One of the questions often posed of mid-major powers such as Gonzaga is how they might do as members of power conferences. It looks like the Bulldogs would be a contender to win the Big 12 this season if they were a member of that league.
Sophomore guard Kevin Pangos erupted with 31 points, including seven 3-pointers to lead No. 13 Gonzaga to a 94-87 home win over Baylor. Gonzaga is off to its best start in 46 years tying the 1966-67 team at 12-1.Four of the Bulldogs' victories have come against Big 12 teams with a fifth Big 12 opponent looming in Oklahoma State on New Year's Eve.
Gonzaga has beaten Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma and West Virginia.
Pangos' best game of the season came at a great time for the Bulldogs. They needed all they could get from him to get by the Bears who kept fighting back down the stretch. Baylor was trying to win its second game in history on the road against a ranked nonconference opponent. It accomplished that feat for the first time earlier this season at Kentucky.
Pangos had scored in double digits just once in his previous four games before facing the Bears and he had made a total of eight-3-pointers in the previous six games. He seemed to be going through a bit of a sophomore slump prior to Friday, having scored in double figures only six times this season. He was held to single-digit scoring totals in just seven games his entire freshman season when he was named WCC Newcomer of the Year.
The seven 3-pointers and 31 points were just shy of his career marks set in his second college game last season against Washington State when he tied the Gonzaga school record with nine 3-pointers, scoring 33 points.
Gonzaga looks like it is putting together a special season. A 14th consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament seems assured. The Bulldogs might not have many more losses on their resume by the time March arrives, especially if they can get through the next six games relatively unscathed. They will be on the road in five of those contests, including the trip to Stillwater, Okla., to face Oklahoma State and a trip to Butler.
Coach Mark Few has never lost more than three conference games in his 13 seasons. It would be a surprise if this team broke that streak.
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