STOCKTON, Calif. – Brandon Clarke had 21 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks, and No. 1 Gonzaga extended the nation’s longest winning streak to 19 games, thumping Pacific 86-66 on Thursday night.
Rui Hachimura added 27 points and Zach Norvell Jr. scored 12 for the Bulldogs (28-2, 15-0 West Coast Conference).
Back atop the rankings for the first time since December, the Zags had little trouble against the Tigers and inched closer to a fifth unbeaten conference record in 20 seasons under coach Mark Few. The Bulldogs close out the WCC schedule Saturday at Saint Mary’s.
Gonzaga was held to a season-low 67 points by Pacific when the teams played earlier this season in Spokane. After a slow start this time, the Bulldogs pulled away by halftime and led by 26 while silencing a near-capacity crowd at Spanos Center.
Clarke led the way with his third straight double-double and did most of his scoring in the first half, while Hachimura fueled Gonzaga’s offense in the second half.
Coming off consecutive double-doubles in wins over Pepperdine and BYU, Clarke scored 10 points and didn’t miss a shot during a 25-6 run in the first half when the Bulldogs pulled away following a sluggish start.
Clarke, who had three blocks before halftime, had a steal near midcourt and fed Hachimura for a soaring one-handed dunk when Gonzaga pushed its lead to 20.
Hachimura made two more dunks in the second half, including one off an alley-oop lob from Geno Crandall that made it 61-37. That dunk kicked off a stretch where Hachimura scored 12 of 16 points for the Bulldogs.
Like it did when the teams played earlier this season in Spokane, Pacific (13-17, 3-12) slowed its offense and repeatedly ran the shot clock down to the final seconds in an attempt to limit Gonzaga’s possessions. But the Tigers shot 23.1 percent in the first half and couldn’t slow the Bulldogs in transition.
Roberto Gallinat scored 23 points for Pacific. Khy Kabellis added 13. – Associated Press
Final – Gonzaga 86, Pacific 66: Dominant final 30 minutes from the Zags after Pacific put a bit of a scare into GU early on – be it for just a minute.
Final WCC game of the season on Saturday as GU visits rival Saint Mary’s at 7 p.m. (ESPN).
With the top seed secured into the WCC Tournament, the Zags will then have nine days off before they take the court again in Las Vegas for the WCC semifinals.
3:26 – Gonzaga 83, Pacific 58: That’ll be all for the Gonzaga starters as the reserves are in to finish this one out.
27 points for Rui Hachimura and 21 for Brandon Clarke. The Zags’ dynamic duo inside dominate again vs. a guard-heavy Pacific team.
Zach Norevll Jr. also finished his night in doubel figures with 12 points for GU, while Roberto Gallinat has 17 for the Tigers
8:14 – Gonzaga 69, Pacific 46: Brandon Clarke sends Pacific, and the rest of the WCC a message, with a massive swat on Jahlil Tripp.
Zach Norvell Jr. joins the party in double figures with 10 points, while Josh Perkins is at eight.
Rui Hachimura on a tear in the second half and is now up to 23 points, two of which came on an alley-oop from Geno Crandall.
GU has also stayed locked in on defense, forcing Pacific into 11 turnovers.
11:39 – Gonzaga 61, Pacific 40: Assertive take from Zach Norvell Jr., who is up to eight points for the Zags.
Brandon Clarke knocking on the door of a 20-point night after a quite game against BYU in the Kennel last Saturday. He’s up to 17 points to match Rui Hachimura.
Zags shooting 60.5 percent from the floor, and maybe more impressive, they’re shooting 50 percent from beyond the arc.
Points in the paint continue to standout as GU leads Pacific 32-6 in that category.
15:57 – Gonzaga 50, Pacific 29: After going inside to start the game, but teams have found their range to open the second half.
Pacific’s Khy Kabellis drills his second triple of the game, but GU’s Corey Kispert answers back with a 3 of his own.
Better shooting this half for the Tigers, but they can’t seem to stop the Zags, who are 4 of 5 from the floor this half.
Brandon Clarke and Rui Hachimura with 15 points apiece for GU. Roberto Gallinat also has 15 for the Tigers.
Zags up to 25 points in the paint. They also have just four turnovers to nine assists.
Halftime – Gonzaga 39, Pacific 20: Hard to imagine this GU team trailing eight minutes in, but the Zags had rallied behind Brandon Clarke and Rui Hachimura to put this one nearly out of reach through the opening half.
Clarke and Hachimura with 13 points apiece to lead all scorers. Josh Perkins with six for the Zags.
Zags shoot 56 percent from the floor and 50 percent from deep in the half, while holding Pacific to 23.1 percent overall and 40 percent from 3-point range. Zags outrebound Pacific 18-14 and hold a 20-4 advantage in points in the paint.
Roberto Gallinat pacing the Tigers with nine points.
2:46 – Gonzaga 31, Pacific 16: Roberto Gallinat comes out of the media break and connects with a deep 3-pointer, but GU’s Zach Norvell Jr. answers right back for his first points of the night.
GU then goes right back inside to Brandon Clarke, who is the first player into double figures with 12 points on 5 of 5 shooting.
Zags again doing a great job of staying out of foul trouble with just 12 team fouls so far. GU goes into the break on another 7-0 run. Great response from GU after a sluggish start on the road.
6:09 – Gonzaga 24, Pacific 13: Zags really turning it on over the last four minutes on offense, while keeping Pacific ice cold from the field.
Rui Hachimura leads all scorers with nine points, including a 3-pointer. Brandon Clarke with six points for Gonzaga, while Geno Crandall has four.
Pacific shooting just 19 percent overall. Tigers are led by Roberto Gallinat’s four points.
GU shooting 47.1 percent from the floor and 33.3 percent from deep. Zags are also outrebounding Pacific 14-11.
9:47 – Gonzaga 13, Pacific 10: Bulldogs yet to really get going in this one as Pacific is doing a good job of taking it right at GU.
Zags shooting 42.9 percent from the floor.
Josh Perkins finally gets the Zags back on track with the team’s first 3-pointer of the night.
Zags quickly go to the bench tonight as Corey Kispert and Rui Hachimura sit in favor of Geno Crandall and Filip Petrusev.
Brandon Clarke and Hachimura with four points apiece for the Zags, who go into the media timeout on a 7-0 run, capped by a Geno Crandall steal and slam.
15:51 – Pacific 5, Gonzaga 4: Top-ranked Bulldogs start the game with an emphasis on play in the paint as Rui Hachimura and Brandon Clarke get the first two GU buckets down low.
Pacific answers back with a 3-pointer from Jeremiah Bailey.
Brandon Clarke made his presence known on defense with an early block, but that didn’t stop UP’s Roberto Gallinat from taking Clarke all the way to the bucket for a big slam to take the lead.
Zags 0 for 4 after the first two makes. Slow start on offense for both teams.
Gonzaga announces starting 5
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