MALIBU, Calif. – Senior forward Josh Heytvelt scored the game’s first nine points, Gonzaga the first 17 and the 23rd-ranked Bulldogs went on to an 83-69 men’s basketball victory over Pepperdine at Firestone Fieldhouse on Thursday.
Gonzaga (13-4, 4-0 WCC) won its fifth straight and joins Saint Mary’s (18-1, 5-0) as the only unbeatens in conference play. The Gaels crushed San Diego 65-42, dropping the Toreros to 12-8, 4-1.
Heytvelt finished with a season-high 25 points, two from his career record set two years ago at Firestone Fieldhouse. Heytvelt made 9 of 16 shots and all six of his free throws. He also had nine rebounds.
“He had a lot of easy shots,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. “Our guys did a good job looking through the zone (defense) trying to find him.”
After Heytvelt’s initial nine points, Matt Bouldin hit a 3-pointer, Austin Daye made a jump shot and Heytvelt added a three-point play to make it 17-0. Pepperdine got on the scoreboard on Mychel Thompson’s field goal with 13:50 left, triggering a 7-0 run.
“We had a great start to the game and played really well – crisp on offense and really solid on defense,” Few said. “And then they made some plays and got going and that happens on the road.”
The Waves (4-16, 1-3) kept it interesting most of the way, but never cut the deficit to single digits. Pepperdine pulled within 21-10 on Dane Suttle’s 3-pointer. The Bulldogs’ led 37-26 before they ran off the last eight points of the half, capped by Micah Downs’ 3-pointer.
Pepperdine opened the second half with eight unanswered points, but Gonzaga slowly pulled away. Steven Gray’s 3-pointer gave GU a 15-point lead, Bouldin’s 3-pointer pushed the margin to 19 and Heytvelt’s two free throws made it a 21-point advantage.
“We had to step up and make a couple plays to kind of hold them off,” Few said. “I give them credit. They kept playing for 40 minutes.”
Gonzaga nearly duplicated its season averages for field-goal percentage and field-goal percentage defense. The Bulldogs made 47.6 percent of their shots (they were at 47.8 percent entering the game). They held Pepperdine to 36.6 percent shooting (they were at 36.8 entering the game).
Daye had his third double-double of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds. He also blocked five shots and equaled his career high with four assists. Bouldin had his first career double-double with 14 points and 10 assists, the latter bettering his previous career high of eight.
“Matt stepped up and made big plays and big shots,” Few said.
Downs contributed nine points, Ira Brown six and Demetri Goodson five off the bench.
Pepperdine freshman Keion Bell had 19 points, despite making just 1 of 8 3-point attempts, grabbed 12 rebounds and handed out six assists. Thompson chipped in 14 points and five boards.
GU 83, Pepperdine 69
Percentages: FG .476, FT .750. 3-Point Goals: 8-19, .421 (Bouldin 3-5, Gray 2-5, Downs 1-4, Daye 1-3, Heytvelt 1-1, Goodson 0-1). Team Rebounds: 5. Blocked Shots: 6 (Daye 5, Heytvelt). Turnovers: 11 (Gray 3, Daye 2, Pargo 2, Heytvelt, Goodson). Steals: 3 (Heytvelt, Pargo, Bouldin). Technical Fouls: None
Percentages: FG .366, FT .643. 3-Point Goals: 8-25, .320 (Hornbuckle 4-6, Thompson 2-3, Bell 1-8, Suttle 1-3, Jackson 0-2, Dupre 0-2). Team Rebounds: 1. Blocked Shots: 3 (Darby 2, Thompson). Turnovers: 10 (Bell 4, Thompson 2, Darby, Suttle Jr., Jackson). Steals: 8 (Thompson 3, Bell 2, Hornbuckle 2, Jackson). Technical Fouls: None.
Halftime–Gonzaga 45, Pepperdine 26. A–2,342.
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