Bulldogs Get Back On Winning Track 67-61 Over Oral Roberts
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Freshman guard Kevin Pangos had 14 points and seven assists to lead Gonzaga to a 67-61 victory over Oral Roberts on Thursday night in the 100th regular-season game for the Bulldogs in the McCarthey Athletic Center.
Elias Harris added 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulldogs (6-2), and Rob Sacre had nine points and 10 rebounds. Backup center Sam Dower scored 12 points for Gonzaga, which enjoyed a 23-4 bench-points edge.
Damen Bell-Holter, a former Gonzaga recruit, led Oral Roberts (7-4) with 16 points, 10 in the first half. Dominque Morrison and Michael Craion scored 13 points each for the Golden Eagles, and Morrison had nine rebounds.
Gonzaga ran it's record to 93-7 in the McCarthey Athletic Center since it opened for the 2004-05 season.
Gonzaga shot 60 percent from the field in the first half and led 37-29 at the break. The Golden Eagles never led in the second half, but Gonzaga's cushion was cut to 65-61 after Morrison sank two free throws with 1:47 remaining.
A pair of Pangos free throws accounted for the only scoring the rest of the way.
"We beat a very, very good basketball team. We did nice job, we went plus-15 on the glass, shot a high percentage and ended up making enough plays and enough stops to get it done," Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said. "It wasn't easy. We had to have some of the guys step up and make some big plays, especially down the stretch, both offensively and defensively. The biggest thing we were getting handed to early was on the glass. We kind of flipped that around and ended up going plus-15. I thought that was huge."
Gonzaga jumped to a 17-9 lead, but the Golden Eagles went on an 18-3 spurt to take their largest lead of the game, 27-20, with 6:22 remaining in the half. The Zags finished the half with a 17-2 run of their own for the 37-29 halftime edge. Back-to-back baskets by Dower gave Gonzaga a 30-29 lead and Pangos and Marquise Carter each had a pair of free throws in the run.
The Bulldogs held a 47-37 lead with 13:43 remaining, but ORU closed the gap to 49-44. Gonzaga increased the lead to 11 with just under eight minutes to play, but once again the Golden Eagles went on a spurt to cut the deficit to 59-57 with 3:52 to go, the closest ORU would get the rest of the way.
Gonzaga, which had players finishing finals as late as Thursday afternoon, snapped a two-game losing streak and will next face the University of Arizona Saturday at KeyArena in the State Farm Battle in Seattle. It will be a short turnaround for the Zags as Saturday's tip is at 1 p.m.
"I don't like the timing or anything but it does prepare us for how our league is going to be, our league is different this year. We're going to play a game at home and then get on the plane and play a road game. I wish I would have a full week to prepare for Arizona but basically a day and then it's an early game on Saturday," Few said.
The Bulldogs, who saw Michigan State score 23 points off 20 turnovers last Saturday, turned the ball over 17 times Thursday leading to 22 ORU points.
"We've got to make sure we take better care of the ball. We have these stretches where we just turn the ball over. We have to get that cleaned up somehow," Few noted.