No. 24 Gonzaga beats Pacific 86-64

  • Associated Press
  • Saturday, January 4, 2014 8:55pm
  • SportsSports

SPOKANE, Wash. — Gonzaga was so good offensively that even coach Mark Few was impressed.

Drew Barham and Kevin Pangos scored 16 points apiece, and No. 24 Gonzaga shot 69 percent in an 86-64 victory over Pacific on Saturday night.

“Sixty nine percent is unbelievable,” Few said.

David Stockton added 15 points and Sam Dower Jr. had 13 for Gonzaga (14-2, 4-0), which has won 22 consecutive West Coast Conference games spanning three seasons.

David Taylor and Andrew Bock each scored 10 points for Pacific (9-5, 0-3). The Tigers returned to the conference this season after leaving in 1971.

Gonzaga built a big first-half lead, and then frittered much of it away when Pacific got hot in the second half. It recovered in time to earn its fourth consecutive win.

Gonzaga made 27 of 39 shots, including 10 of 13 from 3-point range. Pacific shot 31.7 percent, but made 10 of 25 3-pointers, most in the second half.

The Zags made their first six shots, including four 3-pointers, to jump to a 19-5 lead. Barham hit three of those 3-pointers.

“They say shoot when you are open,” Barham said. “I’m a shooter and the basket was a mile wide.”

Gerard Coleman hit Gonzaga’s fifth 3-pointer for a 29-11 lead with 11:35 left in the first half.

Gonzaga led 46-25 at halftime, after shooting 14 of 22 (63 percent). Pacific was 7 of 28 in the half.

“We’re flying at people with our hands up,” Barham said of Gonzaga’s solid defensive performance in the four WCC games, in which it has held all four opponents to 64 or fewer points.

“We are defending as a team,” Pangos added, leaving little space for opponents to shoot.

The Tigers shot much better to open the second half, but still trailed 57-35. Then Trevin Harris hit a 3-pointer to launch a 15-1 run that cut Gonzaga’s lead to single digits. Consecutive 3-pointers by Taylor and Tony Gill made it 58-50 with 12:23 left.

“Our ball pressure increased, we got some steals and we made some shots,” said Pacific coach Ron Verlin, who is in his first season after replacing Bob Thomason, who retired.

But the Zags responded to the challenge and began to pull away again. Stockton’s 3-pointer made it 76-59.

“They are big and long,” Verlin said of the Zags. “They were challenging our shots.”

The game concluded an unusual stretch in which Gonzaga played four conference home games over eight days. The Zags don’t play at home again until Jan. 23. The series of games coincided with a string of injuries that struck three of the Zags’ starters, but didn’t slow the team down much.

“I couldn’t be prouder of this group,” Few said. “They really, really responded.”

Gonzaga has not lost a WCC game at home since 2011. The Zags are 67-2 in WCC home games since the McCarthey Athletic Center opened in 2004.

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