SPOKANE — Portland and No. 17 Gonzaga opened with a desultory 12 minutes of play, with both teams missing shots, turning the ball over and deadlocked at 15 points.
Then the Zags went on 20-2 run, launching the blowout of a team that had been expected to challenge them for the West Coast Conference title.
The 76-49 win Thursday was a team effort, with 11 different Bulldogs scoring. Matt Bouldin, as usual, led the way with 20 points.
“We challenged them to play as hard as they have played in this building and they did it,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said.
“That’s a great win for us. That’s a very, very good Portland team that is playing as well as anyone in our league.”
Gonzaga (18-4, 7-1 West Coast) made the Pilots look lousy. They were held to 35 percent shooting, including 5-of-21 3-pointers. The Pilots (14-8, 5-3) were outrebounded 40-30 and pushed into 16 turnovers. Gonzaga had 17 offensive rebounds.
Demetri Goodson added 12 points for Gonzaga, which was coming off a rare WCC loss, in overtime at San Francisco last Saturday. It was only their sixth league loss in the past six seasons.
Playing without leading-scorer Nik Raivio, out with an Achilles’ injury, Portland had a four-game winning streak snapped. The Pilots have lost 14 straight to Gonzaga since 2003. Robin Smeudlers led them with 12 points and Ethan Niedermeyer had 11.
“The bottom falls out, as it’s apt to do here,” Portland coach Eric Reveno said. “The tale of the game was turnovers and offensive rebounds.”
Portland was expected to battle the Bulldogs for the WCC title this year, and lost by just three points earlier in Portland.
Both teams started sloppily and the score was tied at 15 with 7:30 left in the first.
Then the Zags found their shot and buried the Pilots. Mangisto Arop’s putback ignited Gonzaga’s decisive run that led to 35-17 lead. They led 41-21 at halftime, behind 12 points by Bouldin. Portland shot just 37 percent in the first and was outrebounded 22-10.
It got worse for the Pilots in the second half, as they fell behind by more than 30 points.
Elias Harris added 10 points and seven rebounds for Gonzaga, which shot 50 percent in the game.
Bouldin, a senior guard, displaced Casey Calvary for 10th place on Gonzaga’s career scoring list with 1,518 points.
At halftime, there was a ceremony honoring the selections of former Gonzaga star John Stockton and former Michigan State basketball coach Jud Heathcote into the state of Washington Sports Hall of Fame. Stockton is a Spokane native and Heathcote coached high school basketball in Spokane and later was an assistant at nearby Washington State.