#3 Gonzaga to take on Portland for the second time


Gonzaga comes into this game as the only team in all of the NCAA with 20 wins this season.  On Thursday, January 29 the Zags will look to extend the longest home winning streak in the nation against the Portland Pilots. These teams last met on January 3.  Gonzaga was victorious by a score of 87-75.

Nov 18, 2013; East Lansing, MI, USA; Portland Pilots guard Alec Wintering (2) shoots the ball against the Michigan State Spartans during the first half at Jack Breslin Student Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

The Zags are firing on all cylinders.  They are coming off of a 91-60 win over Pacific.  Gonzaga is finally getting the wins that people expect them to get in the conference.  They are infamous for playing down to teams in the conference and keeping games closer than expected.  This is not the case lately.  Ever since only beating Pepperdine (who is a great team) by two points, something has clicked for the Zags.  They are playing incredible team basketball.  They are getting the ball spread around and utilizing all of their weapons.  Gonzaga is currently shooting the highest percentage of any team in the country at 53.3%.

It is important to note that Kevin Pangos only needs to make one more three pointer in order to break the record for most threes made in a Gonzaga career.  This is extremely likely to happen in this game.  This will be exciting, especially since it will be in front of a rabid home crowd.  Pangos is shooting an incredible 47% from three point range this season.

Eric McClellan has played two games so far, but he has been quite limited. He saw a bit more playing time against Pacific last Saturday.  He has shown flashes of speed when driving to the basket.  I’m just waiting for him to go off any day now.  Could this be his big game?  It’s possible, but difficult to predict.

More from West Coast Convo

Portland is struggling this season.  They are 3-6 in WCC play.  The last time they hit the court they lost to St. Mary’s 74-64.  Sophomore guard, Alec Wintering is having a good season.  He averages 13.2 points per game and 5.6 assists per game.  I mentioned that Kevin Pangos is shooting a high three point percentage earlier.  Wintering is also shooting well from behind the arc.  He’s shooting 51.1% from three this season.  Gonzaga’s biggest weakness is perimeter defense.  They will definitely have to key on Wintering.

Senior guard, Kevin Bailey is averaging 13.1 points per game this season.  Portland’s backcourt tandem is good.  They will have to really step up if they want to beat the Zags.

I expect a big win from Gonzaga.  They will look to keep their momentum and remain undefeated in conference play.