To his credit, Gonzaga coach Mark Few didn’t go all Lou Holtz and try to paint his men’s basketball team’s struggling opponents this week as national championship contenders.
Rather, Few asked his Bulldogs to concentrate on themselves, continue their recent improvement on the boards and take care of the basketball. Gonzaga did most of those things in an 83-69 win over Pepperdine on Thursday, with rebounding probably the one sticking point. Gonzaga outrebounded the Waves 43-40, but Pepperdine had 16 offensive boards and a 14-10 edge in second-chance points.
On the ball-handling front, Gonzaga had 22 assists – second highest this season to the 24 against Texas Southern – with just 11 turnovers.
The 23rd-ranked Bulldogs (13-4, 4-0 WCC) return to action against Loyola Marymount (1-19, 0-4) tonight at 5 at Gersten Pavilion. Gonzaga has won 26 of the last 28 series meetings, but it lost at Gersten in 2003 and 2007.
“I think the (LMU) teams in the past, the matchups in the past have been hard for us,” said Few, who would earn his 250th career win at GU with a victory tonight. “Sometimes the atmosphere hasn’t maybe been what we’re used to night in and night out. We have a tendency to let down a little bit there. We need to keep taking a step forward.”
The Lions lost their first 15 games before knocking off Cal State Bakersfield. LMU has dropped four straight WCC games, including a 75-59 decision to Portland on Thursday. Like Pepperdine, LMU is relying on youngsters, including freshmen Jarred DuBois (13.6 points), Kevin Young (7.9 points, 6.8 rebounds), LaRon Armstead (9.9 points, 5.9 rebounds), and sophomore Vernon Teel (14.8 points), who just returned from a two-month absence from a broken foot.
Senior Corey Counts (8.6 points) made five 3-pointers and scored a career-high 21 points in LMU’s 91-68 home loss to Gonzaga last season.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Follow along with the Zags
Subscribe to our Gonzaga Basketball newsletter to stay up with the latest news.