January 16, 2011 in Sports

Gonzaga blasts LMU in second half for victory

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Associated Press photo

Gonzaga’s Sam Dower (35) puts up a shot over Loyola’s Tim Diederichs.
(Full-size photo)

Gonzaga and Loyola Marymount have done this before.

Same building, same first half played on even terms, same second-half domination by the Bulldogs.

This time, Gonzaga scored 19 of the first 26 points in the second half and pulled away for a 79-59 men’s basketball victory over the Lions in front of another sellout crowd of 6,000 Saturday at the McCarthey Athletic Center. A year ago, Gonzaga broke away from a halftime tie to win 85-69.

The Bulldogs’ ninth straight win was mostly an inside job. GU (13-5, 3-0 WCC) had a 46-16 edge in points in the paint, led by Robert Sacre’s 18 and Elias Harris’ 14. Steven Gray scored 13 of his 16 points in the second half, including seven in a 19-7 run that finally gave Gonzaga some breathing room.

The bench did its part with David Stockton hitting three free throws in the middle of Gonzaga’s run and Mathis Keita adding seven points, two assists and a steal.

“I don’t think people realize how good a win that is. That’s a very tough, hard-nosed team,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. “We had to deal with some foul trouble and we got through it. That is one of the teams picked to win the league, so to beat them by 20 in the second half is a great sign.”

It was tied at 33 at half, though the stats seemed to paint a different picture. LMU’s shooting percentage hovered in the 20s most of the way while Gonzaga was threatening 50 percent. The Lions had twice as many turnovers (seven) as assists (three), but they worked the boards (24-17) and wore a path to the free-throw line (15 of 18).

“Good first half,” said coach Max Good, whose Lions lost in double-overtime at Portland on Thursday. “We didn’t shoot very well, but we grinded and guarded. In the second half, I don’t know if we wore down or got tired. They’re just big and powerful. They were pounding us inside.”

At both ends of the court. Sacre and Harris, who looked particularly energetic, were effective offensively throughout. They helped Gonzaga win the boards 22-16 in the second half. Sacre finished with five blocked shots.

“Most teams in the country don’t have the size we do,” Stockton said. “One thing I know I can do is just throw it to them every time and odds are they can make a play.”

Gonzaga led 49-40 when Sacre swatted Ashley Hamilton’s shot. Harris broke into the clear, but was fouled hard by LMU’s Tim Diederichs trying to finish the fast break. Diederichs was assessed an intentional foul and, after a brief dust-up, Harris was called for a technical foul.

Harris made 1 of 2 free throws. GU retained possession and Harris hit a floater in the lane as the Zags took their first double-digit lead.

“That’s kind of how Elias played last year, in attack mode,” Few said. “For some reason his aggressiveness has floated in and out this year, and I’m sure a lot of it had to do with the injuries initially.”

Gray and Sam Dower each had four points in an 8-0 burst that stretched Gonzaga’s lead to 69-50.

“They were getting a lot of their points with our fouls and bailing them out,” Gray said. “We tried to eliminate those and stay solid on defense and make them make those tough plays.”

The Bulldogs had a season-low eight turnovers. Sacre, who was 8 of 8 from the field Thursday, made 11 straight field goals, stretching back to early in the second half against Portland last Saturday, before missing a shot five minutes into the first half.

“There’s no such thing as perfect,” Sacre said with a wide grin. “Coach (Jerry) Krause told me that the other night.”

GU faces its first WCC road trip, against Santa Clara on Thursday and San Francisco on Saturday.

Gonzaga 79, Loyola Marymount 59

FGFTReb
LMUMinM-AM-AO-TAPFPTS
Garibay141-12-20-2044
Viney294-88-100-20318
Ireland394-151-25-102110
Egbym273-81-21-1029
Davis291-72-31-2234
Hmltn190-56-62-5126
Teel132-62-31-4116
Lawson80-20-01-4030
Ddrchs220-32-22-6012
Totals15-5524-3017-4062059

Percentages: FG .273, FT .800. 3-Point Goals: 5-17, .294 (Viney 2-2, Egbeyemi 2-6, Ireland 1-6, Hamilton 0-1, Davis 0-2). Team Rebounds: 4. Blocked Shots: 0. Turnovers: 14 (Teel 3, Viney 3, Ireland 3, Hamilton 3, Diederichs). Steals: 3 (Hamilton, Egbeyemi, Garibay). Technical Fouls: None.

FGFTReb
GUMinM-AM-AO-TAPFPTS
Arop182-50-03-3144
Harris305-124-81-103414
Sacre279-150-13-71118
Goodson261-10-00-2332
Gray327-140-01-30316
Carter60-12-20-0202
Stockton80-03-30-0103
Olynyk103-42-61-3018
Mnghff80-21-20-0011
Keita213-50-01-1227
Hart20-00-00-1000
Dower122-30-01-3234
Totals32-6212-2213-39152279

Percentages: FG .516, FT .545. 3-Point Goals: 3-12, .250 (Gray 2-4, Keita 1-1, Arop 0-1, Dower 0-1, Carter 0-1, Harris 0-2, Monninghoff 0-2). Team Rebounds: 6. Blocked Shots: 7 (Sacre 5, Dower 2). Turnovers: 8 (Gray 2, Arop, Keita, Harris, Dower, Goodson, Olynyk). Steals: 8 (Gray 2, Sacre 2, Goodson 2, Harris, Keita). Technical Fouls: None.

Halftime—Tied at 33. A—6,000.


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