Zags Top Cal Poly, Claim Battle in Seattle Crown
SEATTLE -- Kevin Pangos scored 11 of his 16 points in the second half, and No. 8 Gonzaga fought a pesky Cal Poly before pulling away for a 63-50 win on Saturday night.Gonzaga (11-1) led throughout the entire second half, but Cal Poly (5-5) hung around well into the frame before the Zags finally put away the Mustangs.
Pangos hit three of his four 3-pointers in the second half, and 7-foot-1 Przemek Karnowski finished with 16 points, including 11 in the first half.
David Nwaba scored a season-high 21 points but was the only Cal Poly player to reach double figures.
The Bulldogs look to make another trip to KeyArena in March. The early rounds of the NCAA tournament will be played in Seattle for the first time in more than a decade.
Pangos hit a pair of 3-pointers in the opening minutes of the second half to push Gonzaga's lead to 38-26. Instead of wilting, the Mustangs charged back, scoring the next eight points and forcing Gonzaga coach Mark Few to call timeout with 14:21 left.
Pangos answered with his fourth 3-pointer, but Gonzaga maintained an uneasy lead over the Mustangs. Karnowski's two free throws and a 3-pointer from Kyle Dranginis put the Bulldogs up 10 with 11 minutes remaining. Kyle Toth's 3-pointer with 7:31 left pulled the Mustangs back within seven.
Cal Poly missed three chances to cut the lead to five, while free throws from Kyle Wiltjer and a layup by Gary Bell Jr. pushed Gonzaga's advantage to nine. Wiltjer added two more free throws and the lead was back to 11.
Cal Poly: The Mustangs were leading the country with just 7.1 turnovers per game, but committed nine in the first half against the Bulldogs and finished with a season-high 16.
Gonzaga: The Bulldogs were No. 4 in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.70) starting the night but committed seven first-half turnovers. That matched Gonzaga's total from its win over Texas Southern earlier this week. The Bulldogs finished with a season-low 10 assists.
Cal Poly travels to face Santa Clara on Tuesday afternoon.
Gonzaga is off until after Christmas when it opens West Coast Conference play at BYU on Dec. 27.
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