MALIBU, Calif. – The formula isn’t a secret. Repeating it is the trick.
Gonzaga has put together two consecutive complete games – complete as in playing 40 minutes with stifling defense and limited turnovers.
“We’re at our best when we’re taking care of the ball, directing shots and playing good half-court defense,” coach Mark Few said following a 92-63 blowout win over Loyola Marymount on Thursday. “We’ve done it the last couple games. In the past, we’ve done it for 28, 30, 34 minutes.”
Gonzaga (18-5, 10-2 WCC) will need a similar effort against fourth-place Pepperdine (14-9, 7-5) in a late-night special Saturday at 9 at Firestone Fieldhouse.
Pepperdine was 9-0 at home before falling to Portland 73-70 on Thursday. The Waves were 0 of 6 at the free-throw line in the final two minutes and 17 of 37 overall. Senior forwards Jett Raines and Stacy Davis combined for 54 points on 20-of-35 shooting. The rest of the Waves generated 16 points on 5-of-32 shooting.
The Waves had won seven of eight before dropping their last two.
Gonzaga has won 30 straight in the series, including a 99-73 home victory on Dec. 21. The Zags made 14 of 17 shots to jump in front 37-9. They finished with a season-high 16 3-pointers.
Wing Lamond Murray Jr. leads the Waves at 15.7 points per game. Davis is next at 14.6 points and 8.6 rebounds and Raines averages 12.9 points. Jeremy Major contributes 8.9 points and 3.8 assists. He’s a 42-percent shooter beyond the arc.
The Zags have 36 assists and 16 turnovers in their last two games. The shooting percentage of GU’s last four opponents: 31.1, 36.5, 30.5 and 40.7.
“We’re doing a better job of looking at personnel and really making it tough on them,” senior forward Kyle Wiltjer said.
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