If your best player struggles, you tend to lose; just ask the Gonzaga Bulldogs’ coach Mark Few about their game against the Dayton Flyers. Few could not find an answer on offense as Wooden Award watch-lister Kevin Pangos shot 33 percent from the floor.
Losing to Dayton is not terrible, but it’s upsetting to a team with high hopes like Gonzaga.
The Flyers simply could not miss and got foul calls that leaned its way. Guard Jordan Sibert from Dayton led the charge against the Bulldogs, scoring 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting. Sibert was getting to the lane with ease and was shooting with a pure stroke. The penetration that the Flyers got from Khari Price and Sibert led to the demise of the Bulldogs’ frontcourt tandem in Sam Dower and Przemek Karnowski, who both fouled out with less than four minutes to go in the game.
The Bulldogs could not shoot threes, and Pangos’ struggles certainly did not help that matter. Despite his horrible performance from behind the arc, he was 11-of-12 from the line and finished with 21 points, including his first missed free throw of the year. On top of that, he fouled out on a dumb play with 30 seconds to go. He was the third starter to foul out.
However, this game was not about the shortcomings of Gonzaga; the Dayton Flyers played arguably its best game of the season. The Flyers had four players in double-figure scoring — Sibert, Price, Devin Oliver and Dyshawn Pierre. The Flyers took the place of the ‘Zags in the second round of the Maui Invitational to face off against the Baylor Bears. The second half was all Flyers as they outscored the Bulldogs by eight points and out-rebounded them by 12.
Not only is Pangos’ struggles bad news, but Dayton showed off the size and depth issues that Gonzaga has in the frontcourt in the form of Karnowski and Dower down low. The Bulldogs are a 3-point shooting team and if you live by it, you die by it.
John Lloyd is a PAC-12 writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on twitter @JohnHLloydIII