LOS ANGELES — They won’t get extra credit for making it harder than it needed to be, but the Gonzaga Bulldogs, after a few false starts, finally got what they were looking for Saturday afternoon.
The Bulldogs, on the verge of blowing out Loyola Marymount several times, took control in the final 10 minutes, endured one last Lions’ rally and snagged an 82-72 West Coast Conference win viewed by 4,059 at Gersten Pavilion.
The victory capped a 2-0 California trip for the first-place Bulldogs (16-3, 6-1 WCC), a solid response to last week’s 82-73 loss at Portland.
“They’re scrappy,” said Gonzaga forward Drew Barham, who capped perhaps his best weekend as a Zag with four timely 3-pointers and 16 points. “We knew if we let them make shots and hustle plays they can catch fire. Thank goodness we settled ourselves down.”
This game had an unsettled feeling throughout for the Bulldogs, or as coach Mark Few put it, “it’s always uncomfortable in my seat. When you coach long enough, you kind of expect the worst and hope for the best.”
Gonzaga dominated in the lane with LMU concentrating on preventing 3-pointers, but the Zags still left a number of points on the table. GU led 30-19, with 26 of those points coming in the paint. The Bulldogs, with Gerard Coleman contributing 11 points off the bench, held a nine-point halftime lead but had to be kicking themselves after missing 6 or 7 open shots from point-blank range.
Sam Dower Jr. scored a career-high 28 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, giving him 46 points and 22 rebounds on the trip. He also had a handful of shots lip out that could have pushed his scoring total well into the 30s.
“They all felt good but they didn’t go in,” said Dower, who surpassed 1,000 career points. “But I didn’t let it stop me from being aggressive. It was a close game and I needed to make some shots and play defense and as a team I think we did that.”
Said Few: “I’ve never seen us miss that many chippies, but Sam stepped up and hit two big baskets at the end after experiencing all of that. So, mission accomplished.”
Cardinal 79, Huskies 67
STANFORD, Calif. — Chasson Randle shot 11 of 15 from the field en route to a career-high tying 33 points as Stanford beat Washington 79-67 Saturday night.
Stanford (12-5, 3-2 Pac-12) took a 41-36 lead into the break before Randle took over the game in the second half. After Perris Blackwell pulled the Huskies within three with 19:27 to play, Randle scored 11 of the game’s next 19 points, pushing the Cardinal lead to 54-43.
Andrew Andrews’ layup with 4:51 remaining pulled UW within seven, 58-65, but Randle scored the first five points in a 10-2 Stanford run to put the game out of reach.
Nigel Williams-Goss paced the Huskies (11-8, 3-3) with 17 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Shawn Kemp, Jr., added 13 points.
Bears 76, Cougars 55
BERKELEY, Calif. -- For the third time this season, the Washington State basketball team showed the talent and skill to build a lead on the road against a Pac-12 team. And for the third time this season the Cougars lacked the depth to sustain it, falling 76-55 at California on Saturday.
The difference in the game occurred exclusively in the second half. The Cougars (8-10, 1-5 Pac-12) built a moderate lead early and trailed just 34-33 at halftime. But just like Stanford and Arizona State before them, Cal (14-4, 5-0) was able to wreak havoc in the second half, taking advantage of a depleted WSU offense that routinely goes three or four minutes without scoring.
“Right now sometimes we drop off a little bit. If we’ve got to put certain guys in or certain combinations we drop off in our opportunities or chances to score,” WSU coach Ken Bone said. “I don’t think we drop off as much defensively or rebounding-wise but we need certain guys on the court to be able to score.”
Such was the case in the middle of the first half when the Cal went on a 14-0 run to turn an 18-10 WSU lead into a 24-18 deficit. The Cougars shot 40 percent in the first half, but hit just 6 of 22 shots in the second half while Cal cruised to victory in front of 9,348 at Haas Pavilion.
The Golden Bears were led by point guard Justin Cobbs, who had 16 points to go with seven assists. Hyped freshman Jabari Bird, playing in his second game since returning from an ankle sprain, scored just four points. The five-star prospect spent much of the game visibly frustrated at his lack of scoring opportunities.