Gonzaga's depth overwhelms Loyola Marymount in WCC rout

Forrest Lee, The Sports Exchange
The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- Little went wrong for Gonzaga in a blowout of Loyola Marymount on Thursday night, and no one was more pleased about that than Bulldogs coach Mark Few.
"We challenged our players to bottle up the passion and energy we've been playing with at home and take it on the road," Few said. "They did a great job. They played both sides of the ball very efficiently."
The seventh-ranked Bulldogs coasted to an 88-43 romp over Loyola Marymount in a West Coast Conference game before 3,952 fans at Gersten Pavilion.
Guard Gary Bell Jr. and 7-foot center Kelly Olynyk scored 15 points apiece to lead Gonzaga (20-2, 7-0 WCC) to its third win in a row since a 64-63 loss at Butler on Jan. 19. The Bulldogs' only other setback was against Illinois on Dec. 8.
"The Butler loss was tough, but we've bounced back and kind of put it behind us, said Olynyk, who also had two blocks, two steals and six rebounds. "We knew we couldn't let that get us down. I think we've been improving every game, defensively and offensively. Some guys from the bench have stepped up, and it's been huge for us."
Gonzaga's bench produced 47 points -- more than Loyola Marymount's full-team total.
Bulldogs forward Sam Dower and guard Drew Barham came off the bench to score 13 points apiece.
"We pushed the ball and had 24 assists on 31 baskets, so we did a really good ball of passing and sharing the ball," Few said. "We did a great job of feeding the hot hand.
"The bench has been strong all year. The hard thing is giving them as much (playing time) as they deserve. They all bring something different to the table. We have great depth and balance. We don't drop off when we do go to (the bench)."
Loyola Marymount (8-13, 1-7) dropped its fifth straight.
"They are one of the most balanced teams I have seen," Lions coach Max Good said of the Bulldogs. "So many guys can come out and hurt you. And when they are hitting from the outside like that, they are very dangerous. They really are one of the best teams in the nation I have seen."
Lions guard Anthony Ireland, who hit five of 10 3-point attempts, finished with a game-high 19 points. Ireland hit six of 14 shots from the field overall, but his teammates made just eight of 32. No other Loyola Marymount player managed to score in double figures.
"We are not doing what we need to on offense to get the right shot," Good said. "We have no confidence right now offensively, and Gonzaga really exposed that."
After a 3-pointer by Ireland cut Gonzaga's lead to 19-14 with 10:38 remaining, the Bulldogs went on a 27-4 spurt to end the half with a 46-18 advantage.
Bell, who entered the night averaging 8.6 points per game, scored all of his points in the first half by converting five of six 3-point attempts.
"Gary can do that. He did that a lot last year, so it wasn't a surprise to anyone on the team," Few said. "They were all good looks. When he's toed up, I always think it's going in."
Dower, who finished the night with six rebounds, scored nine points in the first half.
Gonzaga hit eight of 13 attempts from behind the arc (61.5 percent) in the first half, while the Lions made just four of 13 (30.8 percent) from long distance before intermission.
Overall, the Bulldogs made 16 of 28 first-half shot attempts (57.1 percent) while limiting the Lions to 6-for-25 shooting (24 percent).
For the game, Gonzaga shot 54.4 percent, while Loyola Marymount hit just 25 percent of its shots.
Gonzaga also posted a considerable edge in the rebounding department before halftime, 22-12. Eight of the Bulldogs' first-half boards came on the offensive end.
Bulldogs reserve Przemek Karnowski finished with a game-high eight rebounds, helping Gonzaga post a 46-31 rebounding advantage.
NOTES: The Bulldogs have claimed wins in 35 of their past 38 contests with the Lions. ... Gonzaga has recorded double-digit wins in each of its past four conference games. ... Seventeen scouts, including representatives from the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Golden State Warriors and Utah Jazz, attended the game.

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