Gonzaga rolls past Pepperdine
Malibu, CA – Elias Harris scored 18 points and pulled down six boards as the 10th-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs used a strong second half to down Pepperdine, 78-62, to open up West Coast Conference play.
Kelly Olynyk followed with 16 points, while Kevin Pangos and David Stockton each poured in nine for the Bulldogs (14-1, 1-0 WCC), who recorded their 23rd straight triumph over Pepperdine.
After posting their best record in non-conference play since the 2004-05 campaign, the Waves (8-6, 0-1) couldn't keep up with the ranked Bulldogs.
Lorne Jackson posted 16 points and Jordan Baker tallied 15 in the setback.
Trailing by four to start the second half, Pepperdine got quick scores from Jan Maehlen and Caleb Willis to draw even at 30-30. They then took a brief 36-35 edge following a Stacy Davis layup, but Gonzaga responded with eight straight points.
Pangos, who shot 0-for-6 in the first half, knocked down a shot from beyond the arc and Olynyk followed with a three-point play to highlight the stretch, which gave the Bulldogs a 43-36 lead.
Pepperdine put together several short rallies, but Gonzaga continued to counter, and Pangos' triple gave the Bulldogs a double-digit cushion at 57-47 that the Waves could not overcome.
After Gary Bell Jr. and Olynyk each hit a pair of free throws to push the advantage to 12 with 5:44 to go, the Waves never came closer than 10 points the rest of the way.
In a slow start to the scoring, Pepperdine grabbed a 14-6 edge almost eight minutes into the contest. Gonzaga drew even after Przemek Karnowski scored five during an 8-0 Bulldogs run.
Baker drained a triple to put the Waves ahead 21-19 at the 7:01 mark, but they failed to hit another field goal for the rest of the half.
Bell stroked a 3-pointer to put the Bulldogs on top 28-23, but fouled Nikolas Skouen from beyond the arc with 1:38 left in the period. Skouen sank all three free throws, and an Olynyk jumper with under a minute remaining sent Gonzaga into halftime with a 30-26 edge.
Gonzaga holds a 43-31 edge in the all-time series ... Pepperdine has dropped 20 consecutive contests against Top-25 opponents, with 11 of those losses coming against Gonzaga ... Jackson has scored in double-figures for the Waves in all 14 of their contests.