(1090 The Fan) — A career night for senior center Sam Dower Jr. helped Gonzaga notch its sixth conference win, a 82-72 win at Loyola Marymount, Saturday.
Dower Jr. more than doubled his season average of 13 points by scoring a career-high 28 points. The senior also led the Bulldogs by grabbing 14 rebounds, including six on offensive glass.
The unranked Bulldogs utilized a strong first half to hand a short-handed Loyola Marymount squad its sixth straight loss. Gonzaga built a 42-33 lead after the first 20 minutes.
Despite having just seven scholarship players, Loyola Marymount (10-10, 2-6) came out of the second half with some fight, as they ran out to a 14-2 run within the first six minutes to pull ahead of the Zags 52-50. After Gonzaga head coach Mark Few took a timeout, the Zags answered with a 16-5 run of their own to reclaim control of the game, 66-57 with 7:18 to play.
One of the keys during the run was Lions freshman guard Evan Payne receiving his fourth foul at the 10:53 mark. Immediately upon his exit, the Zags earned a 13-2 scoring advantage.
Payne, who came in ranked second on Loyola Marymount with a 14.1 points-per-game average, delivered 19 points while making a number of tough shots to keep his team in the game. Lions’ leading scoring Anthony Ireland finished with 13 points and nine assists.
But this was Dower’s day. The center dominated Loyola Marymount’s interior early and often, scoring 14 points on 7-of-13 shooting in the first half. He picked up where he left off in the second half, going 5-0f-9 from the floor and 4-for-4 from the free-throw line to notch a new career high.
Guards Drew Barham and Gerard Coleman added 16 and 11 points off the bench for Gonzaga (16-3, 6-1).
-Anthony Dion, 1090 The Fan
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