Pangos, Zags Handle BYU Test - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Pangos, Zags Handle BYU Test

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Kevin Pangos finished with 24 points, his first 20-point game since the Maui Invitational, to lead the Zags past BYU on Saturday. Kevin Pangos finished with 24 points, his first 20-point game since the Maui Invitational, to lead the Zags past BYU on Saturday.

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Kevin Pangos scored 24 points, 21 in the second half, as Gonzaga beat BYU 84-69 Saturday night.

Sam Dower Jr. added 18 points for Gonzaga (18-3, 8-1 West Coast), which has won four straight since its lone conference loss at Portland.

Gonzaga head coach Mark Few had nothing but praise for the effort of the Bulldogs, who had struggled past San Diego 59-56 Thursday.

“That was just a great win for us, a great win against a really, really good basketball team. The way they come at you on offense and on defense, and the effort they play with and just how dangerous they are — I was really, really proud of our guys for how we battled for 40 minutes to get that one,” Few said.

The loss also dropped BYU, considered one of the early-season favorites to unseat the Zags from the WCC regular-season throne, to three games behind Gonzaga in the loss column as the WCC season reached the halfway point.

Tyler Haws scored 23 points to lead BYU (13-9, 5-4), which was coming off Thursday's 114-110 triple-overtime loss at Portland. Kyle Collinsworth added 13 and Eric Mika 12 for the Cougars.

David Stockton and Gary Bell Jr. each scored 14 points for Gonzaga, which made 10 of 22 3-pointers in the game. BYU made just 2 of 11 from 3-point range.

Gonzaga shot 57.4 percent in the game and had 21 assists, seven by Pangos.

Few liked what he saw from his guard play.

“I thought David absolutely just carried us in the first half. He was the only one really courageous enough to make some plays. In the second half, the two guards that have been here and played a lot and had big play after big play in their careers, Gary and Kevin, really took over and played a great half," Few noted.

Stockton had 12 of his 14 points in the opening half, going 5-for-7 frm the field. He has five of his seven assists in the second half.

Gonzaga led 35-33 at halftime, after a relatively low scoring first half for these two teams. Both came out gunning in the second half, with the Zags jumping to a 49-42 lead on a pair of 3-pointers by Pangos.

Pangos hit two more 3-pointers as Gonzaga built a 59-52 lead. Bell added five unanswered points to push Gonzaga's lead to double digits at 64-52 with 10 minutes left.

The Cougars sank five consecutive free throws to pull within seven, but Pangos replied with his sixth 3-pointer for a 67-57 lead. Pangos, who went 1-for-5 from the field in the first half all from 3-point range, went 8-for-9 from the field in the second half, including a perfect 5-for-5 from beyond the arc.

The Zags maintained their lead the rest of the way.

In the first half, Gonzaga used a 13-3 run to build a 17-9 lead. The Cougars, although plagued by poor shooting in the early going, put together a 9-2 run to close to within 19-18.

BYU's Haws tied the score at 27 on a jumper with 3:59 left in the first.

The teams exchanged baskets the rest of the way, with Gonzaga holding a 35-33 lead at halftime. The Zags shot 50 percent in the first half, but made just 4 of 13 from 3-point range. BYU improved to 41.2 percent shooting in the first, but made just 1 of 7 from long range.

Haws, the WCC's leading scorer at 23 points per game, scored 48 points Thursday against Portland, tied for the most in a Division I game this season.

BYU came in second in the nation in scoring with an average of 88 points per game.

Gonzaga begins the second half of league play Wednesday at Santa Clara followed by a Saturday contest at San Francisco. Few said he likes what he saw from his squad through the first half of conference action.

“I told them it was a great job. We got through this first part of the league even though we were injured, we were sick, we didn’t have our full lineups, we had games where there were no students. We had all kinds of excuses and we didn’t let that affect us," Few said. "Now we are probably going to have be just as tough, or tougher, as we head out now with the majority of them on the road. Any of these teams in this league have shown they can beat us if we’re not playing as hard as we did tonight and playing with the poise and toughness that we did tonight.”

Gonzaga has won 21 consecutive home games, fourth longest streak in the nation, and is 130-8 in the McCarthey Athletic Center since it opened in 2004.

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