No. 3/3 Zags to Aim for Portland Season Sweep
Third-ranked Gonzaga hosts the University of Portland on Thursday night at 6 p.m. in the McCarthey Athletic Center. The game will be broadcast on KHQ and ROOT Sports.
3/3 Gonzaga (20-1, 9-0) vs. Portland (12-9, 3-6)Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015 | 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 Video: WatchESPN/TheW.tv | Live Stats | Gonzaga Notes | Portland Notes
(Live video streams are subject to blackout.)
- Last time out: Gonzaga jumped out to a big lead with a game-opening 17-5 run and never looked back on the way to a 91-60 win over Pacific at home. Five Zags scored in double figures with Gary Bell Jr. and Przemek Karnowski each scoring 13. The Zags shot 60 percent.
- GU earned its seventh 9-0 start to WCC play under Few, and looking for its sixth 10-0 start.
- The win was Gonzaga’s 13th straight overall and 14th straight over WCC opponents.
- GU has won 36 games in a row at home, the nation’s longest active home winning streak, dating back to Dec. 8, 2012, a span of 783 days.
- The Zags have also won 32 straight WCC home games, dating back to a 73-71 loss to Saint Mary’s on January 27, 2011.
- The win also made the Zags the only 20-win team in the nation for at least five days until 19-0 Kentucky goes for its 20th win also at 6 p.m. on Thursday evening.
- Kevin Pangos needs one three-pointer to break Blake Stepp’s GU career record of 288.
- Head coach Mark Few enters the game with a career record of 423-101, the NCAA all-time leader in winning percentage at .807.
- Gonzaga’s balanced scoring attack is led by Kyle Wiltjer’s 15.8 points per game. After that, five more players average between 8.5 and 12.4 points per game.
- Gonzaga is the No. 1 field goal shooting team in the nation at .533.
- The Zags are also ultra efficient in taking care of the ball ranking No. 4 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.64), No. 9 in assists per game (17.2) and No. 10 in scoring offense (81.6).
- Portland posted a 9-3 non-conference record, but has won just 3 of 9 WCC games.
- The Pilots were without leading scorer Kevin Bailey (14.1 ppg) for three WCC games. Guard Alec Wintering has picked up the load averaging a team-league-best 15.2 ppg in WCC play.
- Thomas Van Der Mars has been a force in the paint, averaging 10.8 points and 8.0 rebounds.
- The Pilots have held a +5.1 rebounding edge over opponents this season.
ABOUT THE SERIES
- Gonzaga is 93-66 overall against Portland, including wins in 36 of the last 38 meetings.
- Gonzaga has won 11 in a row at home, as well as 23 of the last 24 in The Kennel against Portland.
- Earlier this year, Gonzaga beat UP 87-75 after the Pilots had whittled a 21-point lead to five.
Gonzaga became the first NCAA Division I team to reach the 20-win plateau this season.
Gonzaga has now reached the 20-win plateau in all 16 of Mark Few’s seasons as head coach.
The overall streak of 20-win seasons is at 18, with the first two coming in Dan Monson’s two seasons. Counting three of the four seasons prior to Monson, GU 20-win achievements stretch to 21 of the last 22 seasons.
Follow Kevin Pangos’ road to the GU career three-point record on Twitter with #4equals3. With three more against Pacific last Saturday, Pangos climbed into a first-place tie with Blake Stepp’s 288, leaving the next three to put him in sole possession of the GU career record. Pangos ranks second nationally among active career three-point leaders, behind USD’ s Johnny Dee.
Gonzaga hasn’t lost at home since Dec. 8, 2012 to Illinois (85-74), a streak of 36 games and span of 783 days. The 36 games is the longest current streak in the nation and also the second-longest streak in school history. 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 after winning the final 12 in the Martin Centre.
TAKING CARE OF THE BALL
Gonzaga has been one of the best in the nation at both sharing the ball and caring for the ball. The Zags rank fourth in the NCAA in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.64. Kevin Pangos is leading the way ranking 2nd individually in the NCAA with a ratio of 3.96. Both Gonzaga and Pangos lead WCC in that category. The Zags have turned the ball over 10 or less times in 12 of 21 games.
PANGOS LEAVING HIS MARK
Senior guard Kevin Pangos continued his assault on the Gonzaga all-time top 10 lists against LMU last week and Pacific this week. He moved into a tie for first at GU in three-pointers, fifth in assists and 10th in points. See page eight for updated all-time rankings.
THE KENNEL - WCC VERSION
Gonzaga also owns a 32-game conference home winning streak that dates back to a 73-71 loss to Saint Mary’s on January 27, 2011. Of those 32 games, only four have been decided by single digits with only three decided by five points or less.
THE NATION’S BEST
When it comes to putting the ball in the basket, no team in the nation has done it at a higher rate this season than Gonzaga. The Zags have an NCAA best .533 field goal percentage thanks in large part to its big men. Freshman forward Domantas Sabonis leads the team at .727 and junior center Przemek Karnowski is shooting .612.
Gonzaga is off to the best start to a season in program history at 20-1. The previous best was a 17-1 mark from the 2012-13 season. As for league play, at 9-0 the Zags are tied for the best start through nine games. They’ve achieved an 9-0 record six previous times.
SABONIS PERFECT FROM FIELD
Earlier this year at Pepperdine, freshman Domantas Sabonis went a perfect 9-for-9 from the field. Dating back to his last field goal in GU’s previous game and his first field goal against LMU following Pepperdine, he made 11 in a row. That’s his second double-digit streak of made field goals this season. Earlier this year, he made 13 consecutive field goals over the course of nearly four games. He made his final FG attempt against UGA, then went 6-for-6 against St. John’s and 6-for-6 against Southeastern Louisiana before missing in the second half at Arizona.
Freshman Domantas Sabonis has turned up his game over the last five for Gonzaga. In that span, he’s averaging a double-double of 11.0 points and 10.0 rebounds and shooting .793 (23-for-29). He’s had at least eight rebounds in all five games, including a season-high 13 against Saint Mary’s and 12 at Pepperdine. He also scored a season-high 18 points on 9-9 shooting at PEPP.
Special thanks to Grantland college basketball writer Mark Titus for the “Low Bloc” nickname suggestion for the combo of Domantas Sabonis (Lithuanian) and Przemek Karnowski (Polish). The Zag pair has been nearly unstoppable when catching the ball in the paint. In the last nine games (all WCC contests), they are shooting a combined .733 from the field (77-for-105) and combining to grab 12.9 rebounds per game.
WILTJER SCORING AT WILL
Kentucky tranfer Kyle Wiltjer has a been a huge additon for the Zags this season, especially on the offensive end. He leads the team at 15.8 points per game, has a team high 17 double-figure scoring games and has led team in scoring 9 times. Wiltjer also posted a team season-high 32 points earlier this year against Georgia in the NIT Season Tip-Off Semifinal in New York City.
MAKING IT RAIN
- Gonzaga leads the WCC and is ranked No. 15 in the nation in 3FG% at .405.
- GU has made at least four three-pointers in every game, is averaging 7.4 per game.
- Gonzaga has made at least 10 threes in a game seven times this season.
- Ten players have made at least one three.
- Kevin Pangos leads the team with 47 threes and is shooting .470, second-best in WCC.
- A GU player has made five threes in a game four times this season (Pangos 3, Bell Jr. 1).
PANGOS LIGHTING UP THE LEAGUE
In nine West Coast Conference games, Kevin Pangos has been about as good as it gets. He’s averaging 14.4 points and 4.9 assists per game. Not to mention, he’s shooting .520 (26-50) from behind the arc. He has 44 total assists in those nine league games against just 11 turnovers, a 4:1 assist-to-turnover ratio.
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 .885 with 108 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 — 7-0
2004-05 — 5-2
All 31 Gonzaga games will be televised this season, including 16 on the ESPN family of networks. That gives Gonzaga 68 ESPN appearances in the last four seasons.