No. 17 Gonzaga beats Pepperdine 92-58
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP)—There wasn’t much drama in No. 17 Gonzaga’s homestand this week.
Josh Heytvelt had a career-high 28 points and 11 rebounds as Gonzaga routed Pepperdine 92-58 on Saturday night. On Thursday, the Bulldogs blew out Loyola Marymount 91-54.
“It was a great weekend,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. “We played the way we need to play against teams we are better than.”
Matt Bouldin added 16 points for Gonzaga (21-5, 12-0 West Coast Conference), which has already clinched the top seed in the conference tournament. The Bulldogs moved a step closer to a third undefeated WCC season in the past six with two league games left. The win also ensured them solo possession of a ninth consecutive regular season title.
Few said that was an accomplishment even though some critics diminish the quality of the WCC.
“It’s not like anyone else in the Northwest or the West is winning multiple conference championships,” Few said. “It feels great.”
Freshman Keion Bell scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead Pepperdine (8-20, 5-7), which has lost 16 straight to Gonzaga dating to 2002. The Waves reached 20 losses for the fourth straight season.
“We’re not ready to play them yet,” Pepperdine coach Tom Asbury said of his young team. “They are too big and physical and too experienced. We can’t compete with that.”
The Bulldogs outscored Pepperdine 58-24 in the paint. Heytvelt shot 12-for-17 from the field.
“We wanted to take advantage of them inside,” Few said.
Heytvelt had scored 25 points in Gonzaga’s first win over Pepperdine.
“Nobody can really guard him on our team,” Asbury said. “We don’t have anybody that’s physically able to defend him.”
Micah Downs added 14 points and Jeremy Pargo 12 as the Bulldogs shot 57 percent despite making only five of 20 3-pointers.
Gonzaga has overwhelmed most of its conference opponents this season, winning league games by an average margin of 20 points. Only three of its WCC wins were by less than 10 points.
Gonzaga, which has the best field-goal defense in the nation, held Pepperdine to 34 percent shooting.
The Bulldogs jumped to a 26-16 lead behind 10 points by Heytvelt. Gonzaga led 48-25 at halftime, behind 16 points each by Heytvelt and Matt Bouldin.
Heytvelt scored four baskets early in the second as the Bulldogs made eight of their first nine shots to build a 64-34 lead.
Pargo’s three assists broke a tie with legend John Stockton for fourth place on Gonzaga’s all-time assist list with 557. Stockton is the NBA career assist leader.
Gonzaga is 62-3 in the McCarthey Athletic Center since it opened in 2004.