Dower drops 18 as Gonzaga beats Pacific

Gonzaga maintains No. 14 ranking

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) – Sam Dower scored 18 points and No. 12 Gonzaga beat Pacific 85-67 on Saturday, tying the team record for most wins to open a season.

Elias Harris added 17 points for Gonzaga (8-0), which tied the 1994-95 squad for most wins to start the season. Gonzaga’s next game is Wednesday at Washington State.

Travis Fulton led Pacific (3-4) with 15 points. Lorenzo McCloud had 14.

Kelly Olynyk added 15 points and Kevin Pangos 12 for Gonzaga.

Gonzaga coach Mark Few won his 350th game and has a 350-90 career record, all with the Bulldogs. He became one of the seventh youngest coaches with 350 wins in NCAA Division I history.

“That was a really good win for us. They are a really well coached basketball team that plays very physical,” Few said. “They are solid at both ends and they do not hurt themselves. I thought after the first five minutes our guys figured that out and we played pretty darn good for 35 minutes.”

Pacific made eight of its first 14 shots to jump to an 18-10 lead. Gonzaga replied with an 11-2 run, taking a 21-20 lead on Olynyk’s dunk.

Then Gonzaga went on a 10-0 run to build a 39-27 lead with 4:20 left in the half. The run included two free throws by Pangos after the Pacific team was called for a technical.

Gonzaga led 49-34 at halftime, behind 14 points from Dower, who made all five of his field goal attempts, and 11 from Olynyk.

Gonzaga extended its lead in the second half, and it reached 22 points, 67-45, on Gary Bell Jr.’s 3-pointer with 10 minutes left.

Pacific clawed back behind a couple of 3-pointers by Rodrigo De Souza, which cut Gonzaga’s lead to 72-59 with 5:40 left.

But the Bulldogs pulled away at the free throw line, and Harris’ dunk gave them an 81-61 lead with less than 3 minutes left.

Few said Gonzaga’s depth was once again a factor in the victory.

“That’s what we have, I don’t know if that was the difference or not. We have great depth and balance. It’s going to be different guys every night; I don’t think it’s always going to be the same guys,” Few said. “I thought Sam got in there for us early and established himself in the post. I thought by and large our bigs played really good tonight. They were efficient, tough, finishing plays and rebounded the ball well.”

This is the first meeting between the schools since 1976, Gonzaga leading the series 3-1. Pacific is joining the West Coast Conference next season.

Long-time Pacific coach Bob Thomason has announced he is retiring after this season.

Few said he doesn’t know what to expect from Pacific when it joins the WCC next season with Thomason retiring.

“They are a tough team and with coach Thomason retiring who knows. I hope they hire the assistant and that will probably help continue their legacy of playing hard and physical. They executed very well tonight.” Few said. 

Gonzaga is 110-7 in the McCarthey Athletic Center since it opened in the 2004-05 season.