No. 8/8 MBB Caps WCC Road Trip at San Diego

8/8 Gonzaga (12-1, 1-0) vs. San Diego (7-6, 0-1)
Monday, Dec. 29, 2014 | 8:00 p.m. (PT) | Jenny Craig Pavilion | San Diego, Calif.
TV: KHQ/ROOT Sports (Steve Quis, Casey Jacobsen)
Gonzaga IMG Radio Network: KGA 1510/TuneIn App (Tom Hudson, Matt Santangelo)

Watch  |  Live Stats  |  Gonzaga Notes  |  San Diego Notes

STORY LINES

  • Gonzaga opened its WCC schedule with a win, San Diego with a loss.
  • Last time out: Gonzaga took down BYU in front of a capacity crowd of 20,900 on Saturday in Provo, Utah. Kevin Pangos hit five threes, scored 21 points and dished out seven assists. Kyle Wiltjer added 24 points and Byron Wesley had a double-double with 15 points and 10 boards.
  • After Saturday, Gonzaga is now 16-0 in West Coast Conference openers under Mark Few.
  • The Zags have now won 19 straight conference openers with the last loss coming during the 1995-96 season.
  • Mark Few improved his career record against WCC foes to 195-24 (.890). 
  • Gonzaga will look to avenge a 66-69 loss the last time it played at Jenny Craig Pavilion.

ABOUT GONZAGA

  • Head coach Mark Few enters the game with a career record of 415-101, 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 17.3 points per game.
  • Behind Wiltjer, two more newcomers are second and third on the team in scoring. Byron Wesley is at 12.0 points per game and Kevin Pangos is at 11.6.
  • Gonzaga is one of the most efficient offensive teams in the nation, ranking No. 4 in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.62) and No. 2 in field goal percentage (53.2).
  • The Zags have out-rebounded all 13 opponents and hold a rebound margin of +9.4.

ABOUT SAN DIEGO

  • Head coach Bill Grier enters his eighth season and led the Toreros to an 18-17 record last season, including a quarterfinal finish in the CIT Postseason Tournament.
  • Senior guard Johnny Dee is one of the deadliest weapons in the league from three-point land. He’s the NCAA’s active career three-point leader with 298 made threes and he’s averaging 18.8 points per game.
  • Point guard Chris Anderson leads the team with 7.1 assists per game and Thomas Jacobs has a team-leading 6.2 rebounds per game. Jito Kok has 34 blocks on the season.

ABOUT THE SERIES
Gonzaga is 63-21 all-time against San Diego. Three of the last four have been decided by three points or less including the last time the teams met: a 69-66 USD win in San Diego.

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 vs. THE WCC
In his 16 seasons at the helm of the Gonzaga basketball program, head coach Mark Few has lost just 24 league games, compiling a WCC record of 195-24 for an astounding .890 winning percentage. In the15 previous 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 .593 from the field at 219-for-369. Here’s the individual season breakdown:
Kyle Wiltjer - 89-162 (.549)
Domantas Sabonis - 51-70 (.729)
Przemek Karnowski - 58-107 (.542)
Angel Nunez - 21-30 (.700)

PANGOS OVER 1,500
With 16 points against Cal Poly, Kevin Pangos became the 14th GU player ever to surpass 1,500 points in his career. After 21 more points against BYU, he’s now at 1,535 for his career in sole posession of 12th, just 12 points behind Jerry Vermillion for 11th.

WILTJER SCORING AT WILL
After three straight games with 20-plus scoring efforts and then a low output against Cal Poly, Kyle Wiltjer got back to his 20-point ways on the road BYU. He dropped in 24 for his team-leading sixth 20-point game of the season and 10th with at least double digits. He’s averaging a team-leading 17.3 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.

WILTJER FROM EVERYWHERE
After making a respectable 10-of-31 (.323) from behind the arc in the first eight games, Kyle Wiltjer has been money from deep ever since. In the last five games, he’s made 10-of-16 (.625) from three-land. In those five games, Wiltjer is also 40-of-65 (.615) from the field and 8-for-8 (1.000) from the free throw line for a team-leading 19.6 points per game in the span.

#4EQUALS3
Follow Kevin Pangos’ road to the GU career three-point record on Twitter with #4equals3. With a second-half barrage against BYU and five total three-pointers in that game, Pangos’ total climbed to 267, the third-best all-time at GU. That leaves him 13 behind Richie Frahm’s 280 and 21 behind Blake Stepp’s 288. Pangos ranks second nationally among active career three-point leaders, behind only USD’ s Johnny Dee who has 298.

In the last three games alone, Pangos has made 12-of-20 (.600) from deep. He knocked down three three-pointers against Texas Southern, four against Cal Poly before his five against BYU.

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 12.4 points and 6.4 rebounds per game over the last five. The step up in numbers has also come against tougher competition, including three Pac-12 teams.

SEEING DOUBLE

With Byron Wesley’s 15 points and 10 rebounds in a win at BYU, Gonzaga now has five double-doubles by five different players this season. Here’s the breakdown:
Byron Wesley - 15 pts., 10 reb. at BYU (12/27/14)
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)

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 53.0% of the offense this season, led by Kentucky transfer Kyle Wiltjer’s team-leading 17.3 points per game. USC transfer Byron Wesley is second on the team averaging 12.0 points per game and freshman Domantas Sabonis is fourth at 10.2.

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 10.0 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 13 games
  • 10 players average at least in 11.8 minutes per game (including the injured Josh Perkins), and eight average more than 17.9 minutes per game
  • Eight players average at least 2.2 rebounds per game
  • Nine different players have made a three-pointer this season

SHARING IS CARING
Through 13 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 5 in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.62. Kevin Pangos leads with 66 assists, Byron Wesley has 33 and Gary Bell Jr. has 33.

MAKING IT RAIN
The Bulldogs have made at least four three-pointers in every game, including four games with at least 10 three-pointers. Gonzaga is averaging 7.2 three-pointers per game so far this season and is shooting at a .396 clip (86-217). Nine players have made at least one three, and Gary Bell Jr. leads the team with 22, including his five-three-pointer outburst against St. Joseph’s Wednesday, Nov. 19.

SUFFOCATING DEFENSE
It isn’t only Gonzaga’s 83.7 points per game on offense that’s been impressive, its been the 60.0 points per game allowed on defense. Only six of 13 opponents have crossed the 60-point mark and just three have scored 70-plus. The Zags have held opponents to .387 from the field, and .310 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 13.5 turnovers and allowing 9.2 assists per game.

WINDEX
Gonzaga has cleaned up on the glass through 13 games, out-rebounding every opponent and holding a rebounding margin of +9.4 a top-20 mark in the NCAA. Collectively, Gonzaga is averaging 39.2 rebounds per game including 11.9 offensive boards per game. Opponents, meanwhile, averaging just 28.8 total rebounds per game. Center Przemek Karnowski leads the Zags at 6.8 per game.

 


 

 

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