No. 6/7 Zags Host USF on Thursday

6/7 Gonzaga (14-1, 3-0) vs. San Francisco (7-9, 1-3)
Thursday, Jan. 8, 2014 | 6:00 p.m. (PT) | McCarthey Athletic Center (6,000) | Spokane, Wash.
TV: KHQ/ROOT Sports (Greg Heister, Richard Fox, Dan Dickau)
Gonzaga IMG Radio Network: KGA 1510/TuneIn App (Tom Hudson, Matt Santangelo)

Live stream: TheW.tv / WatchESPN  |  Live Stats  |  Gonzaga Notes  |  USF Notes
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Live streams are subject to blackout.

STORY LINES

  • Gonzaga opened its WCC schedule 3-0 for the ninth straight year.
  • Last time out: Gonzaga built a 21-point lead midway through second half and withstood a big Portland run to win 87-75. The Zags got 21 each from Przemek Karnowski and Kevin Pangos on the way to the team’s seventh consecutive win.
  • Gonzaga avenged all three road losses from last season with wins at BYU, USD and Portland.
  • The Zags have played just one game at the McCarthey Athletic Center since Dec. 3 (a 94-54 win over Texas Southern on Dec. 15) and none in the last 24 days.
  • GU will be defending its 32-game home winning streak, the second-longest current streak in the nation behind Duke’s 41-gamer.
  • Mark Few improved his career record against WCC foes to 197-24 (.891).
  • Gonzaga will be aiming for its third straight 4-0 start to league play and 10th in Mark Few era.

ABOUT GONZAGA

  • Head coach Mark Few enters the game with a career record of 417-101, the all-time leader in winning percentage at .805.
  • Gonzaga’s balanced scoring attack is led by Kyle Wiltjer’s 16.5 points per game. After that, five players averaged between 8.3 and 12.1 points per game.
  • Gonzaga is one of the most efficient offensive teams in the nation, ranking No. 2 in field goal percentage (52.8), No. 8 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.54) and No. 11 in scoring offense (82.2).
  • The Zags are in the top two the West Coast Conference in 18 statistical categories.

ABOUT SAN FRANCISCO

  • Head coach Rex Walters is in his seventh season at the helm and has a 105-103 record at USF.
  • He earned WCC Coach of the Year honors last season, guiding USF to a 13-5 league mark.
  • Junior Mark Tollefson leads the team at 15.1 points per game and preseason All-WCC selection Kruize Pinkins averages 15.0 ppg.
  • Matt Glover (6.1), Tollefson (5.9) and Pinkins (5.3) all average more than 5.0 rebounds/game.
  • Junior Tim Derksen is lethal from behind the arc, hitting 25 of 48 attempts (.481) this season.

ABOUT THE SERIES

  • Gonzaga is 48-22 overall against San Francisco, including a 43-17 mark in WCC play.
  • The Zags have won 25 straight games against USF in Spokane dating to Feb. 10, 1989.
  • Gonzaga swept the series last season. The last Dons win came 66-65 on Feb. 18, 2012 at USF.

KARNOWSKI’S HIGHLIGHT REEL EARNS HIM WCC POW
Junior center Przemek Karnowski was named West Coast Conference Player of the Week for his performance in an 87-75 road win at Portland. He finished the day with 21 points on 9-of-12 shooting with two rebounds, two assists and two steals. In the second half alone, he had 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting, including two highlight reel plays. First, at the 10:29 mark, the 7-foot-1 center caught an inbounds pass and fired up a 22-footer to make the first three-pointer of his career. Then with just 48 seconds left Karnowski took a feed from Kevin Pangos, put down a two-handed slam with a foul and converted the free throw to push the lead from seven to 10 points.

PANGOS AND KARNOWSKI TAKE OVER PORTLAND
Down the stretch of Gonzaga’s 87-75 win at Portland last weekend, Kevin Pangos and Przemek Karnowski were nearly unstoppable. Over the last 15-plus minutes, the duo combined to score 32 of GU’s last 35 points. Pangos had 17 of those, including two threes and six straight clutch free throws in the last minute to ice it. Karnowski had 15 second-half poitns including his first career three-pointer and a crucial and-1 dunk with under 50 seconds to play.

PANGOS LIGHTING UP THE LEAGUE
In three West Coast Conference games (all on the road), Kevin Pangos has been about as good as it gets. He’s averaging 17.3 points per game, 5.3 assists per game and 3.7 rebounds per game. Not to mention, he’s shooting .600 (9-15) from behind the arc and .813 (13-16) from the free throw line.

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 197-24 for an astounding .891 winning percentage. In those 15 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.

THE KENNEL
Gonzaga hasn’t lost at home since Dec. 8, 2012 to Illinois (85-74), a streak of 32 games and span of 762 days. The 32 games is the second-longest current streak in the nation, behind only Duke’s 41-game win streak. It is the third-longest streak in GU history ahead of a 29-gamer from 2000-03. The school record is 50 from 2003-2007, which includes the McCarthey Athletic Center opening in 2004. The Zags won their first 38 games in their new building. The 10th anniversary of the first game played in the MAC was on Nov. 19, 2004, a 98-80 win over Portland State.

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 .585 from the field at 244-for-417. Here’s the individual season breakdown:
Kyle Wiltjer - 98-185 (.530)
Domantas Sabonis - 55-77 (.714)
Przemek Karnowski - 70-125 (.560)
Angel Nunez - 21-30 (.700)

#4EQUALS3
Follow Kevin Pangos’ road to the GU career three-point record on Twitter with #4equals3. With a two more at Portland, Pangos’ total climbed to 271, the third-best all-time at GU. That leaves him nine behind Richie Frahm’s 280 and 17 behind Blake Stepp’s 288. Pangos ranks second nationally among active career three-point leaders, behind only USD’ s Johnny Dee.

In the last five games alone, Pangos has made 16-of-27 (.593) from deep. He knocked down three three-pointers against Texas Southern, four against Cal Poly, five against BYU and two each against San Diego and Portland.

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 13.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game over the last seven. The step up in numbers has also come against tougher competition, including three Pac-12 teams and three WCC road games. The Polish center has also vastly improved his shooting from the free throw line. With extra attempts before and after practice, Karnowski is shooting .636 (14-21) over the last seven 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.

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 21 more points against Portland, he’s now at 1,566 for his career and in sole posession of 11th, just 55 points behind Richie Frahm for 10th.

DEPTH FINDER

  • Six different leading scorers this season
  • At least four players in double figures eight times in 15 games
  • 10 players average at least in 10.7 minutes per game (including the injured Josh Perkins), and eight average more than 18.2 minutes per game
  • Eight players average at least 2.5 rebounds per game
  • 10 different players have made a three-pointer this season

FEW IN JANUARY
During Mark Few’s 16 years at the helm of the Gonzaga program, he’s compiled an NCAA record .805 winning percentage. In the month of January he’s been even better, compiling a mark of .879 with 102 wins and 14 losses. Here’s how it breaks down by year:

1999-00 — 8-0 2005-06 — 7-0 2010-11 — 5-3
2000-01 — 8-1 2006-07 — 7-2 2011-12 — 6-1
2001-02 — 7-1 2007-08 — 6-1 2012-13 — 7-1
2002-03 — 7-0 2008-09 — 8-0 2013-14 — 6-1
2003-04 — 8-0 2009-10 — 6-1 2014-15 — 1-0
2004-05 — 5-2


 

 

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