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Gonzaga Basketball

Gonzaga-Portland key matchup: Vukasin Masic brings versatility to Pilots offense

PORTLAND – We attempt to bring variety to the key matchup when possible, particularly when Gonzaga is facing a rematch against a West Coast Conference foe.

Tyler Robertson, who leads Portland in scoring (16.1) and assists (3.5), is the obvious choice, but we highlighted the standout wing in this space just two weeks ago.

That leaves two strong candidates in redshirt sophomore guard Vukasin Masic and 6-foot-8 freshman guard Tyler Harris. The nod goes to Masic, who has been a fixture in the starting lineup while Harris, one of the top freshmen in the conference, is just returning from an ankle injury.

Masic has good size (6-5 and 210 pounds), handles the ball (tops the Pilots in assists in conference at 3.7) and connects on a team-leading 39.6% beyond the 3-point arc.

The Serbian native has had some big games: 25 points versus Long Beach State in the season opener, 32 versus North Dakota, and 21 and 22 in two matchups against San Francisco. He’s had three games with four 3-pointers and five with three.

Masic has scored in double figures in 10 of the past 12 games, hiking his average from 11.6 to 13.0.

His minutes, scoring, rebounding and assists have improved in WCC play, but his 3-point accuracy has faded from 45.4% in the nonconference to 33.9% in conference.

Masic finished with 12 points on 4-of-12 shooting from the field, including 1 of 5 on 3s, and five assists in 36 minutes in Portland’s 96-64 loss to Gonzaga on Feb. 7.

He scored just two points as the Pilots trailed 50-23 at halftime.

Masic began his college career at Hofstra in 2021 before finding a starting role at Maine in 2022. He averaged 9.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists for the Black Bears. He redshirted last season after the NCAA denied his waiver request for immediate eligibility.

Gonzaga’s Nolan Hickman drew the starting assignment on Masic in the first meeting, but the Zags frequently switched on screens, so Masic will likely see numerous defenders.