Wesley, Sabonis, Nunez lead No. 13 Gonzaga to 109-55 win over St. Thomas Aquinas
SPOKANE, Wash. – Gonzaga's bench players got plenty of minutes again and came through with 50 points — giving the team's reserves 157 through its first four wins.
Angel Nunez scored 24 points off the bench and Domantas Sabonis added 19 in 19 minutes to help No. 13 Gonzaga beat Division II St. Thomas Aquinas College 109-55 on Saturday night in the NIT Season Tip-Off.
Gonzaga's leading scorer, Kevin Pangos (13 points per game), didn't attempt a shot until the 4:03 mark of the first half and finished with two points.
"For me, I didn't need to," Pangos said about his 1-for-2 shooting night. "My job in this game was to get everybody else involved."
Three starters finished in double figures for Gonzaga (4-0), led by Byron Wesley with 22 points. Kyle Wiltjer had 17 points and 11 rebounds, and Przemek Karnowski scored 10. The Bulldogs made 75.9 percent of their 29 shots in the second half.
Pangos had seven assists and zero turnovers. He entered averaging 5.3 assists per game and has zero turnovers through four games.
Nunez was 3 of 4 from 3-point range and grabbed 11 rebounds. Wesley needed just 23 minutes to make eight of 10 shots.
"Angel is capable of doing that," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. "Each of those bigs are different. It was great to see him shoot the ball, and see those balls go in for him. Hopefully he's feeling pretty good about himself."
Gonzaga concluded its four-game homestand to open the season by outscoring its opponents 379-211. It's the fourth straight season the Bulldogs have started 4-0.
Matthew Lee led St. Thomas Aquinas (0-3) with 13 points. Sam Berlin, the only STAC player listed over 6-foot-6, added nine points. The Spartans were outrebounded 43-21.
Gonzaga led by 31 at halftime and started the second half on a 14-1 run, capped by back-to-back 3-pointers by Gary Bell Jr. for a 71-27 lead.
STAC tied the game at 10 on Marcus Henderson's 3-pointer. Wesley scored the next seven points during a 10-0 Bulldogs run, capped by Nunez's 3-pointer. Nunez later scored nine straight for Gonzaga during a 9-2 run that extended its lead to 31-18.
Four of STAC's eight field goals to begin the game were from behind the 3-point line to help them stay within striking distance at 31-21.
Gonzaga responded with a 15-0 run, getting points from four different players, to pull away 46-21. The Zags led 57-26 at the break.
"Sometimes in games like this, it's not easy to stick with the plan when it's coming that easy, but I thought we did a nice job," Few said. "We kept sharing the ball like we've been doing this whole week. I thought we kept up our defensive intensity, especially at the end of the first half and start of the second half."
Gonzaga has outscored its opponents 202-89 in the opening half this season — with a high of 27 from No. 22 SMU.
Wesley led Gonzaga with 18 first-half points, Nunez added 16 on 3-of-3 shooting from behind the arc, and Wiltjer had 10. The Bulldogs made 20 of 33 shots (60.6 percent) and held St. Thomas Aquinas to 10 of 28 (35.7 percent). Lee led STAC with 10 at the break.
"We just couldn't stop 'em," St. Thomas Aquinas coach Tobin Anderson said. "They scored every time down."
Pangos will play his first game at Madison Square Garden since he was in high school when Gonzaga faces Georgia on Wednesday. "I did OK, nothing special," Pangos said, looking back. "I was like 15 or something. I was pretty young."
Coach Anderson: "It was awesome. It was awesome. Yeah, and I was at Siena for two years. I've been to a lot of places and this is as good as it gets. Hopefully our guys took something away from that. Enjoying the atmosphere and enjoying big-time basketball and the culture they built here."
Gonzaga: The Bulldogs extended their win streak to 29 home games. They have won six straight regular-season games dating to last season.
St. Thomas Aquinas: The Spartans, from Sparkill, New York, play their home games at Aquinas Hall, which holds approximately 500 fans compared to Gonzaga's 6,000-seat McCarthey Athletic Center.
Gonzaga: vs. Georgia in New York on Wednesday.
St. Thomas Aquinas: at Nyack on Tuesday.