One last encore
Bulldogs send seniors Sacre, Carter out in style
Gonzaga’s entire roster made sure Robert Sacre and Marquise Carter enjoyed their Senior Night.
Carter had 13 points and five assists and Sacre chipped in five points and six rebounds as the Bulldogs routed Longwood 92-60 in front of an appreciative audience of 6,000 in the regular-season finale Monday at the McCarthey Athletic Center.
Freshmen Gary Bell Jr. (20 points), Kevin Pangos (12 points) and Ryan Spangler (12 points, 10 rebounds) helped the Bulldogs (24-5) build leads as large as 35 points against the visiting Lancers, a Division I independent from Farmville, Va.
It was the least they could do, Spangler said. “The first day we came in they took care of us, invited us to their house, both of them, and they still do that. I would love to be able to practice and play as hard as they do every day.”
Sacre desperately wanted to hit a 3-pointer – he made one during the 2009-10 season – but missed on both his attempts. It hardly mattered as he exited to a standing ovation with 1:36 left.
“The goal is not over; we still have some games left,” Sacre said. “It was good to see my whole family here. That’s why I am who I am. I tried to spend as much time as I could with them (Sunday) and (Monday) tonight.”
Carter’s dad wasn’t able to make it to the game from California, but he had plenty of support. When he was introduced prior to the game, Gonzaga’s coaching staff met him at half court.
“At first I was disappointed, but I know he was here in spirit and same with my mom,” Carter said. “But my teammates and Rob’s mom (Leslie) and a bunch of people just told me to stay positive. They’re like my family.”
Carter, too, wanted to connect from beyond the 3-point arc, but came up empty on two attempts. He hit 5 of 9 2-point attempts, all three of his free throws and came up with three steals. He finished in style, scoring on a transition layup while being fouled. He hit the free throw before heading to the sideline.
“It felt really good,” he said. “Tommy (Lloyd, Gonzaga assistant coach) told me to shoot at least five 3s because my shot wasn’t falling. I didn’t do that, but it was just good to get out there and play my game, set up my teammates and take shots when they were open.”
Bell, who replaced Carter in the starting lineup in early December, had career highs with six 3s and 20 points. Pangos made 4 of 5 from long distance as GU tied its season high with 13 treys against the Lancers’ zone defense.
“I’m glad they went out with a win; the fans really love those two guys,” Bell said. “Marquise has been big for me. He’s been telling me since I first got here in the summer to come out aggressive and help the team any way I can, just like he did last year and is still doing this year.
“He’s still the same person; we always hang out. Rob’s my roommate out of town (on road trips) and we’re always together outside of basketball.”
Eleven Zags played double-figure minutes and scored. Elias Harris sat out the second half. Bell, Pangos and Sacre all had long stretches on the bench as Gonzaga led by 25 at half and by 33 five minutes into the second half.
“I’m glad both (seniors) played well,” coach Mark Few said. “Mission accomplished. We got some other guys that needed to get some run on the floor who needed to get their confidence up and nobody got hurt. Good night.”
Gonzaga turns its attention to the WCC tournament at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. The second-seeded Bulldogs won’t know their opponent for Saturday’s semifinal matchup until late Friday night.
Percentages: FG .390, FT .857.
3-Point Goals: 8-26, .308 (van der Kooij 2-4, Carter 2-4, Washington 1-9, Taylor 0-1, Carey 2-5, Shockley 1-1, Dublin 0-1, Havenstein 0-1).
Team Rebounds: 4.
Blocked Shots: 1 (Havenstein).
Turnovers: 18 (van der Kooij, Carter 3, Washington, Taylor 6, Carey 4, Shockley 2, Havenstein).
Steals: 7 (van der Kooij, Carter 2, Taylor 2, Shockley 2).
Technical Fouls: None.
Percentages: FG .556, FT .643.
3-Point Goals: 13-28, .464 (Harris 0-1, Sacre 0-2, Carter 0-2, Pangos 4-5, Bell Jr. 6-9, Stockton 1-3, Moeninghoff 1-5, Keita 1-1).
Team Rebounds: 2.
Blocked Shots: 0.
Turnovers: 10 (Edi, Carter 3, Bell Jr., Stockton 2, Spangler, Moehinghoff 2).
Steals: 12 (Edi, Carter 3, Pangos, Stockton 2, Spangler, Moeninghoff, Keita 2, Hart).
Technical Fouls: None.