Pacific-Gonzaga Preview

The Associated Press

Injuries to top players have not prevented Gonzaga from maintaining its dominance within the West Coast Conference.

The No. 24 Bulldogs look to continue that success Saturday night while trying to keep visiting Pacific winless in conference play.

Despite starting guard Gary Bell Jr. being out with a broken hand, leading scorer Kevin Pangos nursing a sore toe and 6-foot-9 Sam Dower limited by a back injury, Gonzaga rolled to a 73-51 home victory over league rival Saint Mary's on Thursday. The Bulldogs (13-2, 3-0) held the Gaels to season lows for points and field-goal shooting (31.9 percent).

"We stick together like a family," said 7-foot-1 Przemek Karnowski, who had 15 points, nine rebounds and a career-high seven blocks. "Everyone has to step up a little bit."

The Bulldogs have won 21 straight against WCC opponents, including three this season as they've limited Santa Clara, San Francisco and Saint Mary's to an average of 50.7 points on 34.6 percent shooting.

Bell, injured last Saturday against Santa Clara, is sidelined four to six weeks. He's averaging 12.7 points to tie for second on the team with Dower, who also grabs 6.3 rebounds per game but played only seven minutes Thursday. He missed the previous two contests.

Pangos, averaging 17.5 points, shook off his injury to record 15 points, eight rebounds and four assists in 34 minutes. Louisville transfer Angel Nunez added 13 points and eight boards in 14 minutes for Gonzaga, which shot 49.0 percent.

Saint Mary's arrived in Spokane shooting 43.3 percent from 3-point range but went 1 of 12 against the Bulldogs.

"It was probably our best all-around effort of the whole year," coach Mark Few said.

Few continues to get production from Karnowski, who has averaged 12.3 points and 8.8 rebounds in the last six contests. He topped his previous career high of three blocked shots with five in the first half Thursday.

"I was happy I was able to give my effort for the team," Karnowski said.

Gonzaga has won 22 consecutive league contests at the McCarthey Athletic Center and is riding a 35-game home winning streak against unranked opponents.

That run includes last season's 85-67 win over Pacific (9-4, 0-2). Dower posted game highs of 18 points and nine rebounds as the Bulldogs improved to 3-1 against the Tigers.

Back in the WCC for the first time since 1971, Pacific opened conference play with a pair of eight-point losses to Saint Mary's and Portland. The Tigers shot a season-low 32.9 percent while falling for the third time in four games Thursday, 72-64 to the Pilots.

Sama Taku averages a team-leading 12.4 points and has totaled 36 in the last two contests. Trevin Harris had season highs of 15 points and nine boards Thursday. He scored 11 at Gonzaga last season while Taku was held to three on 1-of-6 shooting.

Pacific fell 85-62 at then-No. 14 Oregon on Nov. 29 in its only game against a Top 25 team this season and has dropped 12 straight to ranked opponents since beating then-No. 21 Providence in the 2004 NCAA tournament.