Day after San Diego
Had a little time on my hands Saturday night, a new computer to mess around with and I'll be in a gym most of Sunday so I put together my day-after San Diego post.
—I asked Kelly Olynyk if a Gonzaga team has played better basketball over an extended period in his Zag career as the current edition.
“Not in my four years,” he said. “We’ve always won a stretch of games, then dropped one or a couple. This year has been unreal. Guys have come out and stepped up in big moments.”
The Bulldogs blasted Santa Clara by 43 and San Diego by 31 to conclude a 2-0 week.
“It’s unbelievably fun, it’s something you want to do every day,” Olynyk said. “You get to go out and do this with the guys we have in this locker room.”
—Touched on this in the game story, but Gonzaga is on a defensive roll.
Point totals for GU’s last 12 opponents: Portland 49, Butler 64, BYU 63, San Francisco 52, Loyola Marymount 43, San Diego 63, Pepperdine 56, LMU 55, Saint Mary’s 60, USF 61, Santa Clara 42, San Diego 51.
One of the primary reasons has been Gonzaga’s ability to clamp down on the opponent’s primary scorer or scorers. San Diego’s Johnny Dee and Chris Anderson combined for just 12 points on 4-of-11 shooting. The pair combine to average 24 ppg.
“We’ve really limited the other teams’ best players,” GU guard David Stockton said. “If we do that, most nights we have a pretty good chance to win.”
Few said the last few weeks “our defensive effort has been outstanding. It’s as good of a sustained effort as we’ve had since I’ve been here.”
Olynyk called GU’s defense “unreal. A lot of things are clicking for us, especially on defense, rotations, guys making plays and blocking shots and taking charges, making steals. Our ball-screen coverage has been pretty solid. Our rebounding has really improved, which is a huge thing for us. Now when people are missing shots, they’re only getting one shot.”
Olynyk blocked three shots, tying his season high. He’s blocked three shots three times in the last seven games.
—Saint Mary’s 46-28, BYU 40-21, San Francisco 43-21, Pepperdine 35-20, Loyola Marymount 36-25, Santa Clara 44-15 and San Diego 37-23. Those are GU’s first-half efforts against WCC foes at the MAC this season with Portland closing the home schedule next Saturday.
—Classy move by San Diego coach Bill Grier, who went into the stands 2 minutes before tipoff to greet Don and Deanna Monson and Jud and Bev Heathcote in their seats near the top of the lower bowl. Grier was a long-time GU assistant before taking over USD’s program.
—Earlier this week, new German national team coach Frank Menz visited GU to check up on Elias Harris.
On Saturday, Polish senior national team general manager Marcin Widomski was in Spokane to see GU freshman center Przemek Karnowski. The 7-foot-1 Karnowski has played for Poland’s U-20 team and also for the senior national team, though his playing time for the latter was limited behind Phoenix Suns’ center Marcin Gortat.
“Marcin is our first center. I just tried to do my best in practice and I think it was a good experience (playing for the senior national team),” said Karnowski, who had eight points against San Diego. “(Widomski) will talk to me about the plan for this summer, what they expect me to do.”
Dirk Bauermann, who was Harris’ coach on the German national team, is the new coach for Poland’s national team.
—Karnowski continues to trim down. He’s at 285 pounds, down 20 from when he arrived in Spokane.
“I’m still working to get some muscles,” he said. “I want to lose more weight. I’ll maybe have more time in the offseason than now.”
STATS OF NOTE
—Olynyk had an interesting stat line: 5 of 5 FG, 1 of 1 3-pointers, 3 of 3 FTs, 9 rebounds, 7 turnovers, 3 blocks and 2 assists, 20 minutes.
—Olynyk has scored in double figures in 26 of 27 games. He had eight points in his second game, vs. Oklahoma, when he was in foul trouble and limited to 17 minutes.
—Harris entered the game just 5 of 33 from long distance this season. He made his first 3-point attempt roughly 8 minutes into the USD game, his first 3 since connecting at San Diego on Feb. 2. He’s shooting 16.7 percent for the season.
—Pangos has committed one turnover spanning 117 minutes in his last four games. He’s been turnover-free in five of the last seven games.
—Bell has had three straight turnover-free games (80 minutes). He had four assists last night.
—GU gave up 14 offensive rebounds to San Diego earlier this month. The Toreros only had five Saturday, leading to six points. Gonzaga won the glass, 38-22.
—Chris Manresa led USD with 19 points. He made 5 of 6 FGs, the rest of the team 10 of 36.
Few: “We had a great weekend, especially on the defensive end. I thought we did an unbelievable job sticking to our assignments and playing with great energy to finish off possessions.”
Few, on outrebounding USD 38-22 after losing the boards 38-32 (including 14 USD offensive rebounds) in the first meeting: “It wasn’t just all on the bigs. We gave up 14 rebounds to those two little guys (Dee and Anderson). I think we’re rebounding the ball better than we were a month or three weeks ago.”
Karnowski: “Everything starts in the locker room. We have great team chemistry. We’re joking around, we have fun together, we work hard in practices. What more can you expect? We’re on a good track.”
Few, on clinching WCC title: “It means a lot to the guys. We have a lot of goals that we set at the start of the year and that was one of them. People forget our some of our guys are sophomores, the core of our lineup. Gary hasn’t had one, Kyle hasn’t and Kevin hasn’t.”