Coming off a year in which it received a No. 1 seed into the 2013 NCAA tournament and sent two players off to the NBA, the 2013-14 Zags put together another WCC-winning campaign and reached equal heights in the NCAA tournament.
Kevin Pangos scored 26 points and Gary Bell Jr. added 17 for eighth-seeded Gonzaga, which beat Marcus Smart and the ninth-seeded Oklahoma State Cowboys 85-77 in the West region of the NCAA tournament on Friday.
Gonzaga (24-6, 14-3) had lost consecutive games within conference play for the first time since 2011 when it dropped games to BYU and San Diego last week. The Zags didn’t have much of a problem with Pacific, Thursday night.
Gonzaga (23-5, 13-2) was looking to clinch yet another West Coast Conference title only to see its 9-game conference winning streak snapped in Provo.
The Bulldogs took control of this one thanks to a first half in which the team shot 54.8 percent. That shooting performance resulted in a 45-31 halftime lead. The Zags cruised from there, the Lions never coming closer than within eight points.
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.
Sam Dower Jr. had 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead Gonzaga (17-3, 7-1). Przemek Karnowski finished with 12 points and Kevin Pangos added 11 points and five rebounds. Both Karnowski and Pangos made key buckets down the stretch to keep the Zags in the lead.
Looking to bounce back after suffering its first West Coast Conference loss since 2011, Gonzaga (15-3, 5-1) utilized a long first-half run to take command of the game.
Alex Wintering scored 14 points and Kevin Bailey finished with 13 and three blocks for the Pilots who shot 52 percent from the field for the contest, including 8-for-14 from three-point range.
Gonzaga (14-2, 4-0) jumped out to a 29-11 lead after the first nine minutes and cruised from there thanks to its hot-shooting guards. Despite a better second half from the Tigers, the Bulldogs won their 22nd consecutive West Coast Conference game, a streak that spans three seasons.