High Octane Offense Carries Zags Past South Dakota 96-58
SPOKANE, Wash. - Elias Harris scored 16 points and pulled down a career-high 18 rebounds and freshman Przemek Karnowski scored 14 of his game-high 20 points in the second half to lead No. 19 Gonzaga to a 96-58 win over South Dakota at McCarthey Athletic Center in front of 6,000 fans Sunday.
Gary Bell had 16 points and six rebounds, Sam Dower chipped in with 12 points and nine rebounds and Kevin Pangos had 10 points and six assists as the Zags (3-0) had six players in double figures for the second this young season.
Gonzaga will head to the Old Spice Clark in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., near Orlando for the Old Spice Classic and a Thanksgiving Day opener against Clemson University. The Bulldogs won the Old Spice Classic in their inaugural appearance in November of 2008.
The Bulldogs won the battle of the boards 58-24 Sunday, and head coach Mark Few said it all began with Harris.
"It started with Elias," Few said. "I thought he had a great approach tonight and he was trying to get everyone that was out there. If we would have left him out there longer he easily could have had a 20-plus rebound night. It was good to see."
Harris' previous high was 16 on two occasions, the most recent last season when he hauled in 16 against BYU.
Gonzaga had its best shooting night of the season and have been better than 50 percent from the field in all three outings. The Zags connected on 42-of-76 shots for 55.3 percent, including 8-for-23 from 3-point range. Gonzaga is shooting 54.3 percent from the field and 44.2 percent from 3-point range, the Bulldogs with 23 treys in the first three games.
The 38-point margin of victory was the third lopsided score in as many outings this season. Gonzaga downed Southern Utah in the season opener by 38 points and routed West Virginia Monday night by 34 points. Gonzaga is winning by an average of 36.7 points/game.
The Bulldogs didn't let up offensively Sunday.
"The difference with this game was the shots came easy," Few explained. "There was a little bit of turning some down here and there and not taking the first shot available which is hard. All the guys I put out there can score pretty easily and by and large we did a good job. We probably turned it over more than we needed to, but the guys did a nice job pushing the pace and getting the shots we wanted."
South Dakota kept it within arm's reach in the first half, trailing just 22-18 with 8:02 left, but a 22-7 run put the Bulldogs up 44-25. The Coyotes later scored the final four points of the half to go into the break trailing 46-31.
Gonzaga built its lead to 70-45 by the midway point of the second half and cruised to the easy victory from there, limiting the Coyotes to just 13 points the rest of the way.
Few said the Old Spice Classic will be a good barometer on which to gauge this year's edition of the Zags.
"We will find out a lot about ourselves at this tournament. We will play a variety of different schemes from the different teams. We might play a slow down possession or a pressure defense; we might run or not run. Teams might try to trap us. That is why these preseason tournaments are good," he said.
Gonzaga opens against Clemson on Thanksgiving Day, face either UTEP or Oklahoma on Friday and then have a placing game on Sunday against West Virginia, Marist, Vanderbilt or Davidson who are the four teams in the other half of the bracket. The Old Spice Classic takes Saturday off.
Few knows his club can't take Clemson lightly.
"They are very athletic and have two very good front line players that are very experienced," Few said of the Tigers. "Brad Brownell has done a good job there and he is a solid coach. They play a slower tempo and have kept the scores down over the years and we will have to be prepared for a grinder. Something along the lines of the athleticism we saw with West Virginia."
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