A little tardy for my day-after post, but there's a good reason. I spent about 15 minutes visiting with ex-Zag Robert Sacre at the Lakers practice facility this morning.
So better late than never, here's my day-after Pepperdine post. No road venue is easy for the Zags in the WCC, but the Waves have made GU's last two trips to Malibu fairly uncomfortable.
--Elias Harris seemed to have numerous games last season with one hot half and one cold half. He’s transferred ownership of that to Kelly Olynyk this season. The 7-foot Canadian continues to slumber through first halves, one or two due to early foul trouble, before exploding in the second half.
He did it again last night, scoring just two points in the first 20 minutes and 14 after intermission. Those orange slices at halftime in the locker room must be world class (do soccer kids still get those slices at half like we did?). Whatever the case, Olynyk has already had 22-, 20- and 14-point second halves. It all averages out, as he’s produced 11 double-digit games in 12 outings. He leads the team in scoring at 15.8, just ahead of Harris’ 15.1.
--Gary Bell Jr. said his right knee “was a little stiff, but nothing that was hindering me out there.”
--Mike Hart didn’t start, but he again saw the majority of minutes at the ‘3’ position. In fact, he was the third ‘3’ to enter the game behind Guy Landry Edi, who started, and Kyle Dranginis, who subbed in and immediately hit a floater but then fired an errant pass and missed badly on a 3-pointer.
That brought in Hart, who immediately made an impact. He snagged an offensive rebound that led to Przemek Karnowski’s layup and then fed Pangos for a 3-pointer. Hart assisted on a Harris basket and then, with the Waves defense sagging inside, he buried a 3-pointer.
In the second half, Hart missed an open layup, but was able to gather the rebound and, while falling to the court, fed Pangos for another 3, boosting GU’s lead to 57-47.
“Our bench made plays, David, ‘Shem’, Sam,” coach Mark Few said. “And Mike Hart always does.”
Hart finished with five points, more than his previous four games combined, five assists and four rebounds in 23 minutes. The slumping Edi played just five minutes, all in the first half.
--There was a Drew Barham sighting last night. With guards
Barham had four DNPs in the last seven games. He’d only attempted three shots during that stretch. He scored his first points since striking for 11 points against LCSC on Nov. 29.
STATS OF NOTE
-As mentioned in my game story, Gonzaga was 24 of 25 from the free-throw line in the second half, the lone miss coming in the closing minute by Pangos. GU’s FT percentage continues to creep higher. It went from 66.6% before last night’s game to 69.
-GU’s eight turnovers tied its season low. The Zags have had three single-digit turnover games this season.
-Pepperdine joined WSU as the only teams to outrebound Gonzaga this season. The Waves won the glass 36-30. WSU’s edge was 32-31.
FEW, on the defense: “We wanted to take away the 3-point line from them and we did that, but we didn’t do a great job on dribble penetration.”
HARRIS, on FT shooting: “We started slow but we’re getting better. We’re all good shooters. We should be good at the free-throw line.”
FEW: “We were playing considerably harder in the second half.”