(2) Zags Hit Seattle for NCAA 2nd Round Tilt with (15) NDSU

NCAA TOURNAMENT SECOND ROUND

[2] Gonzaga (32-2) vs. [15] North Dakota State (23-9)
Friday, March 20, 2015 | 6:50 p.m. (PT) | KeyArena | Seattle
TV: TNT (Spero Dedes, Mike Gminski, Jamie Maggio)
Gonzaga IMG Radio Network: KGA 1510/TuneIn App (Tom Hudson, Matt Santangelo)

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 NCAA TOURNAMENT NOTES

  • Gonzaga is making its 17th consecutive NCAA Tournament Appearance and 18th overall.
  • The 17 straight is the fourth-longest current streak in the nation.
  • Gonzaga is 19-17 all-time in 17 previous NCAA Tournament appearances with five trips to the Sweet 16 and one trip to the Elite Eight.
  • GU is 16-15 in the NCAA Tournament under head coach Mark Few with an appearance in all 15 previous seasons of Few’s career.
  • Gonzaga has been a top-four seed five previous times (#1 once, #2 once, #3 twice, #4 once).
  • Gonzaga is 3-1 all-time in NCAA Tournament games in Seattle, Wash., with the last appearance coming in 2004.
  • Last season, Gonzaga was the No. 8 seed in San Diego, Calif., and defeated #9 Oklahoma State in the Second Round before falling to #1 Arizona in the Third Round.
  • Gonzaga is 7-2 this season against NCAA Tournament teams.

ABOUT GONZAGA

  • Head coach Mark Few enters the game with a career record of 435-102, the NCAA all-time leader in winning percentage at .810.
  • Gonzaga won its 14th WCC regular season title in the last 15 years.
  • GU appeared in the WCC title game for the 18th straight year, winning its third straight.
  • Gonzaga’s balanced scoring attack is led by WCC Newcomer of the Year Kyle Wiltjer’s 16.7 points per game. He’s among six Zags that average at least 8.2 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 (1.56), No. 6 in assists/game (16.5) and No. 9 in scoring offense (79.1).
  • GU is one of only two teams in the NCAA Tournament in the top 15 in FG% and FG% defense.
  • Earlier this year, Gonzaga set a school record with 22 consecutive victories.
  • The 32 wins ties a school record set during the 2012-13 season (32-3).
  • Gonzaga swept the WCC yearly individual awards: Kevin Pangos (Player), Gary Bell Jr. (Defender), Kyle Wiltjer (Newcomer), Mark Few (Coach).
  • Gonzaga placed three players on the All-WCC First Team (Pangos, Wiltjer, Przemek Karnowski) and three players on the Second Team (Bell Jr., Domantas Sabonis, Byron Wesley).

ABOUT THE SERIES

  • This will be the first-ever meeting between Gonzaga and North Dakota State.

ABOUT NORTH DAKOTA STATE

  • Head coach David Richman is in his first year at the helm and led the Bison to a tie for first in the Summit League with a 23-9, 12-4 mark.
  • Summit League Player of the Year Lawrence Alexander leads NDSU at 18.9 points per game including 100 made threes this year (100-227, .441). Alexander averages 38.6 min. per game.
  • AJ Jacobson is second on the team with 11.9 ppg, while five more are between 5.4 and 8.2.
  • The Bison average 64.5 points per game and give up only 61.5.
  • NDSU won the Summit League tournament with a one-point victory over South Dakota St.

A WIN WOULD...

  • Give Gonzaga a school-record 33rd win on the season.
  • Improve Gonzaga’s NCAA Tournament mark at KeyArena in Seattle to 4-1.
  • Improve Mark Few’s career NCAA record to 17-15.
  • Give Gonzaga at least one NCAA Tournament win for the seventh straight season.
  • Be the 120th of Kevin Pangos’ career (an average of 30 per season).

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).

HEATING UP

  • Gonzaga leads the WCC and is ranked No. 5 in the nation in 3FG% at .408.
  • Over the last two games, Gonzaga is 16-29 (.552) from behind the arc.
  • Over the last seven games, Gonzaga is 50-110 (.454) from behind the arc.
  • GU has made at least four three-pointers in every game, except against USD on Feb. 26.
  • Gonzaga has made at least 10 threes in a game eight times this season.
  • 11 players have made at least one three.
  • Kevin Pangos leads the team with 72 threes and is shooting .444.
  • Kyle Wiltjer is second on the team with 61 threes and leads team at .466.
  • A GU player has at least 5 threes in a game 5 times this season (Pangos 3, Bell Jr. 1, Wiltjer 1).

WESLEY WINNING
Senior guard Byron Wesley transferred to Gonzaga under the graduate-exception rule after three years at USC. In those three years, he won a combined 31 games, eclipsing that total in just one season in a Gonzaga uniform with 32. He’ll play in the NCAA Tournament for the first time.

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 in road/neutral games. Wiltjer’s split is the biggest at 19.8 points per game in road/neutral and 13.6 ppg at home. Pangos has averaged 12.6 ppg and 5.5 assists per game on the road and 10.4 ppg and 4.5 apg at home. Wesley is at 11.5 ppg on the road and 10.1 ppg at home.

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 1,776 points rank sixth, his 525 assists rank fifth and his 174 steals rank second all-time at Gonzaga.

IRONMAN
Senior point guard Kevin Pangos leads the league in minutes (1124:00) and has played more minutes than anyone at GU in the last four years. He’s been in the starting lineup in every career game except one - the first one. Pangos came off the bench in his first career game as a freshman and has started every game since. That’s 138 games played and 137 starts.

WCC TOURNAMENT DOMINATION
Kyle Wiltjer averaged 18.0 points and 9.0 rebounds while nailing 8-of-13 three pointers on the way to earning West Coast Conference Tournament Most Outstanding Player and leading his team to its third straight league championship win. Kevin Pangos and Przemek Karnowski each earned all-tournament honors as well. 

THE DEFINITION OF A STRETCH-FOUR
On a team as balanced as Gonzaga is offensively, junior Kyle Wiltjer has been the unrivaled scoring leader with his variety of offensive skills. He’s shooting 53.6% from the field, 46.6% from behind the arc and 78.8% from the free throw line, while averaging a team-best 16.7 points per game. More on Wiltjer’s scoring habits:

  • Led team in scoring 15 times
  • Team-high 27 double-figure games
  • Team-high 11 20-plus games
  • Single-game team season-high of 45 points (at Pacific)
  • Scored 20-plus in three straight games on two separate occasions

OPPONENT COMPARISON NOTES - Through 33 games

  • More assists than its opponent 31 times
  • More rebounds than its opponent 29 times
  • More or equal blocks with opponent 30 times
  • More or equal steals with opponent 18 times
  • Less or equal turnovers with its opponent 21 times
  • A higher or equal field goal percentage 31 times
  • More or equal 3FGM with its opponent 26 times
  • Shot more or equal number of FT attempts 22 times

DROPPIN’ 40
At Pacific, Kyle Wiltjer put together the best Zag scoring game in more than five decades with his 45-point effort. He knocked down 15-of-22 from the field, including 7-of-10 from behind the arc. His 45 points were the third-best in school history, and most since Frank Burgess scored a school-record 52 in 1961. It also topped Adam Morrison’s 44-point night against LMU on Feb. 18, 2006. He followed that up with a 16-point, 12-rebound double-double two nights later.

FRESHMAN FORCE
Domantas Sabonis has come onto the scene as a freshman to lead the team in rebounding at 6.9 per game. He leads the team in offensive rebounds, defensive rebounds and total rebounds. Sabonis has had at least seven rebounds in 15 of the last 19 games, and at least six in 21 of the last 25. He’s had double digits on the glass in five times this season. Comparatively in the first In the first nine games, he had more than six only four times.

DIME STATS
As a team, Gonzaga has been one of the best in the country at making the extra pass. The Zags are ranked 5th in the NCAA in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.56 and 6th in assists per game at 16.5. So far this season, the Zags have gotten an assists on 58% of their made baskets. Comparatively, Zag opponents have gotten assists on only 45% of their field goals.

MOST WINS EVER
Gonzaga’s four-year senior duo of Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr. are rewriting the records books with each victory. The GU record during their four years stands at 119-19. Against Pepperdine in Spokane, the pair became the winningest senior class in program history with their then-113th win, besting last season’s senior class win total of 112.

OFFENSE AND DEFENSE
Gonzaga is one of only two teams in the NCAA Tournament to rank in the top 15 in field goal percentage offense and field goal percentage defense. The Zags have the nation-leading mark on the offensive side at 52.4 percent (the next closest is Notre Dame at 51.0) and rank 13th on the defensive side, holding teams a paltry 38.4 FG percentage.

GETTING BACK TO DEFENSE
Against San Diego in the second-to-last game of the regular season, Gonzaga put together the best defensive effort in the history of the McCarthey Athletic Center, allowing just 39 points. That mark is also tied for the ninth-fewest points allowed in a game in GU history. The Zags held San Diego to .296 from the field, marking the sixth time this year they’ve held a team under a .300 shooting percentage.

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 .524 field goal percentage thanks in large part to its big men. Freshman forward Domantas Sabonis leads the team at .677 and junior center Przemek Karnowski is shooting .615.

NATIONAL TELEVISION
All 31 Gonzaga regular season games were televised this season, including 16 on the ESPN family of networks. The WCC Tournament is set to be aired on ESPN and ESPN2, including GU’s tilt on Saturday night on ESPN2 and Monday and Tuesday night on ESPN. That gives Gonzaga 71 ESPN appearances in the last four seasons. The NCAA Tournament will be aired nationally on CBS, TBS, TNT and TruTV.


 

 

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