilience and discipline and execution of Butler. Our guys have handled themselves really well.”




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Jim Meehan
Jim Meehan joined The Spokesman-Review in 1990. Jim is currently a reporter for the Sports Desk and covers Gonzaga University basketball, Spokane Empire football, college volleyball and golf.

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