Bulldogs Get First Real Taste Of Action In Exhibition Win
SPOKANE, Wash. - Eleven players played. Eleven players scored.
Gonzaga University's men's basketball team played its lone exhibition game of the season Saturday, downing NCAA Division II Northwest Nazarene University of Nampa, Idaho, 93-45.
After a somewhat sluggish start in which Gonzaga led 7-4 for 2:35 without either team scoring a point, the Bulldogs ramped up the offense and went on a 26-3 run over the next 10 minutes to end any suspense of the Crusaders coming in and pulling the upset.
Newcomer Przemek Karnowski made his Bulldog debut in impressive style, scoring 12 of his team-high 17 points in the second half and earning a place in the hearts of sold out crowd of 6,000. The 7-1, 305-pound native of Poland also added eight rebounds, one of three players with eight or more boards as the Bulldogs held a 57-35 edge on the glass.
The veterans, however, did most of the damage. Senior forward Elias Harris scored 12 points, senior Guy Landry Edi had 10 points and eight rebounds, sophomore guards Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr. had 10 and 11 points, respectively and senior guard Mike Hart came off the bench with 10 points.
Junior Same Dower joined Edi, Harris, Pangos and Bell in the starting line-up and had four points and three rebounds in 17 minutes. David Stockton had a team-high five assists and six steals to offset a 1-for-8 night from the field and six points.
When walk-on guard Rem Bakamus out of Mark Morris High in Longview, Wash., got in the game and sank one of his two free throws in the waning seconds, the crowd erupted and may have found another in a line of walk-ons who have been adored by Zag Nation throughout the years.
Head coach Mark Few liked what he saw.
"I thought we gave a pretty good effort. We were a little loose and frantic with the ball early that led to a couple of turnovers and a lot of missed opportunities around the basket. Once the first group got back in there with their second run I think they did a nice job of asserting themselves on the glass defensively and getting out running and making some shots. By and large I thought everybody did a nice job. They got in there and pretty much did what we asked them to do," the 14th-year head coach said.
The Bulldogs shut down the Crusaders from the perimeter, which Few said was one of their strengths last year and something the Bulldogs wanted to focus on defensively.
"Last year this team liked to shoot a lot of threes. They didn't have any in the first half and they had two in the second half. That's what we were primarily focused on defensively. Offensively we wanted to get the ball going up and down, spread them out a little bit and make the simple play. For the most part we did that," Few said of his assessment of both ends of the court.
NNU went 2-for-15 from 3-point range and held UCLA transfer Kenny Jones to a 4-for-22 night from the field. Jordan Nicolas took game-high scoring honors with 18 points, the lone Crusader in double-digits.
In addition to Karnowski, redshirt freshman Kyle Dranginis and transfer Drew Barham got their first taste of action in a live situation. Few thought all three responded well.
"It was an interesting game for Schim (Karnowski). There were some undersized guys he had to chase around out there so that was probably a little different than he's use to. Down the stretch he settled into the post, our guys did a good job of finding him and he played to his strengths. He has great hands and is a great passer, although he didn't show that much tonight but you'll get to see that.
"Kyle was solid. That's what Kyle is. He can play a lot of the parts of the game very well. Drew, those shots will drop. He's a very, very good shooter. He missed a couple of open looks tonight but those will go," Few said of the newcomers.
Karnowski went 7-for-14 from the field and 3-for-4 from the free throw line. Dranginis had nine points and five rebounds, while Barham had three points on a 1-of-7 night from the field, including 1-of-6 from 3-point range.
Few said Bell, who played just five minutes the second half, suffered a cramp and Harris, who has been hampered most of fall camp with a groin pull, was sat down the second half just as a precaution.
"Elias just started practicing this week, so we got him for a half and shut him down. We could have put Gary back in but just decided not to," Few said.
It was announced prior to the game junior forward Kelly Olynyk will not participate in any games through Nov. 21 as a result of a violation of the Student Code of Conduct.
Gonzaga's student-athletes are students first, and are required to follow all tenets of the Student Code of Conduct. The same rules and procedures are applied to all students in conduct and disciplinary matters.
Consistent with University policy regarding matters involving student discipline, no further comments regarding the violation or disciplinary action will be forthcoming. This is an internal University matter, and we request the student's privacy be respected.
The next action for the Bulldogs will be the regular-season opener Nov. 9 when Southern Utah University comes to the McCarthey Athletic Center, the first of three straight home games for the Bulldogs to open the season.
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