No. 7/8 MBB Hits Portland to Face Pilots on Saturday
7/8 Gonzaga (13-1, 1-0) vs. Portland (10-4, 1-1)
Saturday, Jan. 3, 2014 | 6:30 p.m. (PT) | Chiles Center (4,852) | Portland, Ore.
TV: ESPN2 (Beth Mowins, Stan Heath)
Gonzaga IMG Radio Network: KGA 1510/TuneIn App (Tom Hudson, Matt Santangelo) WattchESPN  |  Live Stats  |  Gonzaga Notes  |  Portland Notes

STORY LINES

  • Gonzaga opened its WCC schedule 2-0 for the ninth straight year.
  • Gonzaga avenged two road losses from last season with wins at BYU and San Diego
  • Last time out: Gonzaga held the lead wire-to-wire at San Diego to win 60-48. Kyle Wiltjer scored 15 points, Byron Wesley had 12 and Kevin Pangos had 10 for the Zags, who outscored USD 20-6 in the paint.
  • Gonzaga has the chance to avenge its only other WCC loss from last season at Portland, when it lost 82-73 at the Chiles Center.
  • Mark Few improved his career record against WCC foes to 196-24 (.891).
  • Gonzaga will be aiming for its ninth straight 3-0 start to league play.

ABOUT GONZAGA

  • Head coach Mark Few enters the game with a career record of 416-101, the all-time leader in winning percentage at .805.
  • Gonzaga’s balanced scoring attack is led by Kyle Wiltjer’s 17.1 points per game. After that, five players averaged between 8.1 and 12.0 points per game.
  • Gonzaga is one of the most efficient offensive teams in the nation, ranking No. 7 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.56), No. 12 in assists/game (17.8) and No. 4 in field goal percentage (52.5).
  • The Zags lead the West Coast Conference in eight statistical categories.
  • The Zags have out-rebounded all 14 opponents and hold a rebound margin of +9.9.

ABOUT PORTLAND

  • Head coach Eric Reveno enters his ninth season and led the Pilots to a 15-16 record last year. The Pilots played in the CollegeInsider.com Postseason Tournament three times (2009-11).
  • Senior guard and leading scorer Kevin Bailey (13.1 ppg) has missed the last seven games with a foot injury.
  • Senior center and four-year starter Thomas van der Mars averages 10.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. Two more Pilots average at least double figures.

ABOUT THE SERIES

  • Gonzaga is 92-66 overall against Portland, including wins in 35 of the last 37 meetings.
  • Portland defeated Gonzaga 82-73 in the last meeting between the teams at the Chiles Center.
  • Prior to last season Gonzaga had won 17 in a row in Portland.

FEW vs. THE WCC
Now in his 16th season at the helm of the Gonzaga basketball program, head coach Mark Few has lost just 24 league games, compiling a WCC record of 196-24 for an astounding .891 winning percentage. In the15 previous seasons, Gonzaga has run the table four times (2004, ‘06, ‘09, ‘13) and lost just one WCC game three more times (2001, ‘02, ‘08). Few has led GU to the regular season conference title 13 times, including a streak of 11 straight from 2001-2011. This year’s preseason favorite, Gonzaga is the two-time defending regular season champion.

NATIONAL TELEVISION
All 31 Gonzaga games will be televised this season, including 16 on the ESPN family of networks. That gives Gonzaga 68 ESPN appearances in the last four seasons.

GONZAGA BIGS LIGHTS OUT
Gonzaga has been ultra efficient when getting the ball to its big men. The combination of Kyle Wiltjer, Domantas Sabonis, Przemek Karnowski and Angel Nunez is shooting a collective .586 from the field at 230-for-392. Here’s the individual season breakdown:
Kyle Wiltjer - 95-175 (.543)
Domantas Sabonis - 53-74 (.716)
Przemek Karnowski - 61-113 (.540)
Angel Nunez - 21-30 (.700)

WILTJER SCORING AT WILL
Gonzaga started the year with five different leading scorers in its first six games, but over the last eight it’s been all Kyle Wiltjer. The redshirt junior forward has led the Zags in points in seven of those eight, including a stretch of three straight with 20 points. He’s had double digits a team-leading 11 times and is averaging a team-leading 17.1 points per game. Wiltjer also posted a team season-high 32 points earlier this year against Georgia in Madison Square Garden in the NIT Season Tip-Off Semifinal.

WILTJER FROM EVERYWHERE
After making a respectable 10-of-31 (.323) from behind the arc in the first eight games, Kyle Wiltjer has been money from deep ever since. In the last six games, he’s made 13-of-22 (.591) from three-land. In those six games, Wiltjer is also 46-of-78 (.590) from the field and 8-for-8 (1.000) from the free throw line for a team-leading 18.8 points per game in the span.

#4EQUALS3
Follow Kevin Pangos’ road to the GU career three-point record on Twitter with #4equals3. With a two more at San Diego, Pangos’ total climbed to 269, the third-best all-time at GU. That leaves him 11 behind Richie Frahm’s 280 and 19 behind Blake Stepp’s 288. Pangos ranks second nationally among active career three-point leaders, behind only USD’ s Johnny Dee who has 301.

In the last four games alone, Pangos has made 14-of-23 (.609) from deep. He knocked down three three-pointers against Texas Southern, four against Cal Poly before his five against BYU.

KARNOWSKI TURNING IT UP
After averaging a solid 8.0 points and 5.8 rebounds through the first five games, junior center Przemek Karnowski is averaging 11.7 points and 6.7 rebounds per game over the last six. The step up in numbers has also come against tougher competition, including three Pac-12 teams. The Polish center has also vastly improved his shooting from the free throw line. With extra attempts before and after practice, Karnowski is shooting .632 (12-19) over the last six games after shooting .286 (4-14) at the line in the first eight games. The turnaround started with a career-high-tying 22 points against Washington State on Dec. 10 in which he hit 10-of-15 field goals and 2-of-3 free throws to go along with three assists, two steals and one block.

MAKING IT RAIN
The Bulldogs have made at least four three-pointers in every game, including four games with at least 10 three-pointers. Gonzaga is averaging 7.1 three-pointers per game so far this season and is shooting at a league-leading .394 clip (99-251). Nine players have made at least one three, and Kevin Pangos leads the team with 28, including his five-three-pointer outburst against BYU on Dec. 27th.

GONZAGA PICKED TO WIN WCC
The Gonzaga men’s basketball team was unanimously selected by league coaches to win the West Coast Conference title, while Kevin Pangos and Przemek Karnowski were named Preseason All-WCC, conference officials prior to the season.

The Zags, who have won 13 of the last 14 regular season WCC titles, received all nine possible first-place votes for 81 points in the poll. Pangos was named to the All-WCC Preseason team for the third time in his career, while also earning postseason All-WCC First Team honors three times. Karnowski earned his first league preseason honor.
Few against WCC.

PANGOS OVER 1,500
With 16 points against Cal Poly, Kevin Pangos became the 14th GU player ever to surpass 1,500 points in his career. After 10 more points against BYU, he’s now at 1,545 for his career in sole posession of 12th, just two points behind Jerry Vermillion for 11th.

INSTANT IMPACT
Gonzaga’s group of newcomers and transfers has not only brought depth and balance, but they’ve been prolific at putting the ball in the basket. Players in their first year in a GU uniform (transfers and freshmen) have combined to make up 53.1% of the offense this season, led by Kentucky transfer Kyle Wiltjer’s team-leading 17.1 points per game. USC transfer Byron Wesley is second on the team averaging 12.0 points per game and freshman Domantas Sabonis is fourth at 9.9.

DEPTH FINDER

  • Six different leading scorers this season
  • At least four players in double figures seven times in 14 games
  • 10 players average at least in 11.0 minutes per game (including the injured Josh Perkins), and eight average more than 18.0 minutes per game
  • Eight players average at least 2.4 rebounds per game
  • Nine different players have made a three-pointer this season

 


 

 

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