Bulldogs and Broncos battle in WCC affair
Santa Clara, CA – Desperate to put an end to a 13-game slide, ranked Gonzaga in West Coast Conference action at the Leavey Center tonight.
Santa Clara, which hasn't put a tally in the win column since taking down Eastern Michigan on December 29 (75-55), is winless in 12 conference games this season. Last Saturday, the team was handed an 82-67 setback by league- leading Saint Mary's-CA on the road.
As for the Bulldogs, they are the ones giving chase to the Gaels in the standings, as SMC shows a 12-1 league mark and the Zags are 10-2 heading into action tonight. Gonzaga has won three straight and seven of the last eight contests overall, thanks to a 78-59 romp over Loyola Marymount last Saturday at home.
The Bulldogs easily won the first meeting of the season between these two teams with an 82-60 score on January 7 at home, which means the all-time series now favors Gonzaga by a count of 46-30. The hosts shot 54.5 percent from the floor in that meeting, while holding the Broncos to just 38.3 percent.
Four players scored in double figures for the Bulldogs over the weekend against LMU, paced by Kevin Pangos who not only dropped in 21 points on 5-of-7 shooting behind the three-point line, but he also handed out nine assists. Elias Harris registered a double-double with 17 points and 15 rebounds, followed by Guy Landry Edi and Robert Sacre with 13 points apiece, the team finishing the evening hitting on 51.9 percent from the floor. Pangos now holds the overall scoring lead for the program with 13.9 ppg, shooting an impressive 41.1 percent behind the three-point line. Also playing well out on the perimeter is Gary Bell (9.7 ppg), who has knocked down 42.1 percent of his triples, but beyond those two there aren't too many deep threats lurking on the bench for the Bulldogs. Harris (13.2 ppg, 8.1 rpg) has done a lot to take some of the pressure off Sacre (11.8 ppg, 6.6 rpg), which means the latter might be a bit more fresh for when the postseason rolls around.
Considering the meeting was tied seven times and experienced eight lead changes, the Broncos should have been able to keep the game against the Gaels a bit closer, but that wasn't the case down the stretch. Denzel Johnson led three players in double figures for SCU with his 17 points, although he shot just 8-of-20 from the floor and didn't make it to the free-throw line a single time in 37 minutes of action. Niyi Harrison pitched in with 12 points and six rebounds and Brandon Clark added 10 points and six assists in the setback. As if the team didn't have enough troubles, leading scorer Kevin Foster (17.8 ppg) has been suspended since late last month, which means Evan Roquemore is now the active leading scorer by default with his 13.8 ppg. Foster was also the three-point specialist for the Broncos, averaging almost four conversions per game, and that's why the team has been able to average 70.6 ppg.