Spokane, WA – Senior night came to the McCarthey Athletic Center for the Gonzaga Bulldogs’ WCC match-up versus the Loyola Marymount Lions. Senior Forward Sam Dower made the most of the occasion with a double-double and helped lead the Zags to a 86-67 victory. Dower’s 25 points and 15 rebounds was in rhythm with the Zags offensive game plan which centered on using their superior inside presence of Dower and Przemek Karnowski to dominate the Lions. The two current Zags may have been inspired by their former front-court teammate and current Boston Celtic Kelly Olynyk, who made a surprise guest appearance for senior night.
Saturday’s game at times was plagued by sloppy play from both teams and at other times looked like a face paced track meet/run-and-gun basketball shoot out. The Lions defensively tried multiple zone defenses to slow down the Zags offensively, but the Lions gave up 17 offensive rebounds to Gonzaga and were out-rebounded 40-25.The huge rebounding edge coupled with the Zags making some key defensive turnovers and loose ball plays, helped give them a big enough cushion over the Lions to control the outcome.
Gonzaga, for the second straight game had four players score in double figures. In addition to Dower’s 25 points, Kevin Pangos (17), Gary Bell (14) and Karnowski (11) all helped out. Bell and Pangos were the two main snipers for the Zags perimeter scoring. Bell went 4-of-10 (3-of-7 3PT) and Pangos shot 6-of-12 (3-of-8 3PT) on the night.
The Lions were lead in scoring by senior PG Anthony Ireland, who dropped 23 points in-spite of a defensive game plan that was designed to limit his touches and open looks. Ireland went 6-of-15 from the field and 10-of-11 from the charity stripe along with dishing out five assists. Ireland and the Lions got offensive scoring assistance from their freshman duo of Guard Evan Payne and forward Gabe Levin. Payne who is super-quick went 7-of-11 from the field to score 17 points and Levin, who has great leaping ability and a soft touch around the basket, also came up with 17 points in a losing effort.
Gonzaga now stands on top the WCC with a 13-1 conference record and 23-4 overall. The Zags will finish out their conference play with four tough road games vs. BYU, San Diego, Pacific and Saint Mary’s.
Loyola Marymount drops to 3-12 in conference play and 11-16 overall. The Lions will close out their conference schedule with three homes games vs. Pepperdine, Santa Clara and San Francisco.
Eric Stang is a Correspondent and Scout for NetScouts Basketball. Photos courtesy of Gonzaga Athletics. Ireland photo coutesy of www.examiner.com.