No. 3/3 Zags Trek to Malibu to Take on Pepperdine
Third-ranked Gonzaga will face a stiff test at Pepperdine on Thursday in Malibu, Calif. The tip is set for 7:30 p.m. on KHQ and ROOT Sports.
3/3 Gonzaga (16-1, 5-0) vs. Pepperdine (11-5, 4-1)
Thursday, Jan. 15, 2015 | 7:30 p.m. (PT) | Firestone Fieldhouse (3,104) | Malibu, Calif.
TV: KHQ/ROOT Sports (Steve Quis, Casey Jacobsen, Kelli Tennant)
Gonzaga IMG Radio Network: KGA 1510/TuneIn App (Tom Hudson, Matt Santangelo)
Watch Live | Live Stats | Gonzaga Notes | Pepperdine Notes
- Last time out: Gonzaga had double figures from five different players on the way to a 79-57 win over Santa Clara last Saturday. Przemek Karnowski continued his stellar play with a team-high 18 points, nine rebounds and two blocks.
- Gonzaga earned its second 5-0 start to West Coast Conference play in the last three years, and fifth in the last eight years.
- The win gave Gonzaga 34 straight home wins, the longest active streak in the nation’s after Duke fell at home on Tuesday night to break its streak of 41 straight.
- The win also tied GU’s second-longest home win streak (34 from 92-95).
- A win against Pepperdine would give Mark Few his 200th career WCC win (199-24, .892).
- Head coach Mark Few enters the game with a career record of 419-101, 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 7.9 and 12.5 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. 3 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.62) and No. 9 in scoring offense (82.6).
- The Zags are in the top two the West Coast Conference in 22 team statistical categories.
- Head coach Marty Wilson is in his fourth season and the Waves coming off an impressive weekend with back-to-back road wins at BYU and San Diego.
- Pepperdine features reigning WCC Player of the Week Stacy Davis, who averaged 20.5 points in two games last week, and is at 15.7 ppg and 7.7 rebounds per game for the season.
- Jett Raines averages 10.6 ppg and three more Waves are between 8.1 and 9.8 ppg.
- Pepperdine is the NCAA leader in defending the three-point line, limiting opponents to .237 shooting from behind the arc.
- 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 46-31 all-time against Pepperdine and has won 26 games in a row.
- The Zags swept Pepperdine last season with a 70-53 win in Malibu.
WOODEN WATCH LIST TOP 25
The John Wooden Award Watch List Midseason Top 25 was released Wednesday morning and including Gonzaga’s Kevin Pangos and Kyle Wiltjer. Pangos was on the original Top 50, but Wiltjer was an addition in the unveiling of the Top 25. With those two, Gonzaga is one of three schools (Louisville, Duke) to have multiple players on the list. When you add in Tyler Haws from BYU, the WCC is alongside the Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, SEC and ACC with at least three players in the top 25.
MAKING IT RAIN
On Thursday, the Zags drilled 12 three-pointers against San Francisco last Thursday, 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 7.2 three-pointers per game and shooting at a league-leading .399 clip. Ten players have made at least one three, and Kevin Pangos leads the team with 37, including his second five-three-pointer game of the year against San Francisco.
PANGOS LIGHTING UP THE LEAGUE
In five West Coast Conference games, Kevin Pangos has been about as good as it gets. He’s averaging 16.4 points, 5.0 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game. Not to mention, he’s shooting .593 (16-27) from behind the arc and .857 (18-21) from the free throw line.
FEW LOOKING FOR #200
Now in his 16th season at the helm of the Gonzaga basketball program, head coach Mark Few will be looking for his 200th career victory against the West Coast Conference. He has lost just 24 league games, compiling a WCC record of 199-24 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 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 .589 from the field at 277-for-470. The group has also combined to score 41.1 points per game. Karnowski is ranked 20th in the NCAA in field goal percentage and Wiltjer is ranked 53rd. Sabonis would rank at the top of the list, but does not have enough made field goals to qualify for the NCAA statistical minimums (5 made per game).
Gonzaga is one of just three teams to have two players ranked in the top 60 in the NCAA individually in field goal percentage, and would be the only team with three if Sabonis qualified.
Here’s the individual season breakdown:
Kyle Wiltjer - 109-204 (.534), 16.4 ppg
Przemek Karnowski - 85-145 (.586), 11.4 ppg
Domantas Sabonis - 62-88 (.705), 9.5 ppg
Angel Nunez - 21-33 (.636), 4.2 ppg
Follow Kevin Pangos’ road to the GU career three-point record on Twitter with #4equals3. With two more against Santa Clara on Saturday, Pangos’ total climbed to 278, the third-best all-time at GU. That leaves him just two behind Richie Frahm’s 280 and 10 behind Blake Stepp’s 288. Pangos ranks second nationally among active career three-point leaders, behind USD’ s Johnny Dee.
Junior center Przemek Karnowski is playing as confident as any point in his career during WCC play this season. He’s averaging 14.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 0.6 blocks per game in five league contests. In those games he’s shooting .705 from the field (31-44), .750 from the free throw line (9-12) and made his only career three-pointer at Portland. For context, through the first five games of the year, Karnowski averaged 8.0 points per game and shot .333 (4-12) from the free throw line. He was named the WCC player of the week after his 21-point performance against Portland.
WILTJER SCORING AT WILL
Gonzaga started the year with five different leading scorers in its first six games, but over the last 11 Kyle Wiltjer has been the top scorer seven times, including a stretch of three straight 20-point games. He’s had double digits a team-best 13 times and has a team-leading 16.4 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. In WCC play, Wiltjer has continued his steady play, averaging 15.6 points per game in league contests to go along with 5.2 rebounds per game and 1.6 assists per game.
- Needs 11 three-pointers to break Blake Stepp’s GU career record of 288
- Needs just 26 points to move into top 10 all-time in scoring at GU
- Needs just 5 assists to move into top 5 all time at GU
- Needs 6 steals to move into top 5 all time at GU
Gary Bell Jr.
- Eclipsed 1,000 points in his career vs. St. Joseph’s to become the 38th player to do so at GU and now has 1,114 points, 31st all-time at GU
- Against St. Joseph’s, moved into top 10 all-time at GU in made threes, now has 189, good for sole possession of ninth
- Needs just 15 steals to move into top 10 all-time at GU
- Tied for eighth all-time at GU in blocks with 85, one behind seventh
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 .881 with 104 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 — 3-0
2004-05 — 5-2