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Thursday, May 28, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Zag vets, newcomers shine in scrimmage

Gonzaga puts its 2014-15 team on display earlier today during Kraziness in the Kennel at the McCarthey Athletic Center.

More on the day's events below in my unedited article that will run in Sunday's S-R.

By Jim Meehan

Staff writer

Gonzaga’s annual Kraziness in the Kennel is essentially the public’s first look at the Zags and here’s some of what those inside the McCarthey Athletic Center witnessed Saturday:

Josh Perkins hit a tough step-back jumper just before the shot clock expired, Kyle Wiltjer scored a lot and Byron Wesley scored a lot. Domantas Sabonis competed every second, Przemek Karnowski maneuvered inside for three buckets and Gary Bell Jr. made all three of his field-goal attempts.

And Kevin Pangos reluctantly danced.

“All the other seniors said they were going to do it,” Pangos said of the moves he displayed when announced to the crowd. “I said, ‘If you guys are doing it, I have to do it.’ ”

The Zags held a 3-point shooting contest, a dunk contest and a 20-minute scrimmage in front of a nearly full house. Head coach Mark Few, who watched from a seat at the scorer’s table as his assistants coached the Red and Blue squads, saw enough positives to note that the team is “taking some steps.”

That’s important with a roster that includes six newcomers (four freshmen and two transfers) making their GU debut, seven when one counts Wiltjer, who redshirted last season after transferring from Kentucky.

Wiltjer participated in the Kraziness scrimmage last year and led the way with 11 points. He repeated those numbers Saturday to help the Blue defeat the Red 41-32. He scored in a variety of ways, including a jump hook, a 3-pointer and a conventional three-point play, drawing a foul while draining an 8-footer from the baseline.

“I’ve been waiting for a long time,” Wiltjer said. “We’ve had two of these scrimmages but nothing compares to when the crowd is here.”

Bell and Perkins each had eight points. Karnowski, playing with a heavy heart after his uncle and godmother passed away Friday in his native Poland, added seven points.

“I was close to both,” the 7-foot-1 junior center said. “I was lucky enough to see them this summer back in Poland and that was good. It’s just a tough time right now.”

The 6-10 Sabonis, who joins Perkins, Silas Melson and Bryan Alberts in a talented freshmen class, had 10 points, highlighted by a couple of speedy post moves, for the Red. Wesley, a 6-5 transfer from USC, made 4 of 5 shots and scored nine points. He hit an off-balance mid-range jumper and later connected from 6 feet over two defenders.

“They’re getting up to speed with what we do with this program and it’s just nice,” Pangos said of newest Zags. “It gives us a bunch of different ways to play.”

Pangos won the 3-point contest. He made 10 of 15 in the first round to defeat Perkins. Bell knocked off Wiltjer 8-7 in the other semifinal. Pangos edged Bell 12-10 in the finals.

Wiltjer, who drained 70 of 75 3-pointers in a 5-minute video circulated recently on the Internet, cracked, “We need to change it to 75 (shots). Fifteen isn’t really my thing.”

Melson, who donned a Superman cape prior to the finals, won the dunk contest over Connor Griffin.


Jim Meehan
Jim Meehan joined The Spokesman-Review in 1990. Jim is currently a reporter for the Sports Desk and covers Gonzaga University basketball, Spokane Empire football, college volleyball and golf.

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