SPOKANE— Kyle Wiltjer scored 18 points and No. 13 Gonzaga routed Sacramento State 104-58 in the season opener for both men’s basketball teams Friday night.
Kevin Pangos added 16 points, Domantas Sabonis 14, Byron Wesley 12 and Gary Bell Jr. 11 for the Bulldogs (1-0).
Dylan Garrity scored 13 points for Sacramento State (0-1), which returned all five starters and eight of its top nine from last season. But Sacramento State played without leading scorer Mikh McKinney, who averaged 16.6 points a game last season. He sat out for disciplinary reasons.
Gonzaga, with three starters back and a bevy of talented newcomers, made quick work of the Hornets.
Trailing 7-6, Gonzaga scored 14 straight points — aided by four Sacramento State turnovers — to build a 20-7 lead.
Wiltjer, a transfer from Kentucky, hit a pair of 3-pointers as Gonzaga built a 28-14 lead midway through the first half. Przemek Karnowski’s put-back gave Gonzaga a 21-point lead at 41-20.
Gonzaga led 60-26 at halftime, after making 22 of 37 shots (59 percent). Wiltjer led all players with 15 points at the half.
Sacramento State got off just 23 shots in the first half, making nine (39 percent). The Hornets committed 14 turnovers in the first half and were out-rebounded 22-11.
The second half was more of the same. Consecutive 3-pointers by Josh Perkins and Gary Bell Jr. lifted Gonzaga to a 79-37 lead midway through the second half, as Sacramento State went even colder from the floor.
For the game, Gonzaga shot 55 percent and won the rebound battle 48-28.
Sacramento State shot just 36 percent and committed 22 turnovers.
Sacramento State fell to 0-14 against ranked opponents.
Gonzaga is 14-2 in season openers under coach Mark Few, last losing to St. Joseph’s in 2003. This is the 10th anniversary of the McCarthey Athletic Center, and Gonzaga has a 136-8 record in the building since it opened in the 2004-05 season. Few’s winning percentage of .801 coming into the game was the highest among active coaches. Gonzaga announced before the game that it will play Pittsburgh in the Armed Forces Classic on Nov. 13, 2015, in Okinawa, Japan.
Sacramento State was 14-16 last season and qualified for the Big Sky Conference tournament for the first time since 2006. The Hornets had won three straight season openers.