No. 8/8 MBB Opens WCC Play at BYU Saturday

8/8 Gonzaga (11-1, 0-0) vs. BYU (10-3, 0-0)
Saturday, Dec. 27, 2014 | 3:00 p.m. (PT) | Marriott Center (20,900) | Provo, Utah
TV: ESPN2 (Dave Flemming, Stan Heath)
Gonzaga IMG Radio Network: KGA 1510/TuneIn App (Tom Hudson, Matt Santangelo)

WatchESPN  |  Live Stats  |  Gonzaga Notes
STORY LINES
  • This game opens the West Coast Conference schedule for both BYU and Gonzaga.
  • Last time out: Gonzaga won its fourth consecutive Battle in Seattle at KeyArena, taking down Cal Poly 63-50 in front of a crowd of 11,000. Kevin Pangos hit four threes and combined with Przemek Karnowski for more than 50 percent of Gonzaga’s offense with 16 each.
  • Gonzaga is 15-0 in West Coast Conference openers under Mark Few.
  • The Zags have won 18 straight conference openers with the last loss coming during the 1995-96 season.
  • Gonzaga will look to avenge a 65-73 loss the last time it played in the Marriott Center.

ABOUT GONZAGA

  • Head coach Mark Few enters the game with a career record of 414-101, the all-time leader in winning percentage at .804.
  • Gonzaga has five players averaging double figures and one more above 9.0, led by Kyle Wiltjer’s 16.8 points per game.
  • Behind Wiltjer, two more newcomers are second and third on the team in scoring. Byron Wesley is at 11.8 points per game and Domantas Sabonis is at 10.9.
  • Gonzaga is one of the most efficient offensive teams in the nation, ranking No. 5 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.57) and No. 2 in field goal percentage (53.6).
  • The Zags have out-rebounded all 12 opponents and hold a rebound margin of +10.6.

ABOUT BYU

  • Head coach Dave Rose is second all-time at BYU in career wins with a record of 241-81, which also ranks him 10th all-time in the NCAA in winning percentage at .748.
  • The 10-3 Cougars are winners of three in a row, including wins against Stanford and UMass, both at home where they are 6-1 this season.
  • Reigning WCC Player of the Year, Tyler Haws has continued to show his knack for putting up points, averaging a league-leading 22.3 points per game.
  • • Anson Winder (14.2), Chase Fischer (13.6) and Kyle Collinsworth (13.1) all average at least 13.0 points per game. Collinsworth leads WCC in steals (28) and Fischer is second in 3

ABOUT THE SERIES

  • Gonzaga is 6-3 all-time against BYU — 1-2 in Provo, 3-0 in Spokane and 2-1 on neutral floors.
  • The Zags defeated the Cougars twice last season, at home and in the WCC Tournament Final.

GONZAGA PICKED TO WIN WCC
The Gonzaga men’s basketball team was unanimously selected by league coaches to win the West Coast Conference title, while Kevin Pangos and Przemek Karnowski were named Preseason All-WCC, conference officials prior to the season.

The Zags, who have won 13 of the last 14 regular season WCC titles, received all nine possible first-place votes for 81 points in the poll. Pangos was named to the All-WCC Preseason team for the third time in his career, while also earning postseason All-WCC First Team honors three times. Karnowski earned his first league preseason honor.
Few against WCC.

FEW vs. THE WCC
In his 15 seasons at the helm of the Gonzaga basketball program, head coach Mark Few has lost just 24 league games, compiling a WCC record of 194-24 for an astounding .890 winning percentage. In those 15 seasons, Gonzaga has run the table four times (2004, ‘06, ‘09, ‘13) and lost just one WCC game three more times (2001, ‘02, ‘08). Few has led GU to the regular season conference title 13 times, including a streak of 11 straight from 2001-2011. This year’s preseason favorite, Gonzaga is the two-time defending regular season champion.

GONZAGA BIGS LIGHTS OUT
Gonzaga has been ultra efficient when getting the ball to its big men. The combination of Kyle Wiltjer, Domantas Sabonis, Przemek Karnowski and Angel Nunez is shooting a collective .598 from the field at 203-for-339. Here’s the individual breakdown:
Kyle Wiltjer - 78-139 (.561)
Domantas Sabonis - 50-69 (.725)
Przemek Karnowski - 54-101 (.535)
Angel Nunez - 21-30 (.700)

WILTJER SCORING AT WILL
Three games. Three 20-plus scoring efforts. After dropping in 21 against Washington State and 24 at UCLA, Kyle Wiltjer notched 21 against Texas Southern for his third straight 20-point game. That gave him five games this season over 20 points and nine with at least double digits. He’s averaging a team-leading 16.8 points per game and posted a team season-high 32 points earlier this year against Georgia in Madison Square Garden in the NIT Season Tip-Off Semifinal.

#4EQUALS3
Follow Kevin Pangos’ road to the GU career three-point record on Twitter with #4equals3. With four three-pointers against Cal Poly, Pangos’ total climbed to 262, the third-best all-time at GU. That leaves him 18 behind Richie Frahm’s 280 and 26 behind Blake Stepp’s 288. Pangos ranks second nationally among active career three-point leaders, behind only USD’ s Johnny Dee.

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 11.6 points and 7.0 rebounds per game over the last five. The step up in numbers has also come against tougher competition, including three Pac-12 teams.

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 52.8% of the offense this season, led by Kentucky transfer Kyle Wiltjer’s team-leading 16.8 points per game. USC transfer Byron Wesley is second on the team averaging 11.8 points per game and freshman Domantas Sabonis is third at 10.9, 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 two weeks ago, 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 10.1 points per game, and one more is over 9.0
  • Six different leading scorers this season
  • At least four players in double figures seven times in 12 games
  • 10 players average at least in 12.1 minutes per game (including the injured Josh Perkins), and eight average more than 17.4 minutes per game
  • Eight players average at least 2.2 rebounds per game
  • Nine different players have made a three-pointer this season

CHASING MILESTONES
Kevin Pangos

  • Needs 27 three-pointers to break Blake Stepp’s GU career record of 288
  • Needs just 20 points to move into top 10 all-time in scoring at GU
  • Needs just 34 assists to move into top 5 all time at GU
  • Needs 15 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 1,086 points, 31st all-time at GU
  • Against St. Joseph’s, moved into top 10 all-time at GU in made threes, now has 185, two behind ninth
  • Needs just 19 steals to move into top 10 all-time at GU

Przemek Karnowski

  • Moved into ninth all-time at GU in blocks with 82, three behind eighth

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 .692 with 81 wins and 36 losses. Over the last four seasons, the Zags are 23-5 (.821) 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 — 5-1
2004-05 — 7-1

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.

UTAH’S TOP RECRUIT 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.


 

 

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