Kevin Pangos Scores Career Best 34 As Zags Top Hogs
LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) - Kevin Pangos and No. 11 Gonzaga got back on track after stumbling at the start of their trip to Hawaii.
Pangos, named to the All-Tournament team, scored a career-high 34 points and the Bulldogs easily beat Arkansas 91-81 on Wednesday to win their final two games at the Maui Invitational following a first-round defeat.
Pangos made 7-of-8 3-point attempts, including four during a 3-minute stretch in the second half that led the Zags to an 18-point lead. He got a standing ovation from fans in the tiny gym when he came out of the game with less than 2 minutes left.
But Gonzaga head coach Mark Few was forced to put Pangos and Gary Bell, Jr., back into the game in the final minute when Arkansas cut a 17-point deficit to 11. It was after he re-entered the game Pangos hit a pair of free throws for points 33 and 34 and the career high.
''The shots were just falling. You hit the front rim, it just absorbs it,'' Pangos said. ''As a shooter, you feel more confident putting it up knowing that there's that extra good chance it's going to roll in or get a good bounce.''
Pangos did more than just shoot 3s, though. He had four assists, three rebounds and several layups in traffic while the game was still close.
''He played perfect basketball,'' Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said.
Gonzaga (6-1) never trailed and responded each time the Razorbacks tried to string together baskets.
Sam Dower Jr. had 19 points and Bell 13 for the Zags.
Gonzaga bounced back for two wins and fifth place in the early-season tournament after losing in the first round to unranked Dayton. The Bulldogs beat Division II Chaminade on Tuesday.
Gonzaga coach Mark Few was happy with how his team responded to the loss.
''This was a different experience for us, to be in the breakfast bracket. It really challenges who you are and what you're all about,'' Few said.
Bobby Portis had 18 points for Arkansas (4-2). Alandise Harris scored 17, Michael Qualls added 13 and Coty Clarke 11.
''We will build on this experience,'' said Few, who praised the performances by Portis and Harris throughout the tournament. ''All that tells me we are not that far off.''
With less than 3 minutes left in the first half, Pangos took a pass from David Stockton and drove in for a layup, tumbling to the floor after being fouled by Mardracus Wade. Pangos' free throw gave Gonzaga a 38-25 lead, tying its largest advantage of the half.
Arkansas responded with six points in just more than a minute to cut it to 38-31 at halftime. Portis hit a jumper at the start of the second half to narrow the deficit to five, but the Razorbacks got no closer.
About 5 minutes into the second half, Kyle Dranginis stole the ball from Qualls. Dranginis took a return pass from Pangos and hit a 3 from the top of the key to give Gonzaga a double-digit lead for good.
Few thought the rims in the Lahaina Civic Center were the softest he's ever seen, allowing more shots to fall.
''I could shoot 50 percent from 3s on these rims,'' he said.
Most Valuable Player
C.J. Fair - Syracuse (18.0 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 6 stls, 3 asts, 1 blk)
2012 EA SPORTS Maui Invitational All-Tournament Team
1) Kevin Pangos – Gonzaga (26.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 12 asts, 4 stls)
2) Jerami Grant – Syracuse (16.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 5 asts)
3) Devin Oliver – Dayton (15.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 10 asts, 4 stls)
4) Cory Jefferson – Baylor (13.3 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 6 blks, 1 ast)
5) Justin Cobbs – California (21.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 16 asts, 6 stls, 2 blks)