Four Zags were in double figures tonight as Gonzaga took down the Rainbow Warriors of Hawaii by a score of 73-54. In a game that was scheduled 'in honor' of Robert Sacre, the big man was truly exceptional for the Bulldogs tonight. Sacre had another double-double tonight for Gonzaga, something which was a rarity last season but is hopefully becoming the norm in his senior season. Rob was joined by fellow senior Marquise Carter in double figures as well as freshmen Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell.
The first half was not a whole lot of fun to watch in terms of entertainment value but Gonzaga did a very nice job defensively. While their offense sputtered shooting a shade over 30% in the opening half, the defense did a great job holding the Warriors to an equally low percent from the floor. Hawaii ended the game shooting 37% from the floor while the Zags got their FG% to 40% but overall, this wasn't a game to watch if you are a fan of explosive offensive performances.
While the Bulldogs were paced by their senior big man, it was once again the play of some freshmen that stole the show for most fans. The staff does finally seem to be letting the reins off both Gary Bell and Kevin Pangos. Both played nearly 30 minutes in the Zag win and continue to impress. While each player has had their moments where they have looked tentative, tonight was the first time when I saw them both be completely comfortable on the court. Bell is going to be a special one. While he is still settling for the outside jump shot too often, he shows flashes of becoming an exceptional slasher. Pangos is just about everything you want in a point guard. He's extremely deliberate with the ball and is very fearless. Both have just been outstanding.
I think tonight was probably the minute distribution we can expect for the balance of the season. The Mike Hart debate aside, I think it is clear that Bell and Pangos need these kind of minutes. Once this team gets Guy Landry Edi back, the sky could truly the limit.
One thing that has been truly fun to watch is how many foul shots this team continues to rack up. Gonzaga only committed 11 team fouls vs. 27 for Hawaii. This resulted in 28 foul shots for the Zags. It is possible that the Bulldogs did get a little favoritism in Canada but if this trend keeps up, it is a very positive thing for this club.
Overall a solid win. We'll have much more on this one and as we look forward to the first big stretch for the 2011-12 team.