Kevin Pangos' collegiate career arrived in a big way when he played Washington State for the first time his freshman year. His senior year was a bit more forgettable, but the Gonzaga Bulldogs still pulled through rather easily against the Washington State Cougars, 81-66.
Pangos didn't hit nine threes again. In fact, he hit zero threes. Even more, Pangos didn't score a single point in a game he played in for the first time in his entire career. He was limited with his time on the floor because of foul trouble and finished the game 0-for-6, with two assists, two steals and two turnovers.
Unfortunately for Washington State, the Zags have other players and three of them stepped up in big ways. Przemek Karnowski led all scorers with 22 points and looked like a man amongst children. Kyle Wiltjer followed it up with 21 points and Byron Wesley added 20 of the more quiet points you could see in a game.
Overall, it was a good game for Gonzaga because they won. The Zags didn't let Washington State burn them from beyond the arc and hassled DaVonte Lacy into hard earned points. Karnowski's overall game cannot be understated tonight. Tonight, he played like the prospective NBA draft pick he could be. Those are the good points.
Now it is time for the bad points. We will let Pangos slide on this one because of foul trouble and because he has done so well. But any game where your starting point guard scores zero points isn't a good game in the grand scheme of things. Outside of the three scorers mentioned above, the rest of the offense was rather dismal.
Gary Bell finished 1-for-5 from the floor as he and Kyle Dranginis were forced into ball handling duties for much of the night. Without any true point guard on the floor, the Zags offense was looking a bit uneven at times, which allowed the Cougars to keep the game closer than it should have.
Domantas Sabonis wasn't very good. He finished with seven points but turned the ball over three times. It is the second consecutive game where he has looked a bit tense, jumpy and on edge on the court. Freshman jitters are probably playing a slight role, but without Sabonis as much of a sixth man threat, Gonzaga becomes much more human.
The worst part of the night was the defense, which has been a high point of the season for much of the year. Washington State shot 52 percent from the floor, the highest for a Gonzaga opponent so far. Many of those shots came on the fast break or or just not tracking the cutting player. Even though the Cougars never really were in striking distance of taking the lead, they were able to put together runs of seven or eight points with too much ease.
Realistically, however, Gonzaga won by 15 points in a game where their point guard was non-existent because of foul troubles for much of the contest. If you ever thought the injury to Josh Perkins didn't hurt, this game had to change your mind. Gonzaga doesn't have a lot of weaknesses on the court, but if Pangos is in foul trouble, than watch out because it isn't too pretty.
Edit: Now with post-game quotes from Mark Few!!!