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Zags entertain BYU

Gonzaga returns to WCC play and tries to put the tough loss to Butler in the rear-view mirror when it entertains BYU on Thursday night.

Here's my game preview that will run in Thursday's S-R.

There's a bit more on the game and a note on Drew Barham below that run on the S-R Four Corners page tomorrow.


RECORD: 17-2, 4-0 WCC

COMING UP: Tonight vs. BYU, 8 (ESPN2); Saturday vs. USF, 5 (KHQ/Root)

OUTLOOK: Two of the five D-I programs that have won at least 25 games each of the last five seasons collide at the Kennel. BYU (15-5, 5-1) has an NCAA RPI of 42, second best in the WCC behind Gonzaga (9). Saint Mary’s is No. 62. BYU sophomore guard Tyler Haws leads the conference in scoring (21.6) and free-throw percentage (91.9). His 42-point effort against Virginia Tech is the highest scoring game by a D-I player this season. Senior forward Brandon Davies (18 ppg) is tied for fourth in scoring with Gonzaga’s Kelly Olynyk. Point guard Matt Carlino has scored in double figures in all six WCC games to lift his scoring average from 7.2 to 9.9.

San Francisco (8-11, 1-5) has won only 3 of its last 13 and is tied with LMU for last in the conference. Forward Cole Dickerson is the team’s top scorer (14.9 ppg) and the WCC’s leading rebounder (10.4).



Barham for three

Drew Barham wore No. 12 at Memphis, but that number wasn’t available when he transferred to Gonzaga. John Stockton’s No. 12 and Frank Burgess’ No. 44 are the school’s only retired numbers.

So Barham chose a number that had a nice ring to it.

“Drew Barham for 3, they called me that at Memphis and they called me that in high school (when he hit a 3-pointer),” Barham said. “I didn’t think about it until I came here. No. 12 was taken so I got kind of creative.”

Hence, Barham wears No. 43. The 6-foot-6 Barham hasn’t seen much playing time, but his number has been called recently when opponents utilized zone defenses. Barham made three 3s and scored nine points against Portland. He played eight minutes against Butler.

“It’s not easy, but that’s what the team needs right now and I just have to do what I can to help,” Barham said. “We’re a top 10 team. If they need me one night and they don’t the next, I just have to be ready.”

Barham has spent extra time in the gym to stay prepared.

“I normally shoot every night, me and Kevin (Pangos) come in,” Barham said. “Sometimes I get on the gun (which rebounds and passes the ball out to the shooter), or I’ll work on position shooting and get a manager to help me out. All non-conference I’ve been shooting because the coaches told me I need to be ready.”

Barham missed two 3-point attempts against Butler, but he’s shooting 38.9 percent on the season.


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Jim Meehan (@srjimm) 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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Chris Derrick Chris Derrick is a sports reporter. His primary coverage areas are the Spokane Chiefs, Spokane Indians, women's basketball and high school softball and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Sean Kramer Sean Kramer is a freelance correspondent who covers the University of Idaho football team and men's basketball team.

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Vince Grippi is the online producer for SportsLink, a product of The Spokesman-Review.

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