GAME NOTES: The Gonzaga Bulldogs try to stay ahead of the pack in the West Coast Conference tonight, as they host the San Diego Toreros at the McCarthey Athletic Center.
Since being stunned by Portland on the road two weeks ago by a score of 82-73, the Bulldogs have rebounded with a victory against Pepperdine (70-53) and, last Saturday, Loyola Marymount (82-72) in order to move to 6-1 in conference play and remain above the fray.
As for the Toreros, they may have a winning record on the season overall, but the last month has seen the squad win just twice in seven opportunities. A week ago San Diego took down Santa Clara by just three points, 69-66, and then last Saturday the squad played another close game, this time against San Francisco and wasn't as lucky in a 64-62 loss.
Gonzaga has won nearly two-thirds of the meetings between these two programs, sporting a 62-21 advantage in the all-time series. The Bulldogs have reeled off 10 consecutive victories over USD.
The Toreros went from shooting 7-of-12 behind the 3-point line in the first half versus San Francisco last Saturday to hitting just 1-of-6 out on the perimeter after the break, en route to the two-point loss. Johnny Dee still scored a game-high 16 points with 4-of-8 accuracy from distance, followed by Christopher Anderson with 15 points as he drained all three of his 3-point tries and handed out five of the unit's 11 assists. Duda Sanadze responded with 11 points, his accuracy from deep (1-of-5) not nearly as impressive.
Through 20 games, the Toreros are scoring a modest 68.6 ppg, but at least they've managed to outscore the competition by 4.4 ppg. Unfortunately, when it comes to conference play, the offense for USD drops to 64.1 ppg and the defense appears a bit more liberal with 70.4 ppg allowed. Sanadze is leading the team in scoring when facing WCC foes, posting 14.9 ppg, with Dee following close behind at 14.3 ppg thanks to his 54.5 percent shooting beyond the arc.
In a game that featured nine ties and four lead changes, the Bulldogs made sure they were on the right side of the score when it counted the most, building a double-digit advantage at the end of 40 minutes of play versus Loyola Marymount. Sam Dower recorded a double-double consisting of 28 points and 14 rebounds, shooting 12-of-22 from the floor, while Drew Barham and Gerard Coleman accounted for 16 and 11 points, respectively, off the bench for the visitors.
Kevin Pangos continues to lead the Bulldogs in scoring this season with his 16.2 ppg, but if you only saw the meeting with the Lions you would have never have known it since he shot a mere 1-of-11 from the floor and missed all six attempts behind the 3-point line, en route to just three points in 36 minutes. Pangos, who also paces the program with 81 assists, did hand out six of those versus LMU, but at the same time turned the ball over four times.
One of the stronger offenses in the country with 81.6 ppg, the Bulldogs tend to put themselves at a safe distance in many games, but the same cannot be said for San Diego which would probably like this to be a close call.
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