Sabonis, Karnowski lead No. 3 Gonzaga past Portland 64-46
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) Kevin Pangos launched a long 3-pointer that missed early in the second half against Portland.
But third-ranked Gonzaga rebounded the ball and it came back out to Pangos, who shot from about the same place and sank that 3 to help break open a close game and lift the Bulldogs to a 64-46 victory Thursday night.
”He’s an amazing player and a more amazing person,” coach Mark Few said of Pangos, who became the leading 3-point shooter in school history earlier in the game.
Few noted that Pangos practices his shooting every night, long after practice has ended.
”There’s a reason this happens,” Few said. ”He comes down here every single night.”
Domantas Sabonis had 13 points and 11 rebounds as the Bulldogs extended the nation’s longest home winning streak to 37 games dating to 2012.
Przemek Karnowski added 10 points and 11 rebounds for Gonzaga (21-1, 10-0 West Coast Conference), whose only loss was in overtime at then-No. 3 Arizona. It is the best start in program history.
Kyle Wiltjer scored 11 points and Pangos had 10 for Gonzaga, which has won 14 straight games and beaten Portland in 37 of their last 39 meetings.
Bryce Pressley and Bobby Sharp each scored nine points to lead Portland (12-10, 3-7), which has lost five of six. The Pilots shot just 30 percent (18 of 61) in the game, 22.6 percent in the second half.
The Zags broke open a tight game with a 21-2 run midway through the second half while holding Portland without a field goal for more than 12 minutes.
”We started breaking down defensively, and they kept defending,” Portland coach Eric Reveno said. ”It was the cumulative effect of the way they challenged us.”
The Zags lead the nation in field goal shooting at 53.3 percent, but shot just 41 percent against the Pilots.
”We’ve had games where the defense has won it for us,” Few said. ”Tonight we were not using each other and were taking (shots) early.
”We did not move and share it like we have this year,” he added.
Portland stayed close in the first half and trailed only 31-25 at halftime.
The Zags led 35-29 early in the second, as both teams struggled to make baskets.
Then Gonzaga found the range. A hook shot by Karnowski launched a 21-2 run that lifted the Bulldogs to a 56-31 lead. Pangos followed with a long 3-pointer, his third of the game, and that seemed to spark the Zags.
Portland made just two of 20 shots to open the second half and was held without a field goal for 12 1/2 minutes during the run.
The Pilots did not challenge after that.
Both teams started cold from the floor and Gonzaga led just 17-15 midway through the first half. Pressley sank three 3-pointers to keep the Pilots close.
Portland’s Kevin Bailey hit a bank shot to tie the score at 19. Philipp Harwich’s layup put the Pilots ahead 21-20.
Sabonis replied with a short jumper to put the Zags on top.
Pangos hit a late 3-pointer to put Gonzaga up 31-25 at halftime. Gonzaga shot just 42.9 percent in the first half, while the Pilots sank only 36.7 percent (11 of 30) of their shots.
Portland: Volodymyr Gerun had 15 rebounds. … Portland went 9-3 in non-conference games but has struggled in league play. … The Pilots lead opponents in rebounding by an average of five per game, but lost the battle on the glass 47-39. … Bailey averages 14.1 points per game to lead the Pilots. … Portland has never defeated a top-10 team.
Gonzaga: Pangos’ early 3-pointer broke the school’s career record of 288 set by Blake Stepp. … Gonzaga opened 10-0 in WCC play for the sixth time under Few. … Gonzaga became the first Division I team to win 20 games this season, the 18th consecutive year the Zags have won at least 20.
Portland plays at San Francisco next Thursday.
Gonzaga hosts Memphis on Saturday.