Pangos puts foot down, ignores pain
Gonzaga junior guard Kevin Pangos (turf toe) admits he’s not at full speed, but it would be hard to tell judging by his production.
Pangos has scored in double figures in all six games since injuring his right big toe in practice in early December. In that span, Pangos also posted his career high for rebounds (nine vs. New Mexico State) and has 26 assists with just five turnovers.
“I’m just trying to be smarter, really,” he said. “I’m not going to be able to turn the corner the same way. When I drive I have to change speeds more, pick my spots.”
Pangos’ toe had been making progress when he played with it taped up against Santa Clara. One wrong step later and “it was just pain, re-aggravated (it). Stage 1 again,” he said. That prompted a return of “the contraption,” a protective brace/pad he wears inside his shoe.
“I got a foul (against San Francisco) because I pushed a guy,” he said, smiling, “because I didn’t want him stepping on my foot.”
Asked if Pangos is playing at roughly 70 percent, Gonzaga coach Mark Few suggested, “That’s probably at the top end.”
Senior guard David Stockton is climbing Gonzaga’s all-time steals and assists lists. He has 337 career assists, three away from passing Steven Gray for seventh. Matt Santangelo ranks first with 668. Stockton’s father, John, is fourth with 554.
Stockton has 138 steals, two from surpassing Geoff Goss for seventh. John Stockton is No. 1 with 262.
Freebies costly for UI
Idaho has shot just 59 percent from the foul line in the last five games. Without poor free-throw shooting, it’s fair to say the Vandals would have at least one more win. Last week against Montana, they went 18 of 33 from the foul line and lost by one point.
“For whatever reason over the last little bit we haven’t made our free throws,” coach Don Verlin said. “That’s an area we’ve got to improve in. We’ve always been a good free throw shooting team. That’s a huge part of the game, especially the way they’re calling the game this year.”