Back with my day-after post from Gonzaga’s 82-67 win over Oakland on Sunday. Find my game story here and Dan Pelle's photos here. Gonzaga has moved up two spots to No. 13 in the AP poll and three spots to No. 12 in USA Today's top 25. Rankings here.
FYI: With no media day this week, some of the items below may appear in a Gonzaga notebook that will run later this week in the S-R.
--I visited with Ryan Edwards for a few minutes after the game. The 7-footer from Montana has lost 15 pounds after having his tonsils removed nearly two weeks ago. After the surgery in Spokane, he returned home to Kalispell to recover. Sunday was his first day back in Spokane.
“I’m doing alright,” he said, “I’m doing better than two weeks ago.”
Edwards has doctor’s appointments today and Tuesday to determine when he can return to the court. He hasn’t been able to do any conditioning or physical activity so it seems unlikely he’ll be available for Thursday’s home game against Washington State.
“I’m just physically exhausted all the time,” he said. “My appetite is coming back, it’s just how I feel.”
--In two-plus seasons of watching Gonzaga games and selected practices, I can’t recall seeing Kevin Pangos shaken up on the court. I checked with Gary Bell Jr., and he said the same thing.
Last night, Pangos was rocked when he dove for a loose ball and the side of his head met up with an opponent’s knee (great photo of the play by Dan Pelle in photo gallery link above). Pangos’ hustle created an Oakland turnover and a Sam Dower Jr. dunk at the other end. Pangos didn’t see any of it as he remained on the floor, barely moving.
He left the game for 2-½ minutes but seemed fine when he returned.
“He was holding his nose so I was thinking he might have broken it,” Bell said. “He said he got hit in the temple. He’s tough.”
Pangos said it took him a little while to shake off the hard hit.
--Game by game, Gonzaga’s field-goal attempts numbers have been dropping. The Zags had 67 attempts vs. Bryant, 59 vs. Colorado State and 51 vs. Oakland.
Oakland was “playing angles and it’s hard to get rhythm and they don’t let you reverse the ball – it’s a lot of the things the Cougars want to do,” coach Mark Few said. “I don’t know what our OER (offensive efficiency rating) was, but 55 percent (FG) and 82 points, so …”
Oakland’s defensive plan made it tougher for Gonzaga to get out in transition. Their active zone defense limited ball reversal. Gonzaga was able to drive (and finish or get to the free-throw line) and dish (which led to the team’s 11-of-20 3-point shooting). Bigs Dower and Przemek Karnowski chipped in 27 points and 11 boards.
“(Kevin and Gary) have grown that way, being able to punch gaps and make plays,” Few said. “And David (Stockton) got in there, Kyle (Dranginis).”
--The Golden Grizzlies played tough Sunday night and they will be a handful when they return to full strength. Two suspended players are likely to be reinstated soon, adding another quality guard and forward to the mix.
Travis Bader, a 6-5 wing who led the nation in made 3-pointers last season, struggled early but heated up to make 5 of 9 3s and finish with 22 points. He ran Bell (and other defenders) through countless screens and didn’t need much space or time with his quick release. Bader made a couple from 3-4 feet beyond the arc.
In three games, Gonzaga has yielded big points to an opposing guard. Bryant’s Dyami Starks went for 35 points, 29 in the second half, long after the issue had been decided. Colorado State’s Jon Octeus wasn’t a 3-point threat, but he worked off the dribble for 27 points, 13 of those coming at the free-throw line.
STATS OF NOTE
--Pop quiz: Name Gonzaga’s leading scorer. Answer below.
--GU’s FG percentages in three games: Bryant 54%, Colorado State 58%, Oakland 55%.
--GU’s 3-pointers in three games: 7 of 19 vs. Bryant, 14 of 31 vs. Colo.State, 11 of 20 vs. Oakland.
--The Zags outrebounded Bryant by 9, Colorado State by 6 and Oakland by 10.
--Stockton’s numbers: 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 points, 3 steals, 2 turnovers.
--The Bulldogs have 26 steals in three games, opponents’ 13.
--Bell is shooting 63% from the field, 61% on 3s.
--Gonzaga’s leading scorer is …. Bell, at 17.3. Pangos is at 16, Dower 14.7, Gerard Coleman 11.7 and Karnowski 10.0.
Stockton on facing WSU: “When people come into the Kennel they want to embarrass you. We don’t want that to happen.”
Pangos on Oakland’s zone defense: “The zone was weird. Every possession it was kind of different so you didn’t know the weak spots, it was different every time.”
Pangos on WSU: “It’s fun to play a team that really wants to beat us and we want to beat them.”