Bulldogs Ride Waves For 24th Straight Time To Go 9-0 In WCC
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Kevin Pangos saw that unranked Illinois had beaten No. 1 Indiana on Thursday night, and wasn't about to let the same fate befall No. 6 Gonzaga.
Pangos scored 14 points as Gonzaga pounded Pepperdine 82-56 on Thursday night for its 24th consecutive victory over the Waves.
``We don't relax for any game,'' Pangos said. ``I saw today that Illinois beat Indiana. It happens. We can't let that happen to us.''
Kelly Olynyk added 13 points for Gonzaga (22-2, 9-0 West Coast), which has won five straight since losing at Butler.
Stacy Davis scored 16 points to lead Pepperdine (10-13, 2-8), which has lost four straight games. Nikolas Skouen added 12 points.
In their first meeting, Pepperdine led by a point with 14 minutes left before losing 78-62. But this one was over early, as Gonzaga made 12 3-pointers and the Waves committed 21 turnovers.
Gonzaga won despite a sluggish offensive performance. The Bulldogs shot 44.8 percent in the game and held Pepperdine to 36.2 percent.
``Offense can be up and down,'' Pangos said. ``Defensively, if we can get that performance every single game, we are tough to beat.''
Gonzaga made 12 of 27 3-point attempts and 18 of 24 free throws.
``We probably didn't have the same offensive rhythm as some of our games,'' coach Mark Few said.
Gonzaga scored the first 10 points of the game and Pepperdine was scoreless for the first 5 minutes. The Waves committed nine turnovers in the first 8 minutes to fall behind 14-2.
``It got out of hand with all our turnovers in the first half,'' Pepperdine coach Marty Wilson said. ``That was the key and that's been our Achilles heel all season.''
Gonzaga led 35-20 at halftime despite shooting only 37 percent from the field. Pepperdine shot just 27 percent (6 of 22) in the first half, and committed 15 turnovers to five for Gonzaga.
``That was one thing we talked about at halftime, despite the 15 turnovers, holding them to 10 baskets and 37 percent on their home court,'' Wilson said.
Pepperdine picked up the tempo early in the second half, matching baskets with Gonzaga, but couldn't make up any ground as the Bulldogs led 44-29 with 15:35 left.
Consecutive 3-pointers by Barham and Pangos launched an 11-0 run that put Gonzaga up 58-32.
Kyle Dranginis' 3-pointer, the 11th of the game for Gonzaga, put the Bulldogs up 66-36 and the Waves did not threaten again.
Dranginis finished with 11 points and Przemek Karnowski had 10 for Gonzaga.
Pepperdine's last win over Gonzaga was in 2002 in Malibu. The Waves have not won in Spokane since 1998.
This is Gonzaga's best start since the 2003-04 team started 28-2.
Gonzaga is 116-8 in the McCarthey Athletic Center since it opened in 2004.
NOTES and QUOTES
Notes: Gonzaga's 24 straight wins over Pepperdine is its longest active winning streak against a WCC team ... Pepperdine is 0-11 when allowing 67 points or more ... Gonzaga's record at the McCarthey Athletic Center is now 59-2 in conference games ... Pepperdine finished the game with more turnovers (21) than field goals (17) ... the Zags, who boast the stingiest defense in the WCC, held the Waves nearly six-points below their season average ... GU junior Drew Barham made his first start of the season ... walk-on Brian Bhaskar, a junior from California, saw his first action of the season.
Gonzaga coach Mark Few
On his team's performance against Pepperdine ... "I loved our defensive intensity ... we did a great job of buying in and playing with effort and passion on the defensive end."
On the play of guard Kyle Dranginis ... "I really thought Kyle had a great game. I think that is a great sign for us to get another perimeter player stepping up and being aggressive like that and making plays. He got in there and dug things out on the glass and got his hands on a lot of balls defensively. That is exactly what we need out of that third perimeter spot."
On Saturday's game against Loyola Marymount, a team GU beat 45 points earlier in the season ... "There is some real talent on that team and we have to approach that game like we do any other. You know, what happened down there in Loyola kind of snowballed a little bit. We have to make sure we come out and approach it like we did the first one."
Gonzaga redshirt freshman Kyle Dranginis
On his progression throughout the season ... "As the season has progressed I have felt a little more comfortable. It's been good - and we're winning. As long as that keeps happening, I'm happy."
On the importance of not overlooking Loyola Marymount on Saturday ... "I'm sure that they are hearing it from their coaches because we kind of handled them. But they are definitely going to give us a game. We've got to prepare like it's any other game."
Gonzaga sophomore Kevin Pangos
On the key to Gonzaga's success against Pepperdine ... "Not relaxing. Everyone came out aggressive ... when everyone brings energy like that on the defensive end, we're hard to beat."
On Saturday's game against Loyola Marymount ... "Every game is important for where we want to get to."