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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883


Day after Pacific

Gonzaga’s Silas Melson shoots over Pacific’s Eric Thompson for one of his four 3-pointers. (James Snook)
Gonzaga’s Silas Melson shoots over Pacific’s Eric Thompson for one of his four 3-pointers. (James Snook)

Gonzaga reached the halfway point of the WCC season following a 91-60 rout of Pacific last night. The Zags are 9-0, one game in front of Saint Mary’s.

Here’s my game story and S-R photos.

More from last night’s game in my day-after post below


--We’ll begin with Domantas Sabonis, who had two strong games despite injuring his right index finger earlier in the week. He said it was a minor fracture and dislocation. He wore a thick pad that encompassed his index and middle finger. The digit was injured when he caught it in a teammate’s jersey during practice.

No surgery is necessary. It didn’t seem to slow the 6-10 freshman, who had 10 points and eight boards against Pacific and seven points and 13 rebounds vs. Saint Mary’s.

“I have to protect it,” he said. “I need to be careful. I just have to play through it.”

Sabonis said he feels it when he grabs the basketball with both hands, joking that’s why he “usually tries to palm it with one hand.”

Sabonis was forced to exit for a few seconds Saturday for a different reason. He lost his contact after getting swiped by a Tigers player. He had to come out because his vision was fuzzy with just one working contact.

--Silas Melson (pictured above) continues to make strides at both ends of the floor. He knocked down four 3s and scored 12 points. He has three double-figures games in the last six. He played well Thursday, scoring four points in the win over Saint Mary’s.

“I thought he really made some plays that showed his growth, his reads on the ball screens and defensively he did some nice things,” Few said. “He can be kind of streaky (shooting), but when he gets going he really gets going.”

As mentioned here before, there are many similarities between Melson and Gary Bell Jr.

“I call him my mini me except he’s probably going to be better than me,” Bell said. “He’s more athletic. He’s been playing really well.”

There was some who thought Melson’s playing time would shrink with the addition of Eric McClellan, but the freshman guard seems to be carving out more time of late.

Melson is shooting 40.5 percent from 3, joining three starters (Bell, Kevin Pangos and Kyle Wiltjer) above 40%.

--Pangos pulled into a first-place tie with Blake Stepp on the school’s all-time 3-point list with 288. His pursuit of 289 kept many of the 6,000 in attendance inside the building for most of the second half instead of dashing for the exits. The video board has been showing a countdown to the record so it wasn’t exactly a secret in the MAC.

Few was asked afterward if he thought about putting Pangos back in after the senior guard exited with 9:40 remaining. He looked confused for a second.

“I don’t know why I would have,” Few said. When informed that Pangos needed one more 3 to break the record Few shrugged, “It’ll happen.”

Pangos had two cracks at the record-breaker but missed both. He only played 18 minutes in the blowout victory.

“I had a feeling my night was over,” he said. “I wanted to break it when I was in. Once I was out, I figured I was done.”

--Gonzaga has reached the 20-win plateau in all 16 of Few’s seasons as head coach. The Zags won at least 24 games in Dan Monson’s two seasons so the overall streak is 18. GU went 15-12 in Dan Fitzgerald’s last season in 1997. The Zags won at least 21 in Fitz’s preceding three years, so they’ve won at least 20 games in 21 of the last 22 seasons.

Few’s lowest win total was 23-11 in 2007.


--Gonzaga’s 60-percent shooting trailed only St. Thomas Aquinas (67.7%) and Texas Southern (63.6) this season.

--Wiltjer led the Zags with four assists.

--GU had a season-low five turnovers.

--Pangos is shooting 52 percent on 3s in WCC play.

--The Zags made 10 3s, their seventh time in double figures.


Few on McClellan, who played 12 minutes: “He just needs to keep getting more and more minutes so he can feel out what the role is. He’s been playing with the redshirts; it’s a little different when we have Kevin and Gary and Shem and Domas running beside him.”

Sabonis: “Every game I get more comfortable, get more used to everything.”

Pacific coach Ron Verlin (his team is in its second season in the WCC): “This is a very good conference , totally a step up from the Big West, especially at the top. The lower teams we can compete with but we have to keep climbing that ladder.”

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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