No. 3/3 Zags Survive Pepperdine, 78-76
MALIBU, Calif. (AP) — Kyle Wiltjer scored 19 of his 24 points in the second half when No. 3 Gonzaga survived a scare before beating Pepperdine 78-76 Thursday night for its 27th straight victory over the Waves.
Freshman Domantas Sabonis had 18 points and a career-high 12 rebounds for the Zags (17-1, 6-0 West Coast) in a game delayed 33 minutes after they were late arriving because of a traffic accident that caused lengthy delays on Pacific Coast Highway. Sabonis was a career-best 9 of 9 from the field.
Gonzaga coach Mark Few earned his 200th league win against 24 losses.
Jett Raines led four players in double figures with a career-high 22 points for the Waves (11-6, 4-2), who were off to their best league start since 2002 despite not having any seniors.
Stacy Davis added 21 points after not starting as he usually does.
The Zags arrived just 25 minutes before the scheduled tipoff, which was pushed back to give them time to warm up. They struggled at the free throw line, going just 14 of 33.
Pepperdine closed to 69-68 on a layup by Davis after Wiltjer missed a layup and Davis snagged the defensive rebound. Sabonis scored before Raines’ layup again drew the Waves within one.
Gonzaga scored four in a row to lead 75-70, although Gary Bell Jr. and former USC player Byron Wesley each made just 1 of 2 free throws.
A basket by Atif Russell got the Waves within three before Kevin Pangos missed a pair of free throws with 21 seconds left. After a timeout, the Waves fouled Pangos, with their fans taunting him about an earlier airball. He made both to keep Gonzaga ahead, 77-72.
Davis powered to the basket for a layup and drew the foul, with his three-point play leaving the Waves trailing 77-75. They were forced to foul Wiltjer, who made 1 of 2.
Jeremy Major went to the line with 1 second left, making the first and missing the second, and the Zags secured the rebound as time expired.
The Waves opened the second half on a 15-7 run, including seven in a row, to close within one point three times. Raines had eight points and Davis, seven, while the 7-foot-1 Przemek Karnowski sat down with his third foul, leaving the middle open for layups.
The Zags shot 70 percent from the floor in the first half, leading 40-31 at the break. Sabonis made all six of his field goal attempts, scoring eight straight points midway through the half that gave Gonzaga its largest lead of 15 points.
Gonzaga: The Zags are staying near Los Angeles International Airport, about 24 miles from Malibu along the four-lane Pacific Coast Highway. …
Pepperdine: G Amadi Udenyi, the Waves’ assist leader, didn’t play because of a hamstring injury. … It was the fifth time a top-3 team in the AP rankings played at Firestone Fieldhouse.
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