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Gonzaga Basketball

Pangos powers Gonzaga’s victory over Saint Mary’s

Fri., Feb. 10, 2012

Kevin Pangos has been at his best against two of Gonzaga’s biggest rivals.

The true freshman guard buried five 3-pointers and scored 27 points, his highest point total since torching Washington State for 33 points in an early-season win, to guide Gonzaga to a crucial 73-59 West Coast Conference men’s basketball victory over No. 16 Saint Mary’s in front of a packed house of 6,000 Thursday at the McCarthey Athletic Center.

The Bulldogs (19-4, 9-2 WCC) still need help to catch Saint Mary’s (22-3, 11-1), but Thursday’s decisive victory keeps their hopes alive of earning a 12th consecutive WCC title. GU entertains Loyola Marymount on Saturday while the Gaels take on Santa Clara.

Pangos, who snapped out of a shooting slump in Saturday’s win over Pepperdine, was 5 of 6 – the lone miss with 25 seconds left – from long distance. Pangos and fellow freshman guard Gary Bell Jr. came up with numerous key field goals as Gonzaga pulled away in the final 10 minutes to avenge a 21-point loss to the Gaels in Moraga, Calif., last month.

Leading 49-47 in a tense, back-and-forth contest, GU’s Robert Sacre hit a jump hook and Pangos followed with a high-arcing bank shot over a defender. After SMC’s Rob Jones scored on a putback, Pangos drilled a 3 from the corner, then drove the baseline and fed Bell, who connected on a trey just before the shot clock expired.

Gonzaga led 59-49, but Pangos wasn’t through. He hit another 3, holding his follow-through for a good 2 seconds, as the Bulldogs went in front 62-51 with 6:10 left.

Bell and Sacre each had 12 points and Elias Harris added 10 points and 10 rebounds. Gonzaga dominated the boards, 40-26. Sacre had nine rebounds.

Matthew Dellavedova led SMC with 20 points. He made 5 of 12 shots and 8 of 8 free throws.

Gonzaga led 14-8 after consecutive baskets by Sam Dower but the Gaels went on a 12-2 run to go in front 20-16. Pangos and Bell combined for 12 straight points, returning the lead to Gonzaga. Pangos hit back-to-back 3s and Bell added four more points, including a runner in the lane with the shot clock nearing zero that hiked Gonzaga’s lead to 30-25.

Pangos’ layup kept GU’s lead at five. Jones, who didn’t have a field goal until the 1:40 remained in the first meeting in Moraga, connected on a jumper after missing his first five shots, trimming GU’s lead to 34-31 at half.

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