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Stockton's son allows Gonzaga to leave San Diego with victory

The SportsXchange

SAN DIEGO -- David Stockton figured San Diego would be looking for him to pass. So with the chance to hit a game-winning shot, the son of Hall of Famer John Stockton didn't hesitate.

"I made a couple of passes and I knew that when they called that time out they were going to be saying 'he's passing, so play the lane,' " Stockton said. "So I had the floater right there, and it went in, thank God."

Stockton's only basket of the game, a floater in the lane with 55.9 seconds remaining, allowed No. 7 Gonzaga to escape with a 65-63 West Coast Conference victory over San Diego on Saturday at the Jenny Craig Pavilion.

San Diego had a shot at the end to force overtime after center Kelly Olynyk missed the front end of a one-and-one with eight seconds left. But forward Elias Harris blocked San Diego forward Ken Rancifer's attempt at the buzzer to preserve the decision.

"That's a great effort," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. "This league is vastly improved and obviously San Diego is much improved from where they've been. To get through (the first half of conference play) unscathed is an accomplishment. But we've got no time to dwell on it. We've got to flip it around and start battling again."

The win allowed Gonzaga (21-2, 8-0) to extend its win streak to nine over the Toreros (11-12, 4-4). It also handed San Diego its fourth consecutive conference loss after the Toreros started their league season 4-0.

"It's a tough ending but I'm proud of our team for competing the way that they did against a team that arguably could be (Few's) best," San Diego coach Bill Grier said. "I think it showed a lot of character. I'm really proud of our group for fighting the way that they did."

Harris scored 18 points and grabbed eight rebounds for Gonzaga, while the 7-0 Olynyk finished with 15 points, eight rebounds, five of those occurring on the offensive end, three blocks and a steal.

Olynyk also hit two crucial buckets down the stretch, including the one that gave the Zags the lead for good with 3:10 remaining.

"Kelly makes it easy," Stockton said. "Kelly is the best when it comes to having a feel for the game."

Guard Gary Bell Jr. finished with 13 points for Gonzaga.

Guard Johnny Dee led San Diego with 21 points, 16 of those coming in the second half. Forward Dennis Kramer added 10 points.

"They're a great team," Dee said of the Zags. "We had a week off and coach was stressing that we had to attack Gonzaga first. If you back down, they're just going to run you over. So we attacked first and it seemed to work for the most part."

The Toreros played the Zags even in the first half until the final three minutes. That's when sophomore guard Kevin Pangos took over. Down 26-24 with three minutes left, Pangos sparked a 12-1 run by scoring all eight of his points on consecutive 3-pointers and a layup to give the Zags a 36-27 halftime lead.

Harris, who scored 13 in the first half, gave Gonzaga an early lead, hitting hit his first four shots for a 9-4 advantage less than three minutes into the game. Gonzaga increased the lead to eight before the Toreros bounced back with an 8-0 run to tie the score at 17 after Cameron Miles converted a steal into a layup with 9:09 remaining.

The two teams exchanged leads from that point until Pangos helped the Zags grab the advantage heading into intermission.

San Diego shot 47.8 percent (11 of 23) from the floor in the first half compared to 45.2 percent (14 of 31) for Gonzaga. The Zags outrebounded San Diego 18-13.

For the game, Gonzaga shot 43.9 percent (25 of 57) compared to 43.3 percent (26 of 60) for San Diego. The Toreros, however, outrebounded Gonzaga 38-33.

NOTES: Toreros coach Bill Grier spent 16 seasons at Gonzaga, the last eight as the top assistant to coach Mark Few, before becoming head coach at San Diego in 2007. ... Grier is 1-11 against the Zags, while Few is 32-3 against San Diego. ... This was the 82nd meeting between the two schools, with Gonzaga holding a commanding 61-21 advantage. ... The Zags entered the game No. 2 nationally in field goal shooting at 51.3 percent behind Creighton (52.1 percent).
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