Hot Start, Solid Finish Leads No. 24 Zags Past Pacific - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Hot Start, Solid Finish Leads No. 24 Zags Past Pacific

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Drew Barham lead Gonzaga with 16 points, going 4-of-5 from downtown. Drew Barham lead Gonzaga with 16 points, going 4-of-5 from downtown.
SPOKANE, Wash. -- The Gonzaga University men's basketball team jumped out to an early lead in the first half and didn't look back as the No. 24 Bulldogs remained undefeated in West Coast Conference play with the 86-64 win over Pacific on Saturday, Jan. 4, at the McCarthey Athletic Center. 

Senior forward Drew Barham scored 12 points in the first 10 minutes of the game going 3-of-3 from downtown in that span as the Zags (14-2, 4-0 WCC) came out with guns blazing and kept a 20-plus point lead for much of the first half. Barham finished with 16 points and went 4-of-5 in the beyond the arc.

Senior center Sam Dower Jr. increased his minutes from Thursday's win over Saint Mary's while he was still dealing with a lower-back injury, the 6-foot-9 big man rode the stationary bike on the sideline while not playing to stay loose.

"It was great to get Sam in their," Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said. "We needed him. We got in some foul trouble and they play a little bit more with two traditional big's and they're a physical rebounding team and we needed to play a little bit more with two big's. He responded when we needed him."

Dower Jr. made an impact with 13 points and 7 rebounds in 20 minutes played, sophomore center Przemek Karnowski continued his near double-double performances with 9 points and 8 boards, and the Zags owned the paint for the majority of the game thanks to their solid play.

Pacific (9-5, 0-3) couldn't achieve any consistency from the field in the first half, even though Gonzaga only out rebounded the Tigers 21-18 at the break, they failed to capitalize on second chance points leading to a 46-25 Bulldog lead at halftime. 

Pacific was able to open up the second half in better shooting form and went basket-for-basket with the Zags for the first few minutes. The Tigers took advantage of multiple GU turnovers, cutting the lead to 8 points, 58-50, with just just under 13 minutes left in the game. 

The streak didn't last long as the Zags righted the ship thanks to a 9-0 run of their own over the next couple of minutes, igniting the Kennel faithful in the process. Junior guard Kevin Pangos lead the charge, scoring five of his 16 points in that span. 

Both teams went back and forth, with Gonzaga maintaining a 14 point lead after its run. At the 7:00 minute mark the Tigers hot hand began to go cold and the Bulldogs began to extend their lead as the game came to a close. Pacific only had three second half rebounds as the Zags cleaned up around the glass in the frame.

Andrew Bock and David Taylor each scored 10 points to lead Pacific, they were the only Tigers to score in double digits. Meanwhile, the Zags had four players with 10 or more--Barham, Dower Jr., Pangos and David Stockton. 

"It was a great effort, that's a good basketball team and to hold them to 31-percent shooting and for us to shoot 69(-percent)," Few said, "And to beat them on the glass, like I said they're a very physical team. I'm just proud as heck of my guys. This has been a really, really hard week with four games in seven days. They really responded well with significant injuries, and significant guys out, guys sick, and guys injured and playing a lot of minutes. I couldn't be prouder of a group, a great way to end a four-game homestand."
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