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Despite slow offensive start, Gonzaga builds lead off Portland’s turnovers

UPDATED: Sun., Jan. 22, 2017

Gonzaga guard Silas Melson tries to streal the ball from Portland guard Andre Ferguson, Jan. 21, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga guard Silas Melson tries to streal the ball from Portland guard Andre Ferguson, Jan. 21, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
By Michael Gulledge michaelg@spokesman.com,

The Gonzaga offense did not have the usual spark on Saturday in its 73-52 win over the Portland Pilots at the McCarthey Athletic Center.

But the Bulldogs were able to create turnovers in place of their slow-starting offense.

Just over seven minutes into the game, Portland had committed five turnovers and had fallen to a 15-4 deficit. The Pilots had no turnovers for the next eight minutes, and also managed to keep pace with the nation’s last unbeaten team.

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“We probably had more turnovers than I would like,” said Portland head coach Terry Porter. “We try to stay at that 13 or under range.”

Porter attributed the amount of turnovers to the new starting rotation. Portland’s guard Alec Wintering, who was five assists shy of the school record, suffered a season-ending knee injury in Portland’s loss on Thursday.

Following the early turnovers, Portland pulled within six points at the 11:55 mark in the first half. The Zags bounced back and rebuilt their lead to 13 in the next two minutes.



    This pattern occurred later in the first half when the Pilots crawled back and made it a seven-point game, but Nigel Williams-Goss hit two free throws and Silas Melson made a 3-pointer to give the Zags another 12-point lead.

    “Key stretches we didn’t make enough shots,” Porter said.

    Portland pulled within seven again in the second half before Gonzaga’s lead began to swell.

    Overall, the Pilots committed 16 turnovers. Gonzaga took advantage of Portland’s miscues to score 17 points.

    The Zags, in search of their 20th win, will travel to Portland on Monday to make up the postponed match from Jan. 7.

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