No. 6 Gonzaga beats San Francisco 88-57
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) It had been more than three weeks since No. 6 Gonzaga played in Spokane, and star guard Kevin Pangos was enjoying the comforts of home.
”It was kind of relaxing,” Pangos said after scoring 17 points to help Gonzaga beat San Francisco 88-57 on Thursday night for its eighth straight victory.
”We were not in a bus, a hotel and back on a bus,” he said. ”It was peaceful, you could say.”
Only for the Zags.
San Francisco stayed close for the first 25 minutes, but Gonzaga took control by going on a 16-2 run while holding the Dons without a field goal for 5 minutes.
”We can’t bring our B game, our C game, against a team like Gonzaga,” San Francisco coach Rex Walters said. ”We just didn’t play well tonight.”
Przemek Karnowski scored 16 points and Kyle Wiltjer had 15 for the Bulldogs (15-1, 4-0 West Coast Conference), whose only loss was at No. 7 Arizona.
Gonzaga coach Mark Few said Karnowski, a 7-foot-1 center, has been playing good basketball. Karnowski made seven of 10 field goals and both his free throws on Thursday.
”Shem has done a nice job in the last month,” Few said. ”He’s taking shots on his terms.”
”Shem is playing like the big man on the floor,” Pangos added.
Kruize Pinkins scored 20 for San Francisco (7-10, 1-4), which has dropped four straight. Devin Watson added 11 points.
Gonzaga, which made 12 3-pointers, shot 52 percent from the floor and won the rebound battle 39-26. San Francisco shot 41 percent.
In the decisive second half, Gonzaga shot 60 percent while holding the Dons to 37 percent.
”We got some stops,” said Pangos, who was 5 of 8 on 3-pointers and handed out five assists.
Gonzaga has beaten San Francisco 26 consecutive times in Spokane, dating to 1989. The Dons’ last win in the series came in 2012.
The Zags also have a 33-game home winning streak, second in the nation behind Duke’s 41 victories.
San Francisco built an 11-7 lead as Gonzaga made just three of its first 11 shots. Wiltjer then hit a trio of 3-pointers in just more than two minutes as Gonzaga took a 21-12 lead.
Pinkins’ 3-pointer capped a 9-4 run that brought San Francisco to 25-21. But a pair of inside baskets and two free throws by Karnowski pushed Gonzaga’s lead to 10 as the Dons went into a 4-minute scoring drought.
”We will not blow people out in the first 5 or 10 minutes,” Few said.
Gonzaga led 37-27 at halftime behind 11 points from Wiltjer and 10 by Karnowski. Pinkins led San Francisco with 13 points in the first half.
Gonzaga’s halftime lead held up early in the second half as the teams traded baskets. Corey Hilliard’s 3-pointer brought the Dons to 44-37, but Karnowski replied with a basket.
Then the Bulldogs kicked it into gear, launching a 16-2 run to build a 62-41 lead. Pangos hit a 3 for the final basket of the spurt.
San Francisco did not threaten after that.
San Francisco shot 20 of 49 and had only eight assists against 13 turnovers. Gonzaga had 19 assists and seven turnovers.
San Francisco: Walters was last year’s WCC coach of the year. … Mark Tollefsen and Pinkins both average 15 points per game. … Tim Derksen is hitting 48 percent of his 3-point tries this season, but did not even attempt one Thursday.
Gonzaga: The Bulldogs played their first game at home since Dec. 15. … Eric McClellan, a transfer from Vanderbilt, became eligible to play in this game, but will be sidelined for several more weeks with a foot injury. … Gonzaga has avenged all three of its conference road losses from last season, with wins at BYU, San Diego and Portland. … Karnowski is the reigning WCC player of the week.
San Francisco plays at Portland on Saturday.
Gonzaga hosts Santa Clara on Saturday.