Gonzaga thrashes UC Riverside for third win

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SPOKANE, Wash. (AP)—Matt Bouldin poured ice down Jeremy Pargo’s back in the Gonzaga locker room after Saturday’s win over UC Riverside.

It was perhaps the only time someone on the No. 14 Gonzaga team was cold all night.

Four players scored in double figures and the Bulldogs (3-0) shot 64 percent in the second half to trounce UC Riverside 84-48.

It was Gonzaga’s third blowout win in a row, and they are holding opponents to just 48 points per game.

“We sustained great effort the whole game,” said Pargo, who scored 13 points.

The Zags only allowed UC Riverside to get close a couple of times in the first half before blowing the game open with a 25-5 run over the first and second halves that buried the Highlanders (0-4).

Freshman Austin Daye scored 16 points to lead Gonzaga in scoring for the third straight game. Abdullahi Kuso added 13 points and freshman Robert Sacre 12 for a Gonzaga team that is showing depth even though star Josh Heytvelt is out with a foot injury. Ten different Zags scored.

Larry Cunningham led UC Riverside (0-4) with 11 points. Sean Cunningham and Severin Gates added nine points each.

The Highlanders shot only 37 percent in the game, while Gonzaga was making 52 percent of its shots. Gonzaga also forced 17 turnovers, and blocked seven shots.

Riverside scored the first basket of the game, but Gonzaga raced to a 17-6 lead against the smaller Highlanders.

Riverside closed to 25-17, but two baskets by Kuso rebuilt a 29-17 lead for the Zags.

The Highlanders then scored seven points in a row to close to 29-24 with 2:41 left. It was their last gasp.

The Zags scored the final nine points of the half to take a 38-24 lead into the break. They outscored the Highlanders 16-5 in the opening minutes of the second half for a 54-29 lead that sealed the win.

“We didn’t have the ability to sustain it,” Riverside coach Jim Woolridge said of his team’s run.

“As much talent as they (Gonzaga) have, they play well together and they play hard,” Woolridge said. “Their level of intensity remained high and they broke us.”

Gonzaga made 21 of 26 free throws in the game, while the Highlanders made just 6-of-9.

The Zags also outrebounded them 38-25.

Gonzaga is 42-1 at the McCarthey Athletic Center since it opened in 2004.

The Zags next play in the Great Alaska Shootout on Thursday against Western Kentucky.

After opening with big wins over Montana, Idaho and Riverside, the level of opposition will rise in Alaska.

“We’ll be playing Top 20 caliber teams up there,” coach Mark Few said.

So far this season, Few said he is most surprised by the play of Daye, a 6-foot-10 freshman from Irvine, Calif., who has scored 20, 18 and 16 points in his three college outings. Daye is obviously not having problems adapting to the college game.

“You march him out in a game and if the lights are on, he is dialed in,” Few said.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 UC Riverside
S. Gates S. Gates
4-7,  9 Pts
2 Rebs, 0 Assists
A. Daye A. Daye
4-8,  16 Pts
2 Rebs, 3 Assists

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Saturday, Nov 17