Pacific loses 86-64 at No. 24 Gonzaga
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP)
Pacific looked shell-shocked in the first half against No. 24 Gonzaga.
The Tigers fell behind by double digits in the opening minutes and struggled to stop the Zags from scoring. By the time they settled down, it was too late.
Andrew Bock and David Taylor had 10 points apiece in Pacific's 86-64 loss Saturday night.
''They looked nervous shooting in here,'' Pacific coach Ron Verlin said of his team. ''Maybe they were intimidated by the crowd.''
Gonzaga (14-2, 4-0 WCC) shot 69.2 percent (27 for 39) in its fourth consecutive victory. Drew Barham and Kevin Pangos scored 16 points apiece.
''Sixty nine percent is unbelievable,'' Zags coach Mark Few said.
Pacific (9-5, 0-3) returned to the conference this season after leaving in 1971.
Gonzaga built a big first-half lead, and then frittered much of it away when Pacific got hot in the second half.
Gonzaga went 10 of 13 from 3-point range. Pacific shot 31.7 percent, but made 10 of 25 3-pointers, most in the second half.
The Zags made their first six shots, including four 3-pointers, to jump to a 19-5 lead. Barham hit three of those 3-pointers.
''They say shoot when you are open,'' Barham said. ''I'm a shooter and the basket was a mile wide.''
Gerard Coleman hit Gonzaga's fifth 3-pointer for a 29-11 lead with 11:35 left in the first half.
Gonzaga led 46-25 at halftime, after shooting 14 of 22 (63 percent). Pacific was 7 of 28 in the half.
''We're flying at people with our hands up,'' Barham said of Gonzaga's solid defensive performance in the four WCC games, in which it has held all four opponents to 64 or fewer points.
The Tigers shot much better to open the second half, but still trailed 57-35. Then Trevin Harris hit a 3-pointer to launch a 15-1 run that cut Gonzaga's lead to single digits. Consecutive 3-pointers by Taylor and Tony Gill made it 58-50 with 12:23 left.
''Our ball pressure increased, we got some steals and we made some shots,'' said Verlin, who is in his first season after replacing Bob Thomason, who retired.
But the Zags responded to the challenge and began to pull away again. Stockton's 3-pointer made it 76-59.
''They are big and long,'' Verlin said. ''They were challenging our shots.''
The game concluded an unusual stretch in which Gonzaga played four conference home games over eight days. The Zags don't play at home again until Jan. 23. The series of games coincided with a string of injuries that struck three of the Zags' starters, but didn't slow the team down much.
''I couldn't be prouder of this group,'' Few said. ''They really, really responded.''
Gonzaga has not lost a WCC game at home since 2011. The Zags are 67-2 in WCC home games since the McCarthey Athletic Center opened in 2004.