No. 9/8 MBB Hosts Washington State at Spokane Arena
 9/8 Gonzaga (7-1) vs. Washington State (4-4)

Wednesday, Dec. 10, 2014 | 8:00 p.m. (PT) | Spokane Arena (11,736) | Spokane, Wash.
TV: ESPNU (Greg Heister, Stan Heath)
Gonzaga IMG Radio Network: KGA 1510/Sirius XM Ch. 91 (Tom Hudson, Matt Santangelo)

Watch ESPN  |  Live Stats  |  Gonzaga Notes  |  Washington State Notes  

STORY LINES

  • Only 77 miles separate the campuses of Gonzaga and Washington State.
  • Last time out: Gonzaga took its first loss of the season at No. 3/3 Arizona in a 66-63 overtime affair. The Zags had two shots at the end of regulation but were unable to capitalize, snapping their nine-game regular season win streak.
  • Senior guard Kevin Pangos holds fond memories against WSU: as a freshman he made nine threes to tie a school record, and as a sophomore he made the winning bucket in Pullman with two seconds left.
  • GU is currently on a 30-game home win streak, the second-longest in the nation.

ABOUT GONZAGA

  • Head coach Mark Few enters the game with a career record of 410-101, the all-time leader in winning percentage at .802.
  • Gonzaga is 7-0 for the second time in three years (nine straight wins to open 2012-13) and third time under Mark Few before losing at Arizona.
  • Offensively, Gonzaga has been one of the most efficient in the nation, ranking third in the NCAA in assists per game at 19.9 and third in field goal percentage at .545.

ABOUT WASHINGTON STATE

  • First-year head coach Ernie Kent leads the Cougars with a career-record of 325-254 (.561) before taking the job. He spent six seasons at Saint Mary’s and 13 at Oregon.
  • Washington State is 4-4 overall, but has won three of their last four games and come in averaging nearly eight three-pointers per game.
  • On the floor, WSU is led by guard DaVonte Lacy, who is a threat from deep with 26 made threes this season and averages 18.5 points per game. He ranks third in the Pac-12 in scoring, first in 3FGM and ninth in FT percentage (.824). In his last game against UT-San Antonio, Lacy drilled eight threes and scored 31 points (the second 31-point effort in last three games).

ABOUT THE SERIES

  • Gonzaga is 50-98 all-time against Washington State, but has dominated the rivalry as of late, winning 12 of the last 15 meetings and the last three in a row.
  • The last time the two teams have met at Spokane Arena, a “home” game for WSU resulted in a 73-63 Cougar win on Nov. 29, 1999.
  • The two teams squared off at the McCarthey Center last season, GU won 90-74.

PANGOS IS COUG KRYPTONITE
In three career games against Washington State, Kevin Pangos has been nothing short of a massive thorn in the WSU side. The Zags have won all three, Pangos has averaged 22.7 points and 4.7 assists per game and shot a combined .577 (15-26) from three and .882 (15-17) from the FT line. In his first career start as a freshman in 2011 (only second career game), Pangos hit nine threes at the McCarthey Center to tie Dan Dickau’s school record and lead Gonzaga to an 89-81 win. In 2012, he scored just eight points, but his driving lay-in with two seconds left sank the Cougars in Pullman 71-69. And last season, he poured in 27 points at McCarthey, including five threes on the way to a 90-74 win.

SEEING DOUBLE
With Przemek Karnowski’s double-double of 10 points and 11 rebounds, Gonzaga now has four double-doubles by four different players this season. Here’s the breakdown:
Przemek Karnowski - 10 pts., 11 reb. at Arizona (12/6/14)
Angel Nunez - 24 pts., 11 reb. vs. St. Thomas Aquinas (11/22/14)
Kyle Wiltjer - 17 pts., 11 reb. vs. St. Thomas Aquinas (11/22/14)
Domantas Sabonis - 10 pts., 11 reb. vs. St. Joseph’s (11/19/14)

SABONIS’ FG STREAK ENDS
Freshman Domantas Sabonis saw his streak of 13 consecutive field goals come to an end against Arizona. He went nearly four games without missing. He made his final FG attempt against UGA, then went 6-for-6 against St. John’s and 6-for-6 against Southeastern Louisiana before missing in the second half at Arizona. His 36 field goals on the season don’t qualify him for NCAA stat rankings, but his .766 field goal percentage would rank first in the league and in the top five nationally.

FUN WHILE IT LASTED 
Kevin Pangos played 118 minutes of game action and dished out 27 assists before his first turnover this season. He’s ranked third in the NCAA and first in the WCC with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 8.2. He’s averaging 5.9 assists per game, well above his career average of 3.4.

GONZAGA’S PRESCRIPTION? MORE SENIORS
Gonzaga’s three seniors in the starting lineup have shown to make a huge difference when they are on the floor. Gary Bell Jr., Kevin Pangos and Byron Wesley have turned in monstrous plus/minus numbers through eight games. When Bell is on the floor GU is +157, Pangos is +155 and Wesley is +153. Coincidentally, those three lead the team in minutes played per game with Pangos at 31.5, Wesley at 27.4 and Bell Jr. at 26.4.

#4EQUALS3
Follow Kevin Pangos’ road to the GU career three-point record on Twitter with #4equals3. With one three against Arizona, Pangos’ total climbed to 254, the third-best all-time at GU. That leaves him 26 behind Richie Frahm’s 280 and 34 behind Blake Stepp’s 288. Pangos also ranks second nationally among active career three-point leaders, only behind conference rival Johnny Dee of San Diego.

INSTANT IMPACT
Gonzaga’s group of newcomers and transfers has not only brought depth and balance, but they’ve been prolific at putting the ball in the basket. First-year GU players have combined to make up 51.0% of the offense this season, led by Kentucky transfer Kyle Wiltjer’s team-leading 15.9 points per game. USC transfer Byron Wesley is averaging 11.1 points per game and freshman Domantas Sabonis is at 11.8.

‘K-WILTJ’ POURING IT ON
It didn’t take Kyle Wiltjer long to show his ability to fill it up in a Gonzaga uniform. He’s led the team in scoring a team-best four times, including 15 his last time out against Arizona. Earlier this year against Georgia, Wiltjer knocked down 14-of-26 shots on the way to a career-high 32 points. His previous career-high of 26 came in a Kentucky uniform against Ole Miss in 2013. And even though he’s known for his ability to shoot the three, 13 of his 14 field goals came from inside the arc vs. UGA.

DOMANTAS DOMINATING
Freshman Domantas Sabonis has wasted no time showing national pundits that he’s a rookie with no ceiling. Through eight games, reached double-digit points six times. He recorded his first double-double (10p-11r vs. St. Joe’s), and is leading the team in field goal percentage at .766 (36-47), second on the team in rebounding at 6.1 per game and second in free throw shooting at .815 (22-27). He’s also the son of Naismith Hall of Famer and former Portland Trail Blazer Arvydas Sabonis.

SHARING IS CARING
Through eight games, Gonzaga has been one of the best in the nation at both sharing the ball and caring for the ball. The Zags rank in the top 10 in assists per game at 18.8 and assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.55, while ranking in the top 30 in fewest turnovers per game. Kevin Pangos leads with 47 assists, and Byron Wesley has 21.

MAKING IT RAIN
Gonzaga is averaging 7.25 three-pointers per game so far this season and is shooting at a .374 clip (58-155). Nine players have made at least one three, and Gary Bell Jr. leads the team with 18, including his five-three-pointer outburst against St. Joseph’s Wednesday, Nov. 19. The Bulldogs have made at least four three-pointers in every game, including opening the season with three straight 10-three-pointer games.

SUFFOCATING DEFENSE
It isn’t only Gonzaga’s 84.9 points per game on offense that’s been impressive, its been the 59.5 points per game allowed on defense. Only three of eight opponents have crossed the 60-point mark. The Zags have held opponents to .370 from the field, and .305 from behind the arc. GU is also keeping the clamps down on defense, forcing an opponent assist-to-turnover ratio of 0.6, forcing 13.6 turnovers and only allowing 8.8 assists per game.

WINDEX
Gonzaga has cleaned up on the glass through eight games, holding a rebounding margin of +11.8, the fifth-best mark in the NCAA. Collectively, Gonzaga is averaging 41.1 rebounds per game including 13.0 offensive boards per game. Opponents, meanwhile, averaging just 29.0 total rebounds per game. Center Przemek Karnowski leads the Zags at 7.0 rebounds per game after a double-double against Arizona.

DEPTH FINDER

  • Five players average at least 10.5 points per game, led by Wiltjer’s 15.9
  • Five different leading scorers in eight games
  • At least four players in double figures five times in eight games
  • Ten players average at least in 12.0 minutes per game (including the injured Josh Perkins)
  • Seven players average at least 2.9 rebounds per game
  • Nine different players have made a three-pointer this season

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 34 three-pointers to break Blake Stepp’s GU career record of 288
  • Needs just 56 points to move into top 10 all-time in scoring at GU
  • Needs just 46 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 1,054 points, 34th all-time at GU.
  • Against St. Joseph’s, moved into top 10 all-time at GU in made threes, now has 175
  • Needs just 21 steals to move into top 10 all-time at GU

Przemek Karnowski

  • Against St. Thomas Aquinas, moved into tie for 10th all-time at GU in blocks with 77

FEW IN DECEMBER
During Mark Few’s 16 years at the helm of the Gonzaga program, he’s compiled an NCAA record .804 winning percentage. In the month of December, he’s compiled a mark of .681 with 77 wins and 36 losses. Over the last four seasons, the Zags are 19-5 (.792) in December. Here’s how it breaks down by year:

1999-00 — 5-5 2005-06 — 6-2 2010-11 — 5-3
2000-01 — 3-3 2006-07 — 2-4 2011-12 — 6-2
2001-02 — 8-0 2007-08 — 4-3 2012-13 — 6-1
2002-03 — 5-3 2008-09 — 2-4 2013-14 — 6-1
2003-04 — 6-1 2009-10 — 5-2 2014-15 — 1-1
2004-05 — 7-1

PANGOS ON WATCH LISTS
Senior guard Kevin Pangos was named to the 50-player Naismith Award Watch List this week. He’s also on the John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50, Bob Cousy Award Watch List and the Lute Olson Award Watch List. 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.

PERKINS SIDELINED INDEFINITELY
After taking a blow to the face from a Georgia defender’s leg, reserve point guard Josh Perkins suffered a broken jaw, which is now wired shut. He is not experiencing concussion symptoms, but there is no timetable for his return.


 

 

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