Gonzaga Basketball's Defense Smothers Pacific To End Road Woes

By Demario Phipps-Smith
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Gonzaga defeated Pacific Thursday night and ended its three game road-loosing streak to win the outright West Coast Conference regular season title.

Zag’s guard Kevin Pangos scored 18 points with three rebounds, three assists and two made 3-pointers. But it was senior reserve Drew Barham who stole the show. Barham connected on 5-7 shots from the field and was 4-6 from 3-point land as he scored a career-high 17 points.

The Gonzaga offense executed as effective and precise as it has all year but the Bulldogs’ defense was sensational against the Tigers. Although Gonzaga is a stingy team allowing points (65.7), it is not very good at creating steals (4.1) or protecting the rim as it is ranks 119th in the nation in blocks (6.7). Without defying its defensive tendencies the Bulldogs were able to clamp down and deny its opponent from scoring.

Pacific isn’t a household name but it is a .500 team and boasts an impressive non-conference record. But the Zag’s defense embarrassed them nonetheless. Pacific led midway through the first half but Gonzaga’s intense interior defense stifled the Tigers’ efforts. There wasn’t a single Tiger who scored in double-digit figures and the Pacific bench outscored its starters by twice as many points.

The Bulldogs also locked the Tigers down from the perimeter as well. Pacific had just one player net more than one 3-pointer and finished 31.6 percent from the 3-point line. There always seemed to be a hand in a Pacific shooter’s face and when there wasn’t, the shooter missed anyway.

Despite losing the last two games, Gonzaga has an opportunity to gain some momentum heading into March. Its last regular season game is against a worthy Saint Mary’s team who should present a nice tune-up game for the WCC tourney.

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