January 23, 2014 in Sports

Zags will have all hands on deck

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Associated Press photo

Gary Bell Jr., a broken hand healed, is cleared to play for GU.
(Full-size photo)

COMING UP:
Thursday vs. San Diego, 7 (ESPNU)
Saturday vs. BYU, 7 (ESPN2)

For the first time in nearly four weeks, Gonzaga will have everyone available on its roster.

Junior guard Gary Bell Jr., who broke his right hand on Dec. 28, received medical clearance Wednesday and he’s expected to play when the Bulldogs (16-3, 6-1) entertain San Diego (11-9, 2-5) tonight at 7.

Gonzaga’s top three scorers have been dealing with injuries. Bell has missed six games. Senior forward Sam Dower, who missed two games in late December with a lower back injury, appears to be close to full strength after averaging 23 points and 11 rebounds last week. Point guard Kevin Pangos has been battling turf toe since early December.

For the first time in WCC play, Gonzaga will have the Kennel Club intact. The Bulldogs’ first four conference games came with students on holiday break.

“It’s fun,” senior forward Drew Barham said. “There’s not too many of these (home games) left so we have to take advantage of every one of them.”

San Diego opens conference with seven of its first nine on the road. Eight of USD’s nine losses are by 11 points or less, including a 65-64 loss to San Diego State and a 73-66 loss to New Mexico.

“The thing we haven’t been as good with as we were earlier in the year is defense,” said Toreros coach Bill Grier, a former Gonzaga assistant. “It’s just frustrating we’re not defending as well but with that being said we’ve been right there to win some of these games.”


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