Dower leads Gonzaga past Loyola-Marymount, 86-67
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) Sam Dower Jr. scored 25 points and grabbed 15 rebounds to lead Gonzaga to an 86-67 victory over Loyola Marymount Saturday night, clinching at least a tie for the West Coast Conference regular season championship.
Brigham Young’s 60-57 victory over Saint Mary’s left both those teams four games behind Gonzaga with four games remaining. It’s the Bulldogs’ 13th regular-season title in the last 14 years.
Kevin Pangos added 17 points as the Bulldogs (23-4, 13-1 WCC) finished a season undefeated at home for the first time since 2006.
Anthony Ireland had 23 points for Loyola Marymount (11-16, 3-12), which lost its sixth straight game and 12th in the last 13 outings.
LMU’s Evan Payne had three baskets, including a 3-pointer, and the Lions took advantage of three Gonzaga turnovers in the opening minutes before the Bulldogs put together a 13-2 run, with Pangos making a pair of 3-pointers.
Dower and Przemek Karnowski combined for eight points in a 10-0 Gonzaga burst that allowed the Bulldogs to ease out to a 45-31 halftime lead.
Back-to-back baskets by Gabe Levin helped the Lions pull within 52-44, and they were still just nine points down until Dower took over inside, scoring Gonzaga’s next 14 points.
Levin and Payne, both freshmen, finished with 17 points each for Loyola Marymount, and Ireland became the school’s No. 3 career scorer with 2,077 points behind Hank Gathers (2,490) and Terrell Lowery (2,201).
Dower’s fifth double-double of the season came on his Senior Night at Gonzaga, which was highlighted by the surprise return of former teammate Kelly Olynyk. Olynyk bypassed his senior year to enter the NBA draft, becoming the No. 1 pick of the Boston Celtics. He played in the NBA’s Rising Stars Challenge in New Orleans on Friday night before flying to Spokane to take part in the ceremony.
Gary Bell Jr. added 14 points for Gonzaga, and Karnowski scored 11. The Bulldogs shot 47 percent from the field, and outrebounded LMU 40-25.
Loyola Marymount shot 44 percent from the floor.
Gonzaga’s 24 straight victories in the McCarthey Athletic Center is the fourth longest NCAA Division I home-court winning streak. The Bulldogs have won 28 consecutive WCC home games.