Gonzaga men’s basketball players were pretty tired of seeing Gonzaga men’s basketball players in their practice gear every day.
The Bulldogs took a break from the practice grind, thumping Carroll College 95-51 in an exhibition game viewed by 6,000 Friday at the McCarthey Athletic Center. Fourteen Zags played and 13 scored as the coaching staff took an extended look at six newcomers operating against the Fighting Saints, an NAIA school located in Helena. Sophomore forward Kelly Olynyk (concussion) didn’t play.
“We’ve been practicing so long against each other,” said sophomore forward Sam Dower, who had eight points and seven rebounds in 17 minutes. “Anything is better than banging against (7-foot center) Rob (Sacre). Coach told us to go give all you can for 5-6 minutes and then the next group will come in and give 110 percent.”
Gonzaga substituted five at a time on occasion and nobody logged more than 21 minutes.
“I had no issues whatsoever with the effort,” head coach Mark Few said. “We’re a deep team so we kind of have a cumulative effect on the glass, defense, deflections and getting out and running a little bit.”
Junior forward Elias Harris scored 11 of his team-high 13 points in the first half as Gonzaga took a 51-30 lead. The Bulldogs shot almost as well from the field (62.1 percent) as they did from the free-throw line (63.2). Carroll made just 37.5 percent of its shots in the first half and cooled to 32.1 percent in the second half.
“They were running their stuff at a pretty advanced level,” Few said. “They have a veteran team and run that Princeton-type action. I thought we handled it pretty well.”
Harris’ steal and dunk gave Gonzaga an early 12-5 lead. The Bulldogs went to the bench and freshmen Ryan Spangler, Kyle Dranginis and Kevin Pangos helped widen the lead to 19-8.
“I want to rebound, go as hard as I can and if it’s my turn to score, I’ll score,” said Spangler, who finished with 10 points, 11 rebounds and two blocked shots.
Dranginis added nine points, six assists and six rebounds. Pangos chipped in 11 points, three 3-pointers and four assists.
Gonzaga held Carroll without a point for more than 11 minutes, extending a 60-42 lead to 76-42 on Mike Hart’s tip-in off Dower’s missed free throw. Andy Garland’s free throw finally ended Carroll’s dry spell.
Gonzaga’s bench outscored Carroll’s 63-15 and the Bulldogs ran up a 29-3 edge in points off turnovers. Gonzaga finished at 57 percent from the field, but made just 6 of 20 3-pointers (30 percent) and 15 of 27 free throws (55.6 percent).
“We have some depth, it’s just young depth,” Few said. “We got the (perimeter) looks we wanted. Those kids have been making them all fall and they’ve made them during their careers. There were probably some jitters, a little too excited.”
Gonzaga opens the regular season against visiting Eastern Washington on Nov. 11.