No. 9/8 MBB to Pauley Pavilion for Tilt with UCLA
 9/8 Gonzaga (8-1) vs. UCLA (8-2)

Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014 | 7:00 p.m. (PT) | Pauley Pavilion (13,800) | Los Angeles, Calif.
TV: ESPN2 (Dave Pasch, Dick Vitale)
Gonzaga IMG Radio Network: KGA 1510/TuneIn App (Tom Hudson, Matt Santangelo)

Watch ESPN  |  Live Stats  |  Gonzaga Notes  |  UCLA Notes

STORY LINES

  • UCLA is Gonzaga’s third consecutive Pac-12 opponent (L vs. Arizona, W vs. Washington State).
  • Last time out: Gonzaga shook off its first loss of the season and defeated eastern Washington rival Washington State 81-66 at the Spokane Arena in downtown Spokane, Wash.
  • Gonzaga will look to avenge its 2006 Sweet 16 loss to UCLA, the last time the teams faced off.
  • Gonzaga 22-12 against the Pac-12 under Mark Few with wins over Arizona, Stanford, UCLA, Washington and Washington State in his 15-plus seasons.
  • Gonzaga senior Byron Wesley, a native of Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., just outside of Los Angeles returns to LA after starring for USC for the last three seasons.

ABOUT GONZAGA

  • Head coach Mark Few enters the game with a career record of 411-101, the all-time leader in winning percentage at .803.
  • Gonzaga is one of the most efficient offensive teams in the nation, ranking No. 6 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.67) and field goal percentage (52.8).

ABOUT UCLA

  • Second-year head coach Steve Alford led the Bruins to a 28-9 record and Sweet 16 appearance in his first season at the helm
  • UCLA has won four in a row after back-to-back losses to North Carolina and Oklahoma.
  • On the floor, the Bruins have five players averaging double figures, including two over 17 points per game. Norman Powell leads the way with 17.9 ppg, while Bryce Alford is second with 17.5 ppg and has a team-leading 7.0 assists per game.
  • Forward Kevon Looney is averaging a double-double this season with 13.9 points and 11.2 rebounds per game.
  • The Bruins rely heavily on the starting five, getting 88 percent of their scoring from them.

ABOUT THE SERIES

  • Gonzaga is 1-1 all-time against UCLA including a 1-0 mark at Pauley Pavilion and 0-1 mark on a neutral floor.
  • The Bulldogs defeated the Bruins in the first-ever meeting between the teams on Dec. 11, 1999 by a score of 59-43 at Pauley Pavilion. Ryan Floyd had five threes and 17 points for GU.
  • The last time the teams faced each other was in the 2006 NCAA Sweet 16 in which UCLA scored the final 11 points to win 73-71 at Oracle Arena in Oakland.

THE KARNOWSKI MACHINE
Junior center Przemek Karnowski had his breakout game of the season against Washington State on Wednesday, especially in the first half with 18 points. His total included three “and-1’s”, which he converted the free throw twice. He ended the game with a career-high tying 22 points and 10 made field goals (10-for-15). Karnowski also grabbed eight rebounds (5 offensive), dished out three assists, collected two steals and swatted away one shot. Karnowski had set his career-high of 22 points as a freshman in his first-career game back on Nov. 9, 2012, against Southern Utah.

20/20...20
Three Zags crossed the 20-point barrier against Washington State wednesday with Przemek Karnowski’s 22, Kyle Wiltjer’s 21 and Byron Wesley’s 20. It marked the first time the Zags had three 20-point scorers since Dec. 12, 2009, against Davidson in the Battle in Seattle. That night, Elias Harris had 28, Robert Sacre had 23 and Demetri Goodson had 22 in a 103-91 win.

DEPTH FINDER
Five players average at least 10.0 points per game, led by Wiltjer’s 16.4
Six different leading scorers in nine games
At least four players in double figures five times in nine games
Ten players average at least in 11.0 minutes per game (including the injured Josh Perkins), and six average more than 20.2 minutes per game
Seven players average at least 2.8 rebounds per game
Nine different players have made a three-pointer this season

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 Wesley is on the floor GU is +170, Pangos is +169 and Bell is +167. Coincidentally, those three lead the team in minutes played per game with Pangos at 30.6, Wesley at 28.4 and Bell Jr. at 26.7.

#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. Players in their first year in a GU uniform (transfers and freshmen) have combined to make up 52.0% of the offense this season, led by Kentucky transfer Kyle Wiltjer’s team-leading 16.4 points per game. USC transfer Byron Wesley is averaging 12.1 points per game and freshman Domantas Sabonis is at 11.2. Those are also Gonzaga’s top three leading scorers

‘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 21 his last time out against Washington State. 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 nine games, he’s 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 .750 (39-52), second on the team in rebounding at 5.7 per game and second in free throw shooting at .793 (23-29). He’s also the son of Naismith Hall of Famer and former Portland Trail Blazer Arvydas Sabonis.

SHARING IS CARING

Through nine 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 18.6 and assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.67, while ranking in the top 30 in fewest turnovers per game. Kevin Pangos leads with 49 assists, Byron Wesley has 23 and Gary Bell Jr. has 21. Gonzaga has nine players that have more assists than turnovers this season.

MAKING IT RAIN
Gonzaga is averaging 6.9 three-pointers per game so far this season and is shooting at a .373 clip (62-166). 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 84.4 points per game on offense that’s been impressive, its been the 60.2 points per game allowed on defense. Only four of nine opponents have crossed the 60-point mark and just one has scored 70-plus. The Zags have held opponents to .385 from the field, and .320 from behind the arc. GU is also keeping the clamps down in the backcourt, forcing an opponent assist-to-turnover ratio of 0.7, forcing 13.8 turnovers and allowing 9.2 assists per game.

WINDEX
Gonzaga has cleaned up on the glass through nine games, out-rebounding every opponent and holding a rebounding margin of +12.3, the fifth-best mark in the NCAA. Collectively, Gonzaga is averaging 40.6 rebounds per game including 13.3 offensive boards per game. Opponents, meanwhile, averaging just 28.3 total rebounds per game. Center Przemek Karnowski leads the Zags at 7.1 rebounds per game after a double-double against Arizona and eight against WSU.

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.


 

 

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