Gary Rings LMU's Bell With 3-Point Explosion In 88-43 Win
LOS ANGELES (AP) - No. 7 Gonzaga could do no wrong against Loyola Marymount.
Gary Bell Jr. scored 15 points, including five of Gonzaga's season-high 13 3-pointers, and the seventh-ranked Zags won 88-43 on Thursday night for their sixth straight win over the Lions.
Kelly Olynyk added 15 points, and Sam Dower and Drew Barham had 13 each for the Zags (20-2, 7-0 West Coast), ensuring coach Mark Few his 14th consecutive season with at least 20 victories. The Zags become the second team in the country to hit the 20-win plateau, Michigan reaching the magical number Wednesday.
''This allowed us to really show our depth,'' Few said.
Anthony Ireland made five 3-pointers while scoring 19 points to lead the Lions (8-13, 1-7), who have lost five straight and seven of eight.
It was the Zags' fourth consecutive blowout conference victory, and they got the rout going early as the highest-ranked opponent to visit Gersten Pavilion since being here as the No. 5 team in February 2006. They led by 28 points at halftime and gradually expanded the margin even as Few substituted liberally.
''They're a well-oiled machine,'' Ireland said. ''After a while it snowballed. Things weren't going our way possession after possession. We didn't overcome the challenges.''
Gonzaga stretched its lead to 81-34 with a 21-5 run midway through the second half. The Zags hit five 3-pointers, three by Barham, and David Stockton, son of Naismith Memorial Hall of Famer John, added a 3-pointer and two free throws.
Bell had been averaging 8.6 points and shooting just 32 percent from 3-point range, but the Zags' big men got him the ball.
''I was wide-open a lot,'' he said. ''You can't leave a shooter open. You hear the coaches and guys keep telling you to keep shooting.''
The Lions were outclassed in every category while being held to their fewest points of the season. They shot 25 percent from the field and committed 14 turnovers.
''I'm sure they were frustrated,'' Olynyk said. ''They weren't playing very well and we made it tough on them.''
The Lions' zone didn't slow down the Zags.
''Their zone was to get a breather,'' Bell said. ''They keyed on the bigs so much.''
Gonzaga shot 54 percent for the game, controlled the boards 46-31, and its bench outscored the Lions' reserves 47-4. The Zags owned a 30-10 edge in points in the paint and shot 50 percent from the free throw line.
''They're good, but that's embarrassing,'' Lions coach Max Good said. ''I've covered and covered for our inside guys, but they've got to rebound the ball.''
The Zags have won three straight since losing to then-No. 13 Butler by one point on Jan. 19.
''The Butler loss was tough, but we've bounced back and we've been improving every game,'' Olynyk said. ''Everyone played real well, the guards shot the ball well, the big men rebounded.''
They shot 57 percent from the field in the first half, when the Zags led 46-18. They made eight 3-pointers, including four straight during a 15-0 run while the Lions went 6:25 without a basket. The Lions got as close as six points when Ireland and Ashley Hamilton combined to score 10 straight points before Gonzaga cranked up its long-range shooting. Hamilton had the Lions' only basket over the final 9:52 of the half.
Seventeen NBA scouts were on hand, including ones from the Lakers and Clippers.
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