No. 7/8 Zags Fend Off Pesky Pilots, 87-75
PORTLAND (SportsNetwork.com) - Przemek Karnowski dropped 21 points and No. 7 Gonzaga survived a stiff test from Portland, beating the Pilots 87-75 to avenge last season's loss at Chiles Center.
Karnowski shot 9-for-12 and made his first career 3-pointer during a balanced scoring attack that saw four Bulldogs reach double figures and three others score at least five.
Kevin Pangos also notched 21 points while Gary Bell Jr. and Byron Wesley posted 12 and 10, respectively, for Gonzaga (14-1, 3-0 WCC), which is 3-0 in conference play for the ninth straight season.
Alec Wintering and Thomas van der Mars did the heavy lifting for Portland (10-5, 1-2), which trailed by as many as 21 points before trimming the gap to five late in the game. It fell short of a miraculous comeback for the second straight game.
Wintering had 20 points and eight assists, and Van der Mars totaled 17 points with eight boards.
Gonzaga scored on its first three possessions and quickly led 7-0.
Later in the first half, Kyle Dranginis bookended a 10-0 run with 3-pointers, leaving the Bulldogs in front 31-14. Then early in the second, Kyle Wiltjer scored five in a row to help turn a 43-28 halftime lead into a 20-point margin.
The spread reached 21 points before the Pilots made their move. Bobby Sharp opened an 8-2 flurry with a layup, and the hosts scored on four straight touches. Their offense stayed hot as the period went on, with Riley Barker's layup at 8:04 making it a 10-point game.
Out of a Gonzaga timeout, Wintering stepped into a 3-pointer had it within seven, and Volodymyr Gerun's putback two minutes later made it 70-64.
Portland's deficit was down to five following two Wintering free throws, but Gonzaga answered at the other end with Pangos stepping into a long two.
Karnowski then stripped van der Mars, and Pangos drove and handed to Karnowski for a two-handed flush plus a foul. The big lefty hit the free throw to put an exclamation mark on his night.
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