Gonzaga, Pangos shoot down SMU in matchup of ranked teams
Kevin Pangos said playing good defense was also good for No. 13 Gonzaga’s offense.
Pangos made five 3-pointers and scored 17 points as Gonzaga shut down No. 22 SMU 72-56 on Monday night.
"We defended them really well and it helped us turn that into buckets," said Pangos, who added seven assists and five rebounds in his 33 minutes.
Domantas Sabonis added 13 points and 9 rebounds for Gonzaga (2-0) whose defense especially stymied the Mustangs in the second half.
"That’s going to be a great win for us," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. "It will serve us well in March."
"You had two high level teams slugging it out and adjusting to each other," Few said.
Gonzaga adjusted better, holding SMU to 24 percent shooting in the second half to seal the win.
"We were playing hard and playing physical," Few said. "In the second half we did a nice job of adjusting our zone a little bit."
Ben Moore scored 11 points and Nic Moore 10 for SMU (1-1), which is in its third season under Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown.
"They punched us in the nose in the first half and we didn’t respond very well," Brown said. "Their effort and execution was so much better."
Brown said Gonzaga is as good as advertised this season.
"They’re deep. They’ve got great guard play. They’ve got depth and size," Brown said. "I love `em."
This was the first meeting between the programs.
The Mustangs shot just 31 percent, making 19 of 61 shots in the game.
Gonzaga, which scored 104 points in its season opening win over Sacramento State, shot a modest 45 percent against SMU. But they made 10 of 24 3-pointers to stay in control.
Gonzaga led by 10 at halftime, and maintained that lead in the early going of the second half behind a pair of 3-pointers by Pangos.
After Keith Frazier’s 3-pointer for SMU cut the Gonzaga lead to eight, the Zags scored seven straight points to build a 50-35 advantage with 14 minutes left.
SMU hit a free throw then Gonzaga scored six straight points to put the game out of reach with 12 minutes left.
In the first half, Pangos scored 11 points as Gonzaga took a 20-15 lead. Przemek Karnowski’s basket pushed the Gonzaga lead to 27-15, as SMU was scoreless for nearly 4 minutes.
Gonzaga led 37-27 at halftime, after holding SMU to 39 percent shooting and out-rebounding the Mustangs 22-12.
SMU was 27-10 last season and reached the NIT championship game.
Gonzaga went 29-7 last season and lost in the third round of the NCAA tournament.
This game was part of ESPN’s Tip-Off Marathon.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"You are seeing a healthy Kevin. He’s a different guy out there," said Gonzaga coach Mark Few of Pangos, who was slowed by injuries much of last season.
SMU: Will host Gonzaga next season. … Junior guard Nic Moore was named to the Wooden Award Preseason Top 50, given to the top player in the nation. … SMU was 4-3 against ranked opponents last season. … SMU held Lamar to 31.4 percent shooting in the season opener.
Gonzaga: Gonzaga is 137-8 in the McCarthey Athletic Center, which opened 10 years ago … Pangos was named to the Wooden Award Preseason Top 50. Few’s .802 winning percentage is the best among all active coaches. Friday’s 104-58 win over Sacramento State was the third straight season in which Gonzaga opened by scoring at least 100 points . … Gonzaga is now 6-12 all-time against ranked opponents at home.
SMU: plays at Indiana on Thursday.
Gonzaga: hosts Saint Joseph’s on Wednesday.