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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Day after Loyola Marymount

You know the routine. Here’s my game story.

More on Gonzaga’s 92-63 rout over Loyola Marymount below in my day-after post.

--If the coaching staff penciled out what it needs from senior guards Kyle Dranginis and Eric McClellan, it would probably resemble what the duo did Thursday night.

Dranginis, who is playing perhaps the best basketball of his career, made 5 of 6 shots en route to 11 points. He had seven rebounds, seven assists, one steal and one turnover in a team-high 31 minutes. McClellan scored 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting to go with three steals, two rebounds, one assist and one turnover in 28 minutes.

They each had nine points in the first half when the game was still relatively close. McClellan filled in at point guard after Josh Perkins committed three early turnovers. LMU’s extended pressure, which bugged GU early, had little or no affect with McClellan as the primary ballhandler.

Both guards repeatedly beat over-aggressive defenders with dribble penetration.

“In the second half we took great care of the ball, and in the second part of the first half,” coach Mark Few said. “Eric did a good job coming in and spelling Perk.”

A Dranginis 3 pushed GU’s lead into double digits late in the first half. McClellan’s most memorable basket was an acrobatic finish in transition for a three-point play late in the first half. The Lions purposely left McClellan unguarded early in the second half and he buried a 3 to put Gonzaga on top by 26.

Perkins, by the way, rebounded and finished strong with five assists, four rebounds and two steals in 20 minutes of playing time.

--Dranginis has made at least one 3 in eight of the last nine games, hiking his accuracy to 36.5 percent. Through the first 14 games, he was at 30.3 percent.

Starter or key reserve, ball-handler or defending a 6-8 power forward, Dranginis continues to display his versatility.

“I’m comfortable I guess,” Dranginis said. “If I’m starting or coming off the bench, whatever the team needs I try to bring.”

He's started the last four games. He's been in double figures in three of the last five.

--Blowouts have obviously helped trim the minutes of ironmen Kyle Wiltjer (33.2 avg.) and Domantas Sabonis (30.1). The play of Ryan Edwards has contributed, too.

Edwards, the 7-foot-1 center, had six points, five rebounds and one assist in 18 minutes against LMU. He had two put-back baskets in a 60-second span to bump GU’s lead to 16-11.

“He got some things done in there,” Few said. “He hustled around, some nice tip-ins and we hit him on a couple of rolls and he caught it and finished.”

Sabonis logged 27 minutes and Wiltjer 29 vs. LMU

STATS OF NOTE

--Silas Melson, after hitting five 3s vs. San Francisco, went just 1 of 6 on FGs, but he made 6 of 7 free throws to finish with eight points.

--Gonzaga hit just 6 of 21 3-pointers. Wiltjer was 3 of 6.

--GU has 36 assists and 16 turnovers in the last two games.

--Sabonis and Wiltjer combined to make 18 of 27 FG attempts.

--Shooting percentage for GU’s last four opponents: 31.1, 36.5, 30.5 and 40.7.

QUOTEBOOK

Wiltjer on the defense:  “We’re doing a better job of looking at personnel and really making it tough on them.”

Few:  “We played great defense. We drove their shots to people we wanted to take them.”

Dranginis on facing Pepperdine: “It’s going to take relentless effort and attention to the scouting report.”

 



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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