Zags Continue to Cruise, Crush the USF Dons 88-57


The Zags played their first home game of conference play beating San Francisco 88-57.  School is still out at Gonzaga, so there were not many students, but the McCarthy Athletic Center was still packed.

With this win, the Bulldogs moved up to first place in the West Coast Conference and find themselves on an eight game winning streak.  On the other hand, the Dons have now lost four games in a row and are in the midst of a three game road trip.  They are set to head to Portland to face the Pilots on Saturday.

Gonzaga continued its unselfish play as eight players had assists and 10 players had at least a point.  Kevin Pangos had a game high five assists.  He had great vision all game and seemed to find the open player every time he came down the court.  He also added 17 points and three rebounds.

Gonzaga’s bigs proved to be too much to handle for San Francisco’s defense.  Przemek Kanowski had 16 points and Kyle Wiltjer finished with 15.  Domantas Sabonis was a monster on the boards, hauling in nine rebounds.  He also added seven points.

For the Dons, Kruize Pinkins had a game high 20 points, but it was not

Jan 8, 2015; Spokane, WA, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) puts up a shot against San Francisco Dons forward Kruize Pinkins (15) during the second half at McCarthey Athletic Center. Bulldogs won 88-57. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

quite enough to lift the team over the Zags.  Mark Tollefsen was limited to only five points.  Kyle Wiltjer played good defense on Tollefsen all night.  It was an exciting matchup to watch as two of the WCC’s best went head to head.

The Zags continue to play surprisingly tenacious, energetic defense, which is a major improvement from past years.  It will be important for this to continue down the stretch, especially into the conference and NCAA tournaments.

Gonzaga will look to keep this momentum as they will take on Santa Clara in Spokane on Saturday.

Impact on San Francisco (Mary Harvill)

The Dons stayed with the Zags in the first half, showing great patience and intelligence in their shot making, even rebounding the ball aggressively. Kruize Pinkins was the first Don to put points on the board and the leading scorer for the team with 20 points in the game. Starting freshman point guard Devin Watson’s ability to penetrate under the basket and distribute the ball was crucial. Watson was the second leading scorer for the team with 11 points in the game.

Jan 8, 2015; Spokane, WA, USA; San Francisco Dons guard Devin Watson (21) puts up a shot against the Gonzaga Bulldogs during the first half at McCarthey Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

As the Dons double teamed Przemek “Shem” Karnowski to slow down the big man under the basket, they left Kevin Pangos wide open from the 3 point arc. Big mistake. Both Karnowsi and Pangos were successful in dropping basket after basket into the net over and over again.

Coach Walters was careful to rotate players in and out to keep fuel in the tanks of his players. Facing a talented and deep team like Gonzaga warrants that. Gonzaga loses nothing on the floor with its substitutions which wears its opponents down even more. Nearly all of USF’s roster had points and minutes in the game. USF as a whole played well together as a team. If the Dons weren’t playing the sixth ranked team in the country, the outcome of this game might have been different.

The Dons travel to Portland to play the Pilots at a 1pm matinee game on Saturday, January 10, 2015. Portland will be looking to avenge their 2014 OT loss to USF at the Chiles Center. The game against Gonzaga was a very good tune up for the Dons

to ready themselves for Portland.