No. 9/8 MBB Returns Home for Texas Southern
9/8 Gonzaga (9-1) vs. Texas Southern (1-7)
Monday, Dec. 15, 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/TuneIn App (Tom Hudson, Matt Santangelo) Live Stats  |  Gonzaga Notes

STORY LINES

  • Gonzaga owns a 31-game home win streak, the second-longest current active streak in the NCAA behind Duke’s 37-gamer.
  • Last time out: Gonzaga moved to 2-1 against Pac-12 teams this season with an 87-74 win over UCLA in front of 10,006 at Pauley Pavilion. Kyle Wiltjer led four Zags in double digits with 24, while Byron Wesley had 20 in his return to his hometown. Gonzaga ended UCLA’s 22-game home non-conference winning streak.
  • Gonzaga is now 23-12 against the Pac-12 under Mark Few with wins over Arizona, Stanford, UCLA, Washington and Washington State in his 15-plus seasons.

ABOUT GONZAGA

  • Head coach Mark Few enters the game with a career record of 412-101, the all-time leader in winning percentage at .803.
  • Gonzaga has five players averaging double figures, led by Kyle Wiltjer’s 17.2 points per game.
  • Gonzaga is one of the most efficient offensive teams in the nation, ranking No. 6 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.65) and No. 4 in field goal percentage (53.3).
  • The Zags have out-rebounded all 10 opponents and hold a rebound margin of +11.1.

ABOUT TEXAS SOUTHERN

  • Third-year head coach Mike Davis is coming off an NCAA tournament appearance last season, but have gotten out to a 1-7 start this year. Davis coached Indiana from 2000-06 and UAB from 2006-12. He led the Hoosiers to an appearance in the 2002 national title game.
  • Chris Thomas leads the Tigers at 16.1 points per game and 5.4 rebounds per game, while Deverell Biggs is second on the team at 11.4 ppg.
  • Madarious Gibbs sets the offense with 4.8 assists per game to go along with 9.8 ppg.
  • Texas Southern has one of what appears to be the toughest non-conference schedules in the nation, facing the likes of Indiana, Tennessee, SMU, Baylor and Florida thus far, and Michigan State and Kansas State left to play.

ABOUT THE SERIES

  • Gonzaga is 1-0 all-time against Texas Southern.
  • The teams squared off in the McCarthey Athletic Center in December 2008, and the Zags took an 84-42 win. Josh Heytvelt scored 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead GU.

THE KENNEL
Gonzaga hasn’t lost at home since Dec. 8, 2012 to Illinois (85-74), a streak of 31 games and span of 737 days. The 31 games is the second-longest current streak in the nation, behind only Duke’s 37-game win streak. It is the third-longest streak in GU history ahead of 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.

20/20
Both Kyle Wiltjer and Byron Wesley continued their hot offensive streaks on Saturday in a win at UCLA, scoring 20-plus for the second straight game. Wiltjer dropped in 24 on 9-of-13 shooting against UCLA and 21 on 9-of-14 shooting against Washington State. Wesley meanwhile has been even more efficient from the field, scoring 20 on 7-of-8 shooting against UCLA and 20 on 10-of-14 shooting against Washington State.

20/20...20
Three Zags crossed the 20-point barrier against Washington State last 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.

PAC-12 SUCCESS
With the win at UCLA on Saturday, Gonzaga moved to 2-1 against Pac-12 Conference teams this season, also getting a win over Washington State. Their loss came by three in overtime at No. 3 Arizona. During Mark Few’s 16-year tenure at Gonzaga, the Bulldogs are 23-12 (.657) against Pac-12 teams.

WESLEY RETURNS TO HOLLYWOOD
In his first game in Los Angeles since starring for USC the last three seasons, Byron Wesley showed a large group of family and friends that he’s even better in a Zag uniform. In 31 minutes, he scored 20 points, grabbed a team-high nine boards, dished out four assists and blocked two shots. He was 7-of-8 from the field, 2-of-2 from behind the arc and 4-of-6 from the charity stripe.

‘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 five times, including 20-plus a team-high four times. Earlier this year against Georgia, Wiltjer knocked down 14-of-26 shots on the way to a career-high and Gonzaga season-best 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.

KARNOWSKI TURNING IT UP
After averaging a solid 8.0 points and 5.8 rebounds through the first five games, junior center Przemek Karnowski is averaging 12.0 points and 7.8 rebounds per game over the last five. The step up in numbers has also come against tougher competition, including three Pac-12 teams and an SEC team.

#4EQUALS3
Follow Kevin Pangos’ road to the GU career three-point record on Twitter with #4equals3. With one three against UCLA, Pangos’ total climbed to 255, the third-best all-time at GU. That leaves him 25 behind Richie Frahm’s 280 and 33 behind Blake Stepp’s 288. Pangos also ranks second nationally among active career three-point leaders, behind only 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 53.3% of the offense this season, led by Kentucky transfer Kyle Wiltjer’s team-leading 17.2 points per game. USC transfer Byron Wesley is second on the team averaging 12.9 points per game and freshman Domantas Sabonis is third at 11.1, making the trio, Gonzaga’s three leading scorers.

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’s previous career-high of 22 came in his first-career game back on Nov. 9, 2012, against Southern Utah.

DEPTH FINDER

  • Five players average at least 10.0 points per game, and a sixth at 9.5
  • Six different leading scorers in 10 games
  • At least four players in double figures six times in 10 games
  • Nine players average at least in 11.1 minutes per game (including the injured Josh Perkins), and seven average more than 19.0 minutes per game
  • Seven players average at least 2.7 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 10 games. When Wesley is on the floor GU is +174, Pangos is +181 and Bell is +180. Coincidentally, those three lead the team in minutes played per game with Pangos at 31.2, Wesley at 28.7 and Bell Jr. at 26.5.

DOMANTAS DOMINATING
Freshman Domantas Sabonis has wasted no time showing national pundits that he’s a rookie with no ceiling. Through 10 games, he’s reached double-digit points seven times and had six or more rebounds five times. He recorded his first double-double (10p-11r vs. St. Joe’s), and is leading the team in field goal percentage at .754 (43-57), third on the team in rebounding at 5.8 per game and second in free throw shooting at .806 (25-31). He’s also the son of Naismith Hall of Famer and former Portland Trail Blazer Arvydas Sabonis.

SHARING IS CARING
Through 10 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 18.7 and assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.65, while ranking in the top 40 in fewest turnovers per game. Kevin Pangos leads with 53 assists, Byron Wesley has 27 and Gary Bell Jr. has 24.

MAKING IT RAIN
Gonzaga is averaging 7.1 three-pointers per game so far this season and is shooting at a .383 clip (71-185). Nine players have made at least one three, and Gary Bell Jr. leads the team with 20, 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 84.7 points per game on offense that’s been impressive, its been the 61.6 points per game allowed on defense. Only five of 10 opponents have crossed the 60-point mark and just two have scored 70-plus. The Zags have held opponents to .388 from the field, and .337 from behind the arc. GU is also keeping the clamps down in the backcourt, with an opponent assist-to-turnover ratio of 0.7, forcing 13.6 turnovers and allowing 9.4 assists per game.

WINDEX
Gonzaga has cleaned up on the glass through 10 games, out-rebounding every opponent and holding a rebounding margin of +11.1, the eighth-best mark in the NCAA. Collectively, Gonzaga is averaging 39.9 rebounds per game including 12.7 offensive boards per game. Opponents, meanwhile, averaging just 28.5 total rebounds per game. Center Przemek Karnowski leads the Zags at 6.8 per game.

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 43 field goals on the season don’t qualify him for NCAA stat rankings, but his .754 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.

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.

C-NOTES
Gonzaga hit the 100-point mark for the second time this season on November 22nd with a 109-55 win over St. Thomas Aquinas. It is the highest point total since 113-point effort against Chaminade in the Maui Invitational on Nov. 26, 2013. It also marks the third consecutive season the Zags have hit 100 twice in a year, and the eighth time in Mark Few’s 16 years at the helm.

CHASING MILESTONES
Kevin Pangos

  • Needs 34 three-pointers to break Blake Stepp’s GU career record of 288
  • Needs just 47 points to move into top 10 all-time in scoring at GU
  • Needs just 40 assists to move into top 5 all time at GU
  • Needs 17 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 1,065 points, 33rd all-time at GU.
  • Against St. Joseph’s, moved into top 10 all-time at GU in made threes, now has 175
  • Needs just 20 steals to move into top 10 all-time at GU

Przemek Karnowski

  • Sits in 10th all-time at GU in blocks with 79, two behind ninth

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 .687 with 79 wins and 36 losses. Over the last four seasons, the Zags are 21-5 (.808) 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 — 3-1
2004-05 — 7-1

 


 

 

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