Wiltjer helps No. 7 Gonzaga beat San Diego 60-48
SAN DIEGO (AP) Gonzaga was held nearly 24 points below its average, and it didn't really matter.
Kyle Wiltjer scored 10 of his 15 points in the first half and the No. 7 Bulldogs built a big enough lead to withstand a 7-minute scoring drought in the second half and beat San Diego 60-48 on Monday night.
''We have a lot of weapons and we score a lot,'' Wiltjer said. ''On nights when we're not scoring as much and the pace is like this, we've just got to be able to stop them.''
Gonzaga (13-1, 2-0 West Coast Conference) won for the sixth time since its only loss, a 66-63 overtime defeat at Arizona on Dec. 6.
A year ago, the Toreros pulled off a 69-66 home upset of the Zags. This time, Gonzaga's size and athleticism were too much for the Toreros (7-7, 0-2) to handle.
Wiltjer made a hook shot and Byron Wesley a jumper to give Gonzaga its biggest lead, 52-30, with 10 minutes left.
Johnny Dee hit a 3-pointer and Brandon Perry had a dunk for USD.
Gonzaga's Domantas Sabonis made two free throws with 8:42 left for a 54-35 lead, but those were the last points the Bulldogs scored for 7 minutes, 5 seconds.
USD scored 10 straight points, nine by Dee, during the next 6 1/2 minutes to pull within 10. Dee made a 3-pointer, all three free throws after getting fouled while shooting from behind the arc, one of two free throws and then a shot off a rebound.
Gonzaga finally scored again when Wesley made a layup with 1:37 left to make it 56-45.
''That's a huge key of ours. If we're not scoring we've just got to be able to lock down defensively,'' Wiltjer said. ''It was a pretty low-scoring game, so that was good for our defense to know that we can trust it.''
Wesley scored 12 points and Kevin Pangos had 10 for the Zags, who came in averaging 83.9 points per game.
''If you had told me a couple hours before the game we were going to hold them to 60 points, I'd say we'll take it and we'll have a great shot,'' San Diego coach Bill Grier said. ''But we just couldn't get anything going offensively. They're a really good defensive team and they made it a struggle for us.''
Dee scored 20 points to push his career total to 1,784, seven shy of breaking the school record set by Brandon Johnson from 2005-10.
''Definitely a tough loss,'' Dee said. ''I think it goes out on me and Chris (Anderson). The senior leaders on this team, we came out and didn't play the way we should have to start that game and got down to a pretty bad deficit and down 15 at halftime. That's a lot of pressure on your team to have to come back. As seniors we've got to pick it up and be better at the start of a game.''
Wiltjer scored eight points in the first 5 minutes to help Gonzaga to a 12-3 lead.
Gonzaga closed the first half on a 15-6 run to take a 35-20 lead. The Zags scored 10 straight at one point, with Sabonis making two baskets, Wesley converting a three-point play and Pangos hitting a 3-pointer.
''I thought we played great as a unit today, especially at the start of the game and the middle of the game,'' Pangos said. ''When we play as a team, we have a lot of talent and we're a tough team to beat.''
Brett Bailey made a 3 with 38 seconds left for the Toreros, who had just 10 points in the last 9 minutes of the first half.
Gonzaga: The Bulldogs moved up one spot in the new Associated Press Top 25 released Monday.
San Diego: The Toreros had four airballs in the first half.
''They're a really good team. There's a lot of length and offensively they're really hard to guard, and that's going to put pressure on you that way,'' Dee said. ''Then when we come down there they're so big and so long, me and Chris it's really tough getting shots over those almost-7-footers. They do a lot of things and they frustrated us tonight, but we've got to be tougher moving forward.''
''We guarded well,'' Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. ''I thought we were pretty darn efficient offensively against a team that really nobody's been able to do that to all year.''
Gonzaga visits Portland on Saturday night.
San Diego is at San Francisco on Thursday night.