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- Last time out: Gonzaga made a season-high 12 three-pointers and outscored San Francisco in the paint 36-24 for a well-rounded 88-57 win in the 150th men’s basketball game at the McCarthey Athletic Center.
- Gonzaga earned its third consecutive 4-0 start to West Coast Conference play.
- GU will be defending its 33-game home winning streak, the second-longest current streak in the nation behind Duke’s 41-gamer.
- A win against Santa Clara would tie the GU’s second-longest home win streak (34 from 92-95).
- Mark Few improved his career record against WCC foes to 198-24 (.892).
- Gonzaga will be aiming for its fifth 5-0 start to league play in the last eight years.
- Head coach Mark Few enters the game with a career record of 418-101, the all-time leader in winning percentage at .805.
- Gonzaga’s balanced scoring attack is led by Kyle Wiltjer’s 16.4 points per game. After that, five players averaged between 8.3 and 12.4 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. 4 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.58) and No. 9 in scoring offense (82.9).
- The Zags are in the top two the West Coast Conference in 21 team statistical categories.
ABOUT SANTA CLARA
- Head coach Kerry Keating is in his eighth season and has a career record of 121-129.
- The Broncos feature last years WCC Newcomer of the Year in Jared Brownridge and Brandon Clark, who combine to score more than 29 points per game. Clark at 15.3, Brownridge at 13.8.
- Brownridge is one of the best in the league from behind the arc, shooting .450 on 45-of-100.
- Santa Clara is averaging just 61.5 points per game, but only giving up 65.7 per game.
- The Broncos are coming off a 78-61 loss at Portland on Thursday, and have previous league wins at Pacific (57-40) and vs. San Diego (59-56).
ABOUT THE SERIES
- Gonzaga is 52-30 all-time against Santa Clara, including wins in 30 of the last 32 meetings.
- The Zags have won eight in a row overall, and seven in a row in Spokane.
- Gonzaga swept the series last season. The last Bronco win was 85-71 in 2011 at Santa Clara.
MAKING IT RAIN
On Thursday, the Zags drilled 12 three-pointers against San Francisco, a season-high and the fifth time with at least 10 treys. GU has made at least four three-pointers in every game, is averaging 7.3 three-pointers per game and shooting at a league-leading .393 clip. Ten players have made at least one three, and Kevin Pangos leads the team with 35, including his second five-three-pointer game of the year against San Francisco on Thursday.
PANGOS LIGHTING UP THE LEAGUE
In four West Coast Conference games, Kevin Pangos has been about as good as it gets. He’s averaging 17.3 points, 5.3 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game. Not to mention, he’s shooting .609 (14-23) 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 198-24 for an astounding .892 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.
Gonzaga hasn’t lost at home since Dec. 8, 2012 to Illinois (85-74), a streak of 33 games and span of 764 days. The 33 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, but could tie the second-longest streak with a win against Santa Clara. 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 258-for-441. Here’s the individual season breakdown:
Kyle Wiltjer - 103-192 (.536)
Domantas Sabonis - 57-81 (.704)
Przemek Karnowski - 77-135 (.570)
Angel Nunez - 21-33 (.636)
Follow Kevin Pangos’ road to the GU career three-point record on Twitter with #4equals3. With a five more against San Francisco on Thursday, Pangos’ total climbed to 276, the third-best all-time at GU. That leaves him just four behind Richie Frahm’s 280 and 12 behind Blake Stepp’s 288. Pangos ranks second nationally among active career three-point leaders, behind USD’ s Johnny Dee.
In the last six games alone, Pangos has made 21-of-35 (.600) from deep. He knocked down three three-pointers against Texas Southern, four against Cal Poly, five against BYU and San Francisco and two each against San Diego and Portland.
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.
KARNOWSKI TURNING IT UP
After averaging a solid 8.0 points through the first five games, junior center Przemek Karnowski is averaging 13.4 points per game over the last eight. The step up in numbers has also come against tougher competition, including three Pac-12 teams and four WCC 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 .667(16-24) over the last eight 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.