(1090 The Fan) — No. 23 Gonzaga held on to beat Portland 71-66, Wednesday night at the McCarthey Athletic Center after squandering a 22-point lead in the second half.
The win was Gonzaga’s (21-3, 11-1) first over the Pilots this season after the team saw its 22-game West Coast Conference winning streak dating back to 2011 snapped back on January 9th.
Three players — David Stockton, Kevin Pangos and Angel Nunez — scored 13 points to lead the Zags. Sam Dower Jr. added 10 points for the Zags who now have a 3-game lead over San Francisco and BYU as the team looks for its 15th WCC title in the last 17 seasons.
Gonzaga built a 40-23 halftime lead by shooting 56.5 percent from the field, including 7-for-11 from beyond the 3-point arc. However, the team went cold from the field in the second half and the Pilots made multiple runs to overcome a deficit as large as 22 points when Bryce Pressley made a 3-pointer at the 6:40 mark to give the Pilots a 54-51 lead.
The Bulldogs had scored just 11 second-half points thanks to a drought of over nine minutes without making a field goal, but Dower made two free throws and two consecutive clutch baskets to put the Zags back on top 58-56 with 3:38 to play.
A minute later, Stockton hit a 3-pointer which gave Gonzaga a 63-58 lead and the team held on from there.
Ryan Nicholas scored 15 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to lead the Pilots who were unable to win in Spokane for the first time since 2003.
-Anthony Dion, 1090 The Fan
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