Canadian-born guard Kevin Pangos had a memorable offensive performance in just his second game at Gonzaga. The freshman hopes his hot shooting continues when the Bulldogs travel to his home country for their next contest.
Playing outside of the United States for the first time in 45 years, No. 22 Gonzaga looks to remain undefeated Saturday night when it faces Hawaii in the B.C. Classic in Vancouver.
One of Gonzaga's top recruits, Pangos became an instant hero to Bulldog fans after he tied Dan Dickau's school record by making nine of 13 3-point attempts and finishing with 33 points in his first collegiate start Monday, an 89-81 home win over Washington State.
After Pangos scored 11 points and took four shots in 27 minutes of his debut against Eastern Washington on Nov. 11, Gonzaga coaches hoped he would shoot more. Pangos has the kind of outside game needed to pick up some of the perimeter scoring void left by the graduation of Steven Gray, who shot 37.2 percent from 3-point range and averaged a team-leading 13.9 points in 2010-11.
"That's not a fluke," coach Mark Few said. "Anytime (Pangos) shoots it, it's a pretty good thing for us. He's got to realize that's his role for us."
The Bulldogs (2-0) jumped out to a 20-10 lead Monday while six of their first seven made field goals were 3-pointers - four by Pangos.
"I was just feeling it and got some open looks," he said.
Few hopes the Ontario native can stay hot from the field when the Bulldogs play outside of the U.S. for the first time since beating the University of British Columbia and St. Martin's (Wash.) in the 1966 Totem tournament in British Columbia.
Pangos is one of three Gonzaga players from Canada. This game is a true homecoming for star forward Robert Sacre, who grew up in nearby North Vancouver.
The 7-foot senior has posted double-doubles in each of the first two games. He had 15 points with 10 rebounds against Washington State as the Bulldogs managed to hold off their in-state rival despite failing to make a field goal over the final five minutes.
Despite Pangos' stellar performance, the Bulldogs shot only 41.1 percent from the field. Thanks to Sacre and Elias Harris' 11 boards, they managed to outrebound the Cougars 41-33.
Gonzaga hopes things won't be as close this weekend as it tries to improve to 3-1 versus Hawaii. The only loss came in the second round of the 1998 postseason NIT in the teams' most recent meeting.
The Warriors have dropped their last three games against Top 25 teams since beating then-No. 4 Michigan State 84-62 on Nov. 19, 2005.
Senior guard Zane Johnson went 6 of 13 from 3-point range and finished with 24 points in Hawaii's 86-67 season-opening victory over Cal State Northridge on Monday. A transfer from Arizona, Johnson averaged a team-leading 15.8 points in his first season with the Warriors in 2010-11.