Published November 17, 2013
SPOKANE, Wash. – Kevin Pangos went to the sideline after getting hit in the head, his 3-point duel with Travis Bader and Gonzaga's game against Oakland in doubt.
He came back to make sure both turned out fine.
Pangos scored 21 points to help the No. 15 Bulldogs to an 82-67 victory over short-handed Oakland on Sunday night.
Pangos made a steal, leading to a momentum-changing dunk by Sam Dower, got hit in the head and had to briefly leave the game with 17 minutes remaining.
He came back in and sank two 3-pointers to push the Gonzaga lead to 56-47.
"I just got kneed in the head and was in pain for a little bit," Pangos said. "It kind of woke me up, I guess."
He made five 3-pointers to match Bader, the 2012-13 NCAA leader in 3-point makes. Both were 6 of 13 overall and 5 of 9 from 3-point range. Both teams made 11 shots from behind the arc.
Dower added 15 points, Gary Bell Jr. scored 14 and Przemek Karnowski had 12 for Gonzaga (3-0).
Bader scored 22 for Oakland (0-4), Tommy McCune had 17, and Mitch Baenziger added 11 before fouling out with 3 minutes left. Oakland only had eight players because Dante Williams and Duke Mondy were suspended and sent back to Michigan.
Mitch Baenziger made Oakland's fourth 3-pointer of the second half to trim the lead to 63-55 with 7:28 left. But consecutive 3s by Pangos and Drew Barham put Gonzaga up 69-55 before Bader answered with his fifth make from behind the arc.
"I feel like I probably ran off a thousand screens tonight," Bell said of guarding Bader. "I played him as tough as I could."
The first half was close throughout, with Gonzaga's largest lead at 12 points. In Gonzaga's previous two games, the Bulldogs led by 21 points in each game at halftime.
"That was good for us," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. "That's a really tough, hard-nosed team. ...They pushed us and challenged us and our guys responded and kept their composure and ended up getting it done."
Knotted at 6, Gonzaga nailed three straight 3-pointers in 65 seconds to take an early 15-9 lead. In its last game against Colorado State, Gonzaga made 14 shots from behind the arc — eight by Bell.
Pangos made two free throws after McCune was whistled for a technical foul for hanging on the rim. Karnowski made two more from the line on Gonzaga's ensuing possession to extend its lead to 21-13.
Oakland would not go away.
McCune's 3-pointer and his assist to Ralph Hill for a dunk cut the deficit to 23-18 with under 9 minutes to go. Bader's 3-pointer, the third straight Oakland make from behind the arc, made it 34-27 with 4 minutes remaining. Bader made three of Oakland's final four shots of the first half, all 3-pointers, and the Grizzlies trailed 39-30 at halftime.
With only three players on its bench, Oakland played a zone defense for much of the game.
"That's what we wanted (zone) but we couldn't just fall in love with the 3," Bell said. "We weren't making them like we were last game."
Mondy, who led the NCAA in steals (100) last season, and Williams have been suspended by the team after being arrested last Thursday in Southern California. Prosecutors declined to press charges because of a lack of evidence. A woman alleged that she had been sexually assaulted by the two men. The school it would conduct an internal investigation.
It was game four of a seven-game road swing for Oakland. The Grizzlies' first home game is against Rochester College on Nov. 30th. Oakland faced its third ranked team in four games after falling earlier in the month to No. 12 North Carolina, No. 24 UCLA, and Cal from the Pac-12. The Grizzlies still have to face Indiana and No. 2 Michigan State in December.
"We put this gauntlet schedule in front of us and we had an incident," Oakland coach Greg Kampe said. "I think this team has come together, we are going to get by it, through it, and I think this team is going to have a very special year."
Kampe is in his 30th season at the helm of Oakland, the third-longest tenure behind Jim Boeheim and Mike Krzyzewski. Few has been at Gonzaga for 25 years.
Gonzaga has only lost once in the month of November at the McCarthey Athletic Center, against San Diego State on Nov. 16, 2010.