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Gonzaga Basketball

Zags get easy win

Steven Gray scored 19 points and Matt Bouldin added 16 as No. 16 Gonzaga pounded injury-depleted San Diego 82-65 on Saturday night to remain in first place in the West Coast Conference.

Reserve Manny Arop added a career-high 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds for Gonzaga (21-4, 9-1 WCC), which had four players in double figures.

San Diego (9-17, 2-9) has lost nine of its past 10 games and is in the WCC cellar. Leading scorer Brandon Johnson, hobbled by a groin injury, came off the bench to score 21 points and become the all-time leading scorer for the Toreros. Johnson also grabbed eight rebounds.

San Diego was also without second-leading scorer De’Jon Jackson, who sustained a career-ending knee injury last week. The Toreros shot just 41 percent in the game, compared to 56 percent for Gonzaga.

The Bulldogs threatened to run away with this one early, making 17 of 23 shots (73.9 percent) in the first half and jumping to a 19-0 lead in the first five minutes.

The Toreros could barely get a shot off in the early going. They didn’t get on the scoreboard until 14:06 left when Patrick McCollum’s shot was swatted away by Gonzaga’s Will Foster, resulting in a goaltending call. McCollum made their first actual basket with 13 minutes left. But Gonzaga scored the next six points for a 27-4 lead.

Johnson finally went into the game with 12 minutes left in the first half and scored eight points to spark a 21-8 run that pulled the Toreros to 35-25. But the Zags outscored them 12-6 over the final five minutes for a 47-31 halftime lead.

San Diego got within 12 points early in the second half when a pair of free throws by Ken Rancifer cut Gonzaga’s lead to 55-43. Rancifer finished with 13 points.

But Arop scored nine of Gonzaga’s points during a 13-0 run that built a 68-43 lead with 10:52 left and the Zags cruised from there.

Johnson came into the game needing five points to break the San Diego career scoring record of 1,725 points set by Gyno Pomare, who graduated last season.

Gonzaga coach Mark Few now has the top winning percentage of an active college coach with at least five years experience at .802, a fraction ahead of Roy Williams of North Carolina.

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