Zags Return Home to Face Southeastern Louisiana

9/8 Gonzaga (6-0) vs. Southeastern Louisiana (2-5)

Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2014  |  6:00 p.m. (PT) |  McCarthey Athletic Center (6,000)  |  Spokane, Wash.

TV:  KHQ/ROOT Sports (Greg Heister, Richard Fox, Dan Dickau)

Gonzaga IMG Radio Network: KGA 1510/Sirius XM Ch. 84 (Tom Hudson, Matt Santangelo)

Live Stats  |  Gonzaga Notes  |  Southeastern Louisiana Notes

 

 

STORY LINES

  • Last time out: Gonzaga captured the NIT Season Tip-Off title with a 73-66 win over St. John’s at Madison Square Garden. Domantis Sabonis led the team with 14 points while Kevin Pangos played all 40 minutes, setting a season high with nine assists.
  • Gonzaga is on a eight-game regular-season win streak (last regular season loss, 69-66 at San Diego, Feb. 22).
  • GU is currently on a 29-game home win streak, the second-longest in the nation. The last two times they’ve played in McCarthey Athletic Center, they’ve set the building’s highest margin of victory (+52 on Nov. 19 vs. Saint Joseph’s, +54 on Nov. 22 vs. St. Thomas Aquinas).
  • The Zags are third in the nation with a 54.8 field goal percentage and 20.2 assists per game. They’re also among the top five in assist-turnover ratio (5th; 1.78), scoring margin (4th, 31.2) and points per game (5th; 90.0).

 

ABOUT GONZAGA

  • Head coach Mark Few enters the game with a career record of 409-100, the all-time leader in winning percentage at .804.
  • Gonzaga is 6-0 for the second time in three years (nine straight wins to open 2012-13). GU has been 6-0 three previous times and twice under Mark Few.
  • Through it’s first six games, Gonzaga’s depth has shown its teeth, with five players averaging double figures and four more averaging at least 5.0 per game.
  • Gonzaga’s defense has been stifling to opposing teams, limiting them to .343 from the field.

 

ABOUT SOUTHEASTERN LOUISIANA

  • Southeastern Louisiana most recently beat Langston 92-80 on Nov. 30 to wrap up the Tulane Tournament. The Lions went 1-1 during the competition, losing 71-61 at Tulane two days prior.
  • SLU’s two wins have both been by double-digits (20-pt. victory Nov. 26 vs. Tennessee Tech).
  • Four players average double figures, led by guard Zay Jackson’s 15.7 per game.
  • Southeastern Louisiana plays in the Southland Conference.

 

ABOUT THE SERIES - BULLDOGS VS. LIONS

  • This game is the first ever matchup between Southeastern Louisiana and Gonzaga.

 

I-NIT TO WIN IT

Gonzaga won the NIT Season Tip-Off last Friday, dispatching St. John’s 73-66 at Madison Square Garden Nov. 28. Kevin Pangos brought home MVP honors after tallying 33 points, 15 assists, and two season highs (22 pts. Nov. 26, 9 asts. Nov. 28) in the two games. Also making the All-Tournament Team were Domantas Sabonis and Kyle Wiltjer.

 

NCAA’s ONLY

The Zags are the only team in the nation ranked in the top 10 in both field goal percentage (54.8) and field percentage defense (34.3). The NCAA released stat rankings for the first time this season, and Gonzaga is ranked in the top 10 in 10 categories. See the right-hand column on this page for the full breakdown of Gonzaga in the NCAA and West Coast Conference stat rankings.

 

WCC PLAYER OF THE WEEK

Thanks to his MVP performance in Madison Square Garden last week, Pangos earned WCC Player of the Week honors December 1. He last earned conference Player of the Week Dec. 2, 2013, after making the All-Tournament Team of the Maui Invitational. No other Zag has earned the award so far this season.

 

MAKING IT RAIN

Gonzaga is averaging 7.5 three-pointers per game so far this season and is shooting at a .395 clip (45-114). Eight players have made at least one three, and Gary Bell Jr. leads the team with 14, including his five-three-pointer outburst against St. Joseph’s Wednesday, Nov. 19.

 

SUFFOCATING DEFENSE

It isn’t only Gonzaga’s 90.0 points per game on offense that’s been impressive, its been the 58.8 points per game allowed on defense. The Zags have held opponents to .343 from the field, and .294 from behind the arc. GU has forced 83 turnovers through six games, collected 45 steals and swatted away 23 shots.

 

WINDEX

Gonzaga has cleaned up on the glass through six games, holding an average of +12.8 on the boards. Collectively, the Zags have scooped up 77 offensive rebounds and 183 defensive rebounds to average 43.3 total boards per game. Conversely, their opponents are 69-111-30.0 on the glass. Newcomer Domantas Sabonis leads the way, averaging 6.8, while Przemek Karnowski is next with 6.0 per game, and Byron Wesley hauls in 5.5 a contest.

 

BENCH STRENGTH

Led by freshman Domantas Sabonis, Gonzaga’s bench has proven to be a force. It has combined to score 187 points in six games with 50 against St. Thomas Aquinas Nov. 22. Sabonis alone has accounted for 40% of the bench production, scoring 74 of the 187.

 

DOMANTAS DOMINATING

Freshman Domantas Sabonis has wasted no time showing national pundits that he’s a rookie with no ceiling. Through six games, he’s one of only two Gonzaga players to reach double-digit points five times. He recorded his first double-double (10p-11r vs. St. Joe’s), and leads the team in rebounding at 6.8 per game. He’s also the son of NBA Hall of Famer Arvydas Sabonis.

 

#4EQUALS3

Follow Pangos’ road to the GU career three-point record on Twitter with #4equals3. With three during the NIT Season Tip-Off championship rounds, he sits in fourth at 251, one behind Matt Santangelo’s 252, 29 behind Richie Frahm’s 280 and 37 behind Blake Stepp’s 288.

 

DEPTH FINDER

Gonzaga has shown its depth so far this season with at eight different players scoring in five of the games - 10 scoring in games one, three and four; 9 in game two;  and 8 in game five. The Zags also have seven players averaging at least 19.5 minutes a game.

 

DOUBLE DIGITS X5

Gonzaga has six players averaging at least 10.0 points per game, led by Wiltjer’s 20.0. In four of the first six games, GU has had at least five players in double figures, including five different leading scorers, and no player leading in consecutive games.

 

NATIONAL TELEVISION

All 31 Gonzaga games will be televised this season, including 16 on the ESPN family of networks. That gives Gonzaga 68 ESPN appearances in the last four seasons.

 

CHASING MILESTONES

Kevin Pangos

  • Needs 38 three-pointers to break Blake Stepp’s GU career record of 288
  • Needs just 64 points to move into top 10 all-time in scoring at GU
  • Needs just 52 assists to move into top 5 all time at GU
  • Needs 20 steals to move into top 5 all time at GU

Gary Bell Jr.

  • Eclipsed 1,000 points in his career vs. St. Joseph’s to become the 38th player to do so at GU and now has 1,042 points, 34th all-time at GU.
  • Against St. Joseph’s, moved into top 10 all-time at GU in made threes with174
  • Needs just 22 steals to move into top 10 all-time at GU

Przemek Karnowski

  • Against St. Thomas Aquinas, moved into tie for10th all-time at GU in blocks with 77

 

THE KENNEL

Gonzaga hasn’t lost at home since Dec. 8, 2012 to Illinois (85-74), a streak of 29 games and span of 719 days. The 29 games is the second-longest current streak in the nation, behind only Duke’s 35-game win streak. It is tied for the third-longest streak in GU history with a 29-gamer from 2000-03. The school record is 50 from 2003-2007, which includes the McCarthey Athletic Center opening in 2004. The Zags won their first 38 games in their new building. The 10th anniversary of the first game played in the MAC was on Nov. 19, 2004, a 98-80 win over Portland State.

 

PANGOS ON WATCH LISTS

Senior guard Kevin Pangos was named to the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50, Bob Cousy Award Watch List and the Lute Olson Award Watch List prior to the start of the season. He is one of 37 players named to the Cousy list, an award given to the nation’s top collegiate point guard. He is one of 25 players named to the Olson list, an award given to the player of the year in college basketball.

 

FRESHMAN TALENT

Led by top-100 recruit Josh Perkins from Huntington (W.Va.) Prep and Domantas Sabonis, the son of NBA Hall of Famer Arvydas Sabonis, this GU class brings in some serious talent. Silas Melson and Bryan Alberts round the class into one of the most highly-touted in Gonzaga basketball history.

Perkins, originally from Denver, Colo., helped Huntington Prep reach a No. 3 national high school ranking last season on the way to a 29-5 record.

Sabonis, one of the youngest ever to play in some of the top leagues in Spain, hails from Lithuania. He brings in international experience from playing with his native country in FIBA U-18 and U-16 tournaments where he averaged better than a double-double.

Melson, an Oregon state player of the year in the 5A classification, comes to Gonzaga after averaging 24.3 points per game as a senior on the way to a second consecutive state 5A championship.

Alberts, a 6-5 combo guard, averaged double digits throughout his final three years of high school and helped his team to the Division V state title in California as a sophomore.

 

HIGH-IMPACT TRANSFERS

Kentucky transfer Kyle Wiltjer will be back on the court after sitting out last season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules. Wiltjer, a redshirt junior, played a pivotal role on a national-championship squad at Kentucky, being named the SEC Sixth Man of the Year.

Byron Wesley, the leading scorer as a junior at USC last season, averaged 17.8 points per game and comes to Gonzaga immediately eligible after finishing his undergrad degree prior to transferring.

Eric McClellan, who transferred to Gonzaga this fall from Vanderbilt, will be eligible as a redshirt junior on Jan. 6, after satisfying NCAA transfer rules. In 12 games last year for the Commodores, McClellan put up 14.3 points per game to lead the team.

 

Jesse Wade Signs NLI

Point guard Jesse Wade signed a national letter of intent to play basketball for Gonzaga, head coach Mark Few announced on Wednesday, November 12th. Wade, a 6-1, 175-pounder from Kaysville, Utah, will join the Bulldogs for the 2017-18 season after completing his two-year LDS mission upon high school graduation. He ranks as the No. 1 recruit in the state of Utah by both ESPN.com and 247sports.com. Known as one of the top scoring point guards in the country, Wade put up 17.6 points per game to go along with 3.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 2.4 steals per game as a junior.

 

ZAGS PICKED 13TH IN PRESEASON POLLS

 

Gonzaga was tabbed 13th in the both the USA Today Coaches and Associated Press Preseason polls announced in recent weeks. Gonzaga’s 13th-place ranking marks the highest preseason rank for the team in the Coaches Poll since entering the 2010-11 season ranked 12th. In the AP poll, the ranking is the fourth-highest to start a season and highest since being 12th to start the 2010-11 season. GU’s 2005-06 team started eighth and the 2008-09 team started 10th. It also marks the 11th time in team history for the Zags to start the season in the top 25 of the AP poll. The Zags are currently 9th in the AP Poll and 8th in the USA Today Coach’s Poll.


 

 

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