GAME NOTES: After losing four straight games earlier this month, the San Diego Toreros are now on a two-game win streak that they'll look to turn into three as they host the 25th-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs in a West Coast Conference battle at the Jenny Craig Pavilion.
Gonzaga has won nine of its last 11 games, but is coming off a tough 73-65 loss at BYU Thursday night in conference action. Still, the Bulldogs lead the West Coast Conference with a 13-2 record and can clinch the regular-season crown outright with a win here.
San Diego has won two in a row following the four-game losing skid the team experienced. The Toreros are coming off a hard-fought, come-from-behind victory over Portland Thursday night. San Diego is 6-10 in conference play this season.
Gonzaga has a very comfortable lead in the all time-series with San Diego, 63-21. The Bulldogs took an earlier decision against the Toreros on Jan. 23, 59-56, barely edging out USD at home.
Gonzaga went into the half against BYU knotted up at 39 apiece, but the home crowd and the Cougars were just too much for the Bulldogs in the second half, who fell by eight points and unraveled down the stretch. Sam Dower led Gonzaga in scoring, netting 14 points and eight rebounds, hitting a perfect 4-of-4 from the free-throw line. Kevin Pangos chipped in 13 points in the loss for the Bulldogs, who shot 40.7 percent from the floor in the game.
Pangos leads the team in scoring this season with a 15.1 ppg average on 43.3 percent shooting from the floor. His 4 apg mark is tied for the team high with David Stockton. Dower is second in scoring with 14.8 ppg this year, adding a second-best 6.8 rpg average to his stat line. Przemek Karnowski is the only Bulldogs player to average more rebounds with 7 rpg. Gary Bell Jr. tallies 11.3 ppg, and Karnowski checks in with 10.1 ppg.
San Diego had to come from behind against Portland, but made sure to eclipse the lead and hold on down the stretch for the league win over the Pilots. Johnny Dee and Duda Sanadze each scored 15 points to pace the Toreros, who earned their sixth WCC win in the process. San Diego netted 41.7 percent of its field goal tries in the game, including 42.9 percent from 3-point distance.
Dee has been the go-to scorer this season for San Diego, netting 17.1 ppg on 44.1 percent shooting, including 44.1 percent from 3-point range. Sanadze checks in behind Dee with 13.2 ppg, and Dennis Kramer is third with 11.6 ppg. Kramer's 6.7 rpg average is a team high, and his 26 blocked shots is second only to Jito Kok's 52. Christopher Anderson leads the Toreros with 171 assists on the year.
San Diego fared well against the Bulldogs in the first matchup this year on the road, but Gonzaga, despite the loss in the last outing, is very good at coming back from a defeat. The Bulldogs haven't lost two in a row this season, and likely won't start now.
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