Dranginis leads Gonzaga to 104-57 win over LC State

Dranginis leads Gonzaga to 104-57 win over LC State

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) – Redshirt freshman Kyle Dranginis scored a season high 30 points, and five other Gonzaga players scored in double figures as the 12th-ranked Bulldogs coasted to a 104-57 victory over Lewis-Clark State College on Thursday night.

Przemek Karnowski scored 16 points, Sam Dower and David Stockton had 13 each and Kelly Olynyk added 11 points and 10 rebounds for his first career double-double for Gonzaga (7-0). Drew Barham, a junior transfer from Memphis, had 11 points for his first double-figure game with the Bulldogs.

Dranginis, a 6-foot-4 guard from Nampa, Idaho, hit 12 of 16 shots as Gonzaga shot 64 percent from the field. He hit 4-7 3-pointers as the Bulldogs made 11 of 20 from behind the arc. He also had seven assists and six rebounds.

Dranginis leads Gonzaga to 104-57 win over LC State

“I am,” Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said when asked if he was pleased with Dranginis’ minutes. “He is capable of that.  We have been pushing and prodding him to get to that point. To view himself as a player that can do that rather than viewing himself as a backup. He did a nice job and that’s Kyle; it’s not like he had an out of body experience, he is capable of doing that.” 

P.J. Bolte scored 10 points to lead Lewis-Clark State, an NAIA school from Lewiston, Idaho. The Warriors officially remained unbeaten at 9-0, though they have lost to the Bulldogs and Montana in exhibition games.

Gonzaga rolled despite sitting starters Elias Harris and Gary Bell Jr. Harris, a senior All-American candidate, was the MVP of the recent Old Spice Classic in Florida and leads Gonzaga in scoring (15.7) and rebounding (9.2).

“I just wanted to rest them. Gary is beat up and walking around like he is 50-years-old.  I knew if I sat Elias that it would force me to play Przemek more. Kelly needs more minutes still.  I thought it was time to get Kyle some more minutes and give Gary and Elias some rest,” Few said. “I hoping they (Kyle, Kelly and Przemek) would pick us up and they did. Mission accomplished there. It was a meaningful rest, with three games in four days.”

The Bulldogs shot 70 percent in the first half but didn’t put together any real dominating runs en route to a 50-32 lead. The largest spurt was 10-0 late in the half, helping build a 20-point lead.

However, Gonzaga scored 38 points inside with Dower scoring 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting and Karnowski 10 by going 5 for 5. Dower, Karnowski and Barham finished a combined 18 for 22 from the field.

“I thought our effort was pretty good for the most part,” Few said. “I didn’t like how we defended in the first half.  The first 10 minutes of the second half we defended the way we need to defend and rebounded the way we need to rebound.  All in all, especially the second half, our guys really did a nice job getting things accomplished.”

Freshman Trey Sobatta scored nine points by shooting 3 for 4 on 3-pointers for the Warriors, who shot a respectable 46 percent against a team that is 14th in the country by allowing opponents to make just 34.9 percent.

Bolte, who leads the Warriors at 19.3 points a game as a reserve, was held to one basket and Jacob Champoux, who averages 13.8, only got off three shots, making a 3-pointer. He finished with five points. LC State finished at 37 percent shooting.

Gonzaga forced 20 turnovers and had a 46-20 rebounding advantage.

The Bulldogs face the University of the Pacific Saturday at 5 p.m., the Tigers scheduled to become the 10th member of the West Coast Conference next season. Pacific beat Gonzaga’s WCC rival Saint Mary’s last week.

“They had a heck of a tournament, just like we did. They went to Anaheim and beat Xavier. They beat Saint Mary’s who have most of their guys returning from the team that won our league last year. They then gave California a good battle. Obviously, this is a veteran team,” Few noted. “They wanted to come up and play this game. They know they have a good club and are ready for this challenge. We are going to have to be ready and be at our best as they showed they can really play.”