Zags Take on BYU in WCC Title Game

7/7 Gonzaga (31-2) vs. BYU (25-8)
Tuesday, March 10, 2015 | 6 p.m. (PT) | Orleans Arena | Las Vegas, Nev.
TV: ESPN (Dave Pasch, Sean Farnham, Jeff Goodman)
Gonzaga IMG Radio Network: KGA 1510/TuneIn App (Tom Hudson, Matt Santangelo)

WatchESPN  |  Live Stats  |  Gonzaga Notes  |  BYU Notes

 

STORY LINES

  • Last time out: Byron Wesley led the way with 25 points, four steals and three assists to help Gonzaga run away from Pepperdine in the WCC Semifinals, 79-61. Kyle Wiltjer added 17 points and nine rebounds, and Przemek Karnowski had 13 points and six boards.
  • Gonzaga entered as the No. 1 seed after clinching 14th regular season title in last 15 years.
  • Gonzaga is 46-15 all-time in the WCC Tournament with 17 appearances in the finals, winning 12 of those and 13 overall.
  • Gonzaga will play in its 18th straight WCC Tournament final.
  • Gonzaga has played in the final in each of Mark Few’s previous 15 seasons, winning 11 times.
  • Gonzaga has a eight-game WCC Tournament winning streak.

ABOUT GONZAGA

  • Head coach Mark Few enters the game with a career record of 434-102, the NCAA all-time leader in winning percentage at .810.
  • Gonzaga’s balanced scoring attack is led by WCC Newcomer of the Year Kyle Wiltjer’s 16.6 points per game. He’s among six Zags that average at least 8.0 ppg.
  • Gonzaga is ranked No. 1 in field goal shooting in the nation at .524 (next closest is .510).
  • The Zags rank No. 5 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.55), No. 9 in assists/game (16.5) and No. 13 in scoring offense (78.8).
  • Gonzaga is the only team in the NCAA in the top 15 of both FG% offense and FG% defense.

ABOUT BYU

  • Head coach Dave Rose is second all-time at BYU in career wins with a record of 257-86, which also ranks him 9th all-time in the NCAA in winning percentage at .749.
  • The 25-8 Cougars have won eight in a row, including their last five games away from home
  • Tyler Haws is averaging a league-leading 22.1 points per game.
  • Anson Winder (13.1), Chase Fischer (13.1) and Kyle Collinsworth (13.5) all average 13.0 ppg.
  • Collinsworth has had an NCAA record six triple-doubles this year, including one in the WCC Semifinal win over Portland.

ABOUT THE SERIES

  • Gonzaga is 7-4 all-time against BYU — 2-2 in Provo, 3-1 in Spokane and 2-1 on neutral floors.
  • The teams split their two meetings this season, each winning on the road.
  • GU is 2-0 vs. BYU in the WCC Tournament, beating the Cougars in last year’s final 75-64.


WCC TOURNAMENT HISTORY

  • Gonzaga is 46-15 all-time in the WCC Tournament with 13 titles and 21 finals appearances.
  • Mark Few is 29-4 all-time in WCC Tournament with title-game appearances in all 16 seasons.
  • Senior’s Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr. are 8-1 in the WCC tournament with two titles.
  • Pangos is averaging 11.0 points and 2.9 assists, while Bell Jr. is averaging 9.3 ppg and 1.9 apg in their careers in the league tournament.

30 WINS
With the WCC quarterfinal victory against San Francisco, Gonzaga topped the 30-win plateau for just the second time in school history. The Zags had finished a season with 29 three previous times, with the only other 30-win season coming two years ago (32-3). GU was the second team in the country to top 30 wins this season (Kentucky).

AWARD WATCH
Both Kevin Pangos and Kyle Wiltjer were named James H. Naismith Award semifinalists. That marked the only pair of teammates on the list. Wiltjer was also named to the 15-player Wooden Award ballot on Friday. Pangos, who had made the Wooden Late Season Top 20, missed the cut when pared to 15.

Pangos was also named one of five finalists for the Bob Cousy Award given to the nation’s top point guard. Wiltjer was one of five finalists for the Karl Malone Award given to the nation’s top power forward.

WCC AWARDS SWEEP
Gonzaga dominated the West Coast Conference awards that were announced this week by the league office. Kevin Pangos was named the Player of the Year, Mark Few was the Coach of the Year, Gary Bell Jr. was the Defender of the Year and Kyle Wiltjer was the Newcomer of the Year. It was third time in GU history that the Zags had a clean sweep of the major individual awards from the league.

ALL-WCC
In addition to the major awards, Gonzaga also had a slew of players on the all-conference teams. Of the 15 on the First and Second Teams, six were Zags. Kevin Pangos, Kyle Wiltjer and Przemek Karnowski were named First Team All-WCC, while Domantas Sabonis, Gary Bell Jr. and Byron Wesley earned Second Team All-WCC honors. Sabonis was also named to the five-player WCC All-Freshman Team.

MOUNTAIN MAN
Earlier this year, ESPN’s Seth Greenberg called Przemek Karnowski “a mountian masquerading as a man.” In the WCC quarterfinal against San Francisco, he was just that, scoring a career-high 24 points on 10-14 shooting with four rebounds and two blocks. His previous career-high was 22, set twice, including against Washington State earlier this season. Karnowski added 13 points and six rebounds in the semifinal win over Pepperdine.

ROAD WARRIORS
It’s been the veteran experience of Kyle Wiltjer, Kevin Pangos and Byron Wesley that have carried the Zags in games away from The Kennel. All three are averaging higher point totals on road or neutral floors. Wiltjer’s split is the biggest at 19.9 points per game in road/neutral and 13.6 ppg at home. Pangos has averaged 12.4 ppg and 5.5 assists per game on the road and 10.4 ppg and 4.5 apg at home. Wesley is at 12.0 ppg on the road and 10.1 ppg at home.

WCC REGULAR SEASON CHAMPS
Just as the league’s coaches had predicted at the season’s start, Gonzaga took the outright regular season crown. It was the Zags’ third title in a row, 14th in the last 15 years, 16th in the last 18 years, and 18th overall. Fourteen have come under with head coach Mark Few at the helm.

PANGOS IS EVERYWHERE
With his 500th assist at Saint Mary’s on Feb. 21, Kevin Pangos became the only player in school history to amass at least 1,700 points, 500 assists and 150 steals. His 1,760 points rank sixth, his 519 assists rank fifth and his 173 steals rank second all-time at Gonzaga.


 

 

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