No. 3 Gonzaga beats Memphis at home for 1st time
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) Gonzaga's three big men have the Bulldogs ranked first in the nation in field goal percentage.
After 10 straight West Coast Conference wins, No. 3 Gonzaga needed a test from an athletic program like Memphis.
Przemek Karnowski scored 17 points and Kyle Wiltjer added 15 to help the Bulldogs beat the Tigers 82-64 on Saturday night for their 15th straight victory.
''Przem is load down there. He's a real load,'' Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. ''If he can do it against Shaq (Goodwin) and (Austin) Nichols and guys like that, I mean you can pretty much do it against everybody.''
Domantas Sabonis had 13 points and 11 rebounds for his second consecutive double-double. The trio went 16 of 26 from the floor to help Gonzaga dominate Memphis inside for its first home victory over the Tigers in four attempts.
''It's just been a great week,'' Sabonis said after going for 13 and 11 in back-to-back games. ''I just come out and get rebounds and defense and the offense comes around.''
Kevin Pangos had 11 points and Gary Bell Jr. added 10 for Gonzaga (22-1). The Bulldogs are off to their best start in program history, topping the 2012-13 season when they opened 17-1.
Gonzaga entered the game averaging 52.7 percent from the field and were 26 of 47 (55.3 percent) against Memphis.
Nick King came off the bench and had 13 points for Memphis (13-8). Nichols added 12, eight coming in the second half. He averaged 19.0 points during the Tigers' two-game winning streak.
Memphis made started 1 for 8 and trailed 9-2. Its third basket of the half, a 3-pointer by Markel Crawford, started a 10-5 run to pull to 18-15.
But Gonzaga answered with a 20-7 run, on six layups and eight free throws, for a 36-22 lead. Memphis went 4-plus minutes without a field goal during the spurt, ended by Nichols' basket - his second field goal in nine attempts.
''That first half, we just could not score the ball,'' Memphis coach Josh Pastner said.
Gonzaga was 14 of 23 (60.9 percent) from the field in the first half and held a 43-25 lead at the break. The Bulldogs attempted just four 3-pointers as they controlled the paint, outscoring Memphis 24-12.
Memphis was held to 9-of-35 shooting in the first 20 minutes and went to the line eight times compared to Gonzaga's 18 attempts.
''It was good for us to just play a different style,'' Pangos said. ''I think our team did a good job responding to the matchups and how that team was playing as opposed to a West Coast Conference team.''
Nichols scored six of Memphis' first 10 points of the second half, cutting the deficit to 15 points. But Byron Wesley, Bell and Wiltjer hit three consecutive 3s, Gonzaga's fourth of the second half after just two before halftime, for a 22-point lead.
''I thought we did a good job guarding Pangos from the 3-point range,'' Pastner said. ''But they had three guys that hit 3s that we kind of played off of based on the scouting report. You gotta give them credit, they stepped up and made shots.''
Memphis cut it to 14 points with 7:05 left, but Eric McClellan and Bell hit back-to-back 3-pointers for a 70-50 lead.
Memphis: The Tigers played in Gonzaga's on-campus arena, the McCarthey Athletic Center, for the first time in the nine-game series. The three previous trips to Spokane, all wins, were held at the downtown Spokane Arena.
Gonzaga: The Bulldogs have the nation's longest home winning streak, at 38 in a row, after No. 4 Duke lost to Miami earlier in the year.
Gonzaga coach Mark Few and Memphis forward Shaq Goodwin won gold in the summer of 2012 with the USA Men's U18 National Team.
Gonzaga and Memphis have combined for 29 20-win season since 2000-01. Gonzaga has reached the plateau in all 16 of Mark Few's seasons as head coach.
Memphis: Hosts Jacksonville State on Wednesday night.
Gonzaga: At Santa Clara on Thursday night.