February 24, 2013 in Sports

Zags whip San Diego, assured of no worse than WCC title tie

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Colin Mulvany photoBuy this photo

Elias Harris slam down two of his 12 points for the Bulldogs.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

When Gonzaga’s run of consecutive WCC men’s basketball titles ended at 11 last season, players took some good-natured ribbing from past Zags who helped build the lengthy streak.

“A couple of them did,” sophomore guard Kevin Pangos said. “That actually kind of got to me a little bit because I want to be up there with those great Zag players and great Zag teams.”

The current Bulldogs made their own statement, drubbing San Diego 81-50 in front of 6,000 Saturday at the McCarthey Athletic Center and clinching at least a share of the conference title and the top seed in the West Coast Conference tournament in Las Vegas.

Third-ranked Gonzaga (27-2, 14-0 WCC) can claim an outright title with one win (at BYU on Thursday, or home vs. Portland on Saturday) in one of its last two regular-season games, or a Saint Mary’s loss.

“These guys worked so hard all summer. They deserve it and it’s good to get it back where it belongs,” junior guard David Stockton said. “We had (ex-Zag Adam) Morrison coming down and playing in the summer and you can imagine what he’s saying to us.”

This one followed a familiar blueprint: another splendid first half, efficient offense and stingy defense that takes away the opponent’s top scoring option.

The Bulldogs led San Diego 37-23 at the half – that’s the second-closest margin against a visiting WCC foe this season. Loyola Marymount was within 36-25. The deficit for every other opponent has been between 14 and 29.

“It’s guys being ready to go and really taking the game plan to heart and executing it on defense and offense,” coach Mark Few said.

San Diego (13-16, 6-8) made just 35.7 percent of its shots, including 2 of 14 on 3-pointers. Eight of Gonzaga’s last nine opponents have failed to reach 40 percent.

USD guard Johnny Dee attempted only six shots and scored four points, 11 below his average. Guard Chris Anderson, who combined with Dee for 30 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists in GU’s 65-63 win earlier this month in San Diego, finished with eight points and four assists.

“We just don’t do a good enough job of screening for (Dee),” San Diego coach Bill Grier said. “But at his size against a guy like Gary (Bell Jr.), he doesn’t have a lot of time to get a shot off. Because we were better defensively at our place, it allowed us to get out and get him some shots in transition.

“We were taking it out of the net all day.”

The Zags have shut down visiting standouts like BYU’s Tyler Haws (one point), San Francisco’s Cody Doolin (seven) and Cole Dickerson (zero) and Santa Clara’s Kevin Foster (four).

“We’ve done a nice job on these top scorers that have come in here,” Few said. “Even (Saint Mary’s Matthew) Dellavedova, we did a nice job keeping him out of his comfort zone.”

Gonzaga’s two wins this week were by a combined 74 points over San Diego and Santa Clara, teams in the middle of the WCC standings. The Bulldogs shot in the mid-50 percent range in both games. They were in the 60s most of the way against the Toreros before finishing at 54.5.

Pangos made three 3-pointers and scored 18 points. Kelly Olynyk didn’t miss a shot – 5 of 5 field goals and 3 of 3 free throws – en route to 14 points in 20 minutes. Elias Harris chipped in 12 points. The bench added 35 points, led by Drew Barham’s and Sam Dower’s nine points apiece, Przemek Karnowski’s eight and Stockton’s six points and three assists.

“A lot of pieces are coming together right now,” Olynyk said. “The defense is really starting to hit its stride and our offense has always been there but we’re staying efficient and playing through some stuff, and the bench is really contributing. The whole system is molding into a perfect picture.”

USDFGFTReb
(13-16, 6-8)MinM-AM-AO-TAPFPTS
Manresa245-69-111-32119
Rancifer293-102-20-2008
Kramer110-20-00-0040
Anderson312-53-70-2448
Dee332-60-00-2014
Stackhouse60-11-20-0001
Miles121-30-00-2012
Guidry100-23-61-1013
Fajemisin101-20-01-1032
Sinis171-30-00-2043
Kok170-20-00-1000
Totals20015-4218-285-2261950

Percentages: FG .357, FT .643. 3-Point Goals: 2-14, .143 (Anderson 1-2, Sinis 1-3, Kramer 0-1, Guidry 0-1, Stackhouse 0-1, Rancifer 0-3, Dee 0-3). Team Rebounds: 6. Blocked Shots: 2 (Kok 2). Turnovers: 13 (Guidry 2, Anderson 2, Kramer 2, Miles 2, Kok, Rancifer, Manresa, Fajemisin). Steals: 4 (Manresa 2, Guidry, Dee). Technical Fouls: None.

GUFGFTReb
(27-2, 14-0)MinM-AM-AO-TAPFPTS
Olynyk205-53-31-92214
Harris265-71-21-51112
Pangos286-83-40-32118
Bell, Jr241-40-00-0402
Hart90-00-01-2030
Dranginis171-41-21-2123
Edi70-20-00-2010
Stockton183-50-00-2336
Bhaskar20-10-00-1010
Bakamus20-00-00-0010
Karnowski152-54-53-3018
Dower184-101-12-2019
Barham143-40-01-3139
Totals20030-5513-1711-38142081

Percentages: FG .545, FT .765. 3-Point Goals: 8-19, .421 (Barham 3-3, Pangos 3-5, Olynyk 1-1, Harris 1-3, Stockton 0-1, Edi 0-1, Bell, Jr. 0-2, Dranginis 0-3). Team Rebounds: 4. Blocked Shots: 4 (Olynyk 3, Harris). Turnovers: 12 (Olynyk 7, Dower 2, Bakamus, Dranginis, Harris). Steals: 5 (Harris, Hart, Bhaskar, Barham, Dower). Technical Fouls: None.

Halftime—Gonzaga 37-23. A—6,000.


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