Sleep is overrated.
Late night/early morning after witnessing Gonzaga’s entertaining 89-81 victory over Washington State, watching the replay 'til 2:30 a.m. and up early for a radio interview with KJR in Seattle. No chance of a nap with three cups of coffee in me, so I’ll get the day-after post up and running.
Between my personal 3-hour fight with the wireless at the McCarthey Athletic Center, there were a few moments of Internet clarity and I was deluged (per usual) with tweets. Most of them were far more clever than the dozens of signs in the Kennel Club (best of the KC: It takes 2 to tango, but only 1 to Pangos.)
From an old friend and current college coach: Zags are playing ‘H-O-R-S-E’ right now, look like Zags of old. This one cracked me up: Pangos > Jimmer.
--We’ll start with Pangos, who got his first start and made it a memorable one. He replaced David Stockton in the starting five and delivered nine 3-pointers, 6 of 6 FTs, 33 points, six assists and two boards in 37 minutes. He missed a 3 on GU’s first possession, then made 9 of 12 from distance the rest of the way.
I didn’t remember it until watching the replay but Pangos missed a 3 on GU’s first possession. Gonzaga retrieved the rebound, Marquise Carter missed a runner and Gonzaga got the ball back again. Pangos drilled a 3 and the tone for the evening was set.
His stat line was impressive, but even more impressive was that Pangos’ performance came within the flow of the offense. He wasn’t forcing shots or straying from the offensive concepts. When WSU wasn’t playing zone, it put Marcus Capers on Pangos in the second half. Capers is a fine defender, but Pangos still found room to make a couple more 3s and he took Capers off the bounce into the key and drew a foul.
“He’s a great shooter, that’s not a fluke,” head coach Mark Few said. “We want him shooting. Maybe in the exhibition (game) and scrimmage and even the first game the other night he wasn’t hunting (shots) enough. Any time he shoots it’s a pretty good thing for us. We’ve been on him and on him, but he’s a pleaser and he’s very unselfish. He’s got to realize that’s his role for us.”
The Cougars, as they did during last year’s 81-59 rout over the Bulldogs, played a lot of zone (GU committed 25 turnovers in last year’s loss). In the second half Monday, the Cougars were much more perimeter conscious, trapping on numerous occasions.
Asked if he was surprised that WSU stayed in zone for a big portion of the game, Pangos said, “I didn’t even really pay attention. Every time I was open I was letting it fly, whatever man or zone, I was trying to be aggressive.”
--Teammates have taken to calling Pangos’ ‘The Machine’ (think Terminator).
“We call him, ‘The Machine’,” Sacre said. “He came from the future to destroy people’s lives. He’s automatic, that’s why we call him ‘The Machine.’
Gotta feeling that nickname just might stick.
Pangos’ take on the evening (via tweet): ‘Good W by the team! Its a great feeling to be playing college basketball and were back at it tmrw to prepare for our next game.’
--Rewind to Friday’s win over Eastern and Sacre, Harris and Carter, Gonzaga’s three most experienced players, combined for 55 of the team’s 77 points. Monday, Carter and Sacre spent most of the first half on the bench in foul trouble. Both were scoreless. Harris had five points at intermission.
It was Pangos, Mathis Mönninghoff and Gary Bell Jr. – on any other night Bell Jr.’s performance would have been competing for headlines – that took over the scoring burden. Pangos and Bell Jr., who finished with 14 points, two 3s, two rebounds and an assist and steal in 24 minutes, combined for 19 of GU’s first 26 points as the Zags built an 11-point lead.
Mönninghoff hit two 3s, the first seconds after he checked into the game. Pangos had 18 points by half, all via the 3. Thirty of GU’s 41 first-half points were the result of 10 3-pointers.
“Kevin held us in the game while some guys got in foul trouble,” Sacre said with a grin. “That’s the best thing about this team. We’re an inside-outside team. We can shoot outside, we can go inside. Teams are going to have to respect us all around.”
Bell Jr. played 24 minutes and was strong with the ball when WSU amped up the traps late in the game. He made 6 of 9 free throws, including a big one with 1:11 left after missing his first attempt. His FT gave GU an 82-78 lead and Sacre and Pangos wrapped it up by hitting their free throws.
“I was really proud of those freshmen,” Few said. “They were put in a lot of situations they haven’t been in yet. Maybe not so much with the 3s and all that, I was looking at Gary Bell getting trapped time and time again in his second game with the game on the line and pretty much handling it with flying colors. I’m really proud of them … and I thought the veterans stepped up.”
By the end, Harris (14 and 11) and Sacre (15 and 10) both had double-doubles.
--In two games, Gonzaga is 66 of 88 at the free-throw line. Sacre is 27 of 31, 13 of 13 vs. WSU. Pangos is 12 of 12.
“What a blessing to have a ‘5’ man step up and make 13 of 13,” Few said.
--Gonzaga finished 13 of 29 on 3s – same as EWU’s numbers vs. GU on Friday. The Bulldogs were just 10 of 27 inside the arc. That figure is probably a little distorted because WSU defenders sent the Zags to the foul line when GU worked the ball inside in the second half. Hard to believe but Sacre was only 1 of 2 on FGs.
“The game plan was more focused on the post, because they have such great post players,” WSU guard DaVonte Lacy said. “They just hit shots. Pangos was unbelievable to me. They were on their game and we weren’t.”
Gonzaga was 25 of 29 from the foul line in the second half.
STATS OF NOTE
--Gonzaga shot 41.1 percent from the field, WSU 47.5 percent (45 percent from 3). At one point, the Cougars had made 50 percent of their shots and trailed by 14 in the second half.
--Gonzaga had 12 assists on its 13 first-half field goals. Pangos had five of the assists and six of the FGs.
--Judging by the stats, you’d have thought WSU won the game. The Cougars had the advantage in points in the paint (32-16), points off turnovers (23-11), fast break (6-4) and bench (28-23). GU had the edge in second-chance points (19-6).
--On the topic of rebounding, GU won the glass 41-33. The Zags collected 14 offensive rebounds (eight by Sacre and Harris) after grabbing 22 offensive boards vs. EWU (eight by Sacre and Harris).
--All 15 of Sacre’s points and eight of his 10 rebounds came in the second half.
QUOTES (Cougar quotes courtesy of S-R’s Vince Grippi):
WSU wing Mike Ladd: “We made some shots, but they made more shots.”
WSU coach Ken Bone on Pangos: “We knew about him, we knew he was a very good shooter. He was a concern of ours when the game started. We talked about him. ... He’s a great shooter, we cannot give him good looks.”
Few: “Rob got in early foul trouble … but Rob can really guard. He made a huge difference in the second half.”
Few on the performance of the freshmen: “There was some high-level players, high-level athleticism and probably some high-level tension out there. They need to experience that, a national TV audience, and they did a great job of raising their games up to it.”