Dower Knocks Down Late Trey To Push Zags Past SCU 54-52
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - Sam Dower Jr. made a game-winning 3-pointer with 1.9 seconds left and finished with 12 points as Gonzaga avoided its first loss at Santa Clara since 2001, with a 54-52 win on Wednesday night.
"I’m happy for him," a relieved head coach Mark Few said outside the joyous lockerroom. "He’s had these games sometimes where he struggles along, and struggles along, but it seems he always continues to make shots in one way or another."
Few said that wasn't exactly what the Bulldogs had drawn up in the huddle.
"We didn’t get the look we wanted off that action, but we were able to pop it to him and when it left his hand it looked pretty good," Few analyzed of the gamewinner.
Jared Brownridge's half-court shot went off the side of the rim at the buzzer and Santa Clara lost its fifth straight.
It was Dower's only shot attempt of the second half.
Gary Bell Jr. scored 15 points, highlighted by making three 3-pointers in a little over 5 minutes late in the second half, for Gonzaga (19-3, 9-1 West Coast Conference).
The Bulldogs, who went 0-for-3 from long range in the first half, went 5-for-9 from beyond the arc in the second with Bell connecting on three of them.
"Those threes were huge to kind of get us going a little bit; to open up the dam so water could start flowing," Few said of Bell, who started his first game since returning from a broken hand after coming off the bench in both games last week in his return.
Evan Roquemore scored 15 points for Santa Clara (10-13, 3-7), seven coming in the final 4 minutes. His second 3-pointer, in the Broncos late 13-2 run, pulled his team to within 51-50 with 1:23 left. After a Pangos miss, Brandon Clark made a runner over Przemek Karnowski for a 52-51 lead with 28 seconds left.
Gonzaga held Clark to a hard-fought 12 points, connecting on just 5-of-16 shots while going 0-for-6 from 3-point range.
"We played great defense all game," Few said. "Our zone was great. Those were some crazy shots here at the end."
The Bulldogs shot a season-low 26.9 percent for a first half this season, connecting on just 7-of-26 shots. The 20 points at halftime was also a season-low for the Bulldogs.
"We missed a bunch of layins," Few said of the first-half woes on offense. "We wanted our guys to settle down. Santa Clara was playing us hard, really physical. They always play very inspired in here. It’s always kind of a wrestling match when we play them in here and it was. They were pretty deliberate on offense and we were shooting ourselves in the foot, quite frankly, on offense."
Gonzaga will conclude its Bay Area swing Saturday at 7 p.m. at the University of San Francisco. The Dons are very much in the hunt for the WCC title at 7-3 following an 84-71 victory over the University of Portland Wednesday night.