Still undefeated in West Coast Conference play, the seventh-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs follow up one of their most lopsided league wins in some time as they clash with the San Diego Toreros at Jenny Craig Pavilion on Saturday night.
On Thursday, the Bulldogs won their third straight game and ninth in the last 10 outings as they completely dominated the Lions of Loyola Marymount on the road, 88-43. With the victory Gonzaga, the highest-ranked team in the country outside of the so-called power conferences, remained perfect in league play at 7-0.
For the Bulldogs, they became the second team in the country (Michigan) to arrive at 20 wins on the campaign, thus locking in head coach Mark Few to a 14th straight season in which his teams have won at least as many games.
As for the Toreros, they are an even 11-11 overall and 4-3 in league play following a 64-50 setback against Santa Clara last weekend. The defeat was the third in a row for the program.
Thanks to a pair of wins last season, the Bulldogs own a commanding 60-21 advantage in the all-time series versus USD. In fact Gonzaga, which is set to host the Toreros in three weeks, has captured eight straight wins over San Diego.
Playing a complete game at both ends of the floor, the Bulldogs led from the opening tap and never looked back against LMU two nights ago, holding the hosts to just 25.0 percent shooting from the floor as the Lions registered just as many turnovers (14) as made field goals. Kelly Olynyk played just 20 minutes but still came up with 15 points to match Gary Bell Jr. for the team high. Drew Barham and Sam Dower both chipped in 13 points off the bench, while David Stockton matched a career best with seven assists for the visitors. Olynyk has been a huge presence for the Bulldogs in 2012-13 as he leads the team with 18.0 ppg as a 65.8 percent shooter from the floor, adding 6.9 rpg which is second only to Elias Harris (15.0 ppg) who is pulling down 7.1 boards per contest. The Bulldogs have impressive stats across the board as they shoot 51.3 percent from the floor, have outscored opponents by more than 100 at the free-throw line and maintain a scoring advantage over more than 17 ppg at the moment.
The Toreros made only nine field goals in the first half against Santa Clara last weekend and while that was good enough to stay within four points at the break, the team did the same thing in the second half and eventually was defeated by 14 points. Ken Rancifer was the lone double-digit scorer for the program with his 14 points, shooting only 4-of-12 from the floor as the team finished with 37.5 percent accuracy from the field, 5-of-20 beyond the arc and a disappointing 9-of-18 at the free-throw line. Johnny Dee, who finished with nine points last weekend, is the sole double-digit scorer on the season for the Toreros with 14.4 ppg, shooting close to 40 percent from 3-point range along the way. Chris Anderson, responsible for another 9.4 ppg, has shown that he can manage a game with 113 assists and 49 steals, but the wins are still hard to come by for San Diego these days.