After completely humiliating rival Saint Mary's, you couldn't be too upset if Gonzaga experienced a bit of a letdown tonight against Pacific. Instead, the Zags came out and absolutely lit up the visiting Tigers and built a 15 point lead before we could blink. It was Drew Barham that did most of the early damage for the Zags as he drained several quick threes and the rest of the Bulldogs followed suit. With the win, Gonzaga moves to 14-2 on the season and 4-0 in conference play. More importantly, it is the end of a pretty brutal four game stretch in which the Zags played four games in seven days including the first showdown with Saint Mary's.
It was a very hot start for the Bulldogs tonight as they built a double digit lead about as quickly as it was humanly possible. Drew Barham's three early three-point makes led the way but Kevin Pangos and the rest of the club followed up with some production of their own. Gonzaga's defense was also very solid early on in the first half and Pacific didn't do much on their end to make it much of a contest. In the first half, the Tigers shot a woeful 25% from the field and made just one of their attempts from beyond the arc.
One of the other silver linings from the first half was the increased comfortability of Sam Dower following his injury against Kansas State. Dower had eight points in the first half and 13 in total for the game and he looked much more fluid out there. Coach Few gave him the start in the second half, replacing the hot shooting Drew Barham. While the defensive cohesiveness did seem to suffer a bit with both him and Przemek Karnowksi in the lineup, the two did work well together on the offensive end.
Speaking of Przemek Karnowski, the big man for the Zags continues to grow into his role. Tonight he finished with 9 points, 8 rebounds, and 2 blocks. He really struggled from the free throw line, going 5-15 from the stripe but he just seems far more comfortable in the offense than he was earlier this year. David Stockton, Kevin Pangos, and Kyle Dranginis all made big contributions as well. Stockton had 15 points and 5 assists, Pangos had 16 points and 5 rebounds, and Dranginis had 8 points, 7 assists, and 7 rebounds.
Gonzaga did struggle with defending the three-point shot as the Tigers hit ten shots from deep, nine of which I believe came in the second half. Some of it may be attributable to fatigue from playing four games in seven days but, given the Zags' issues in the past, seeing so many open threes is definitely concerning. For now, the Zags get a few days off before hitting the road for a few weeks. Next up is Portland