SPOKANE, Wash. -- Sam Dower remembered exactly what Gonzaga
coach Mark Few said at halftime.
" 'We have to outrebound them. They're playing harder than us.
We have to match their intensity and just play our game,' " Dower
recalled Few saying.
Dower scored 17 points and Gonzaga (No. 25 AP) broke away in the
second half for an 80-58 victory over Clara on Saturday night, the
Bulldogs' eighth-straight win.
"We were rushing our shots. In the second half we started
shooting our shots," Dower said.
Freshman Gary Bell Jr. added 15 points for the Bulldogs
(13-2,3-0 West Coast Conference), who broke the game open early in
the second half with an 18-0 run. The Zags haven't allowed more
than 65 during their streak.
Bell also did most of the defensive work that limited junior
guard Kevin Foster, who torched them for 36 and 29 points in two
games last season, to nine points, half his average.
Foster, who is third in the nation in 3-pointers at 3.8 a game
and led the nation last season, was 2 of 9 from the field and 0 of
4 from 3-point range. He had nine 3-pointers in Spokane last
"When you play good defense on somebody and they keep hitting
hard shots, you just have to keep playing. Today he just missed
them," Bell said. "The big guys extended on the screens and he
couldn't get wide-open looks. It helped me get back to contest his
shots. He has a quick release."
Few said: "Gary has built a lot of trust in the staff and his
teammates. ... He always has energy on defense. ... He's the same
way in practice."
Three free throws by Foster a minute into the second half gave
Santa Clara its last lead at 31-30, but Gonzaga reeled off 18
straight points, including back-to-back 3-pointers by Kevin Pangos,
who finished with 10 points and five assists, consecutive layups by
Bell and six points by Elias Harris, who finished with 12.
The Broncos, scoreless for 5:55, missed eight straight shots
while the Bulldogs were making six of seven.
That stretched into a 26-4 run, capped by a fast-break layup by
David Stockton, for a 21-point lead at 56-35 at the 10:04 mark.
"They were switching out on everything," Bell said. "We just
had to adjust. We did that in the second half. Luckily it wasn't
Santa Clara scored the first 10 points of the game, the first
eight by Cowels, who had consecutive 3-pointers, before Bell made a
layup for Gonzaga almost 5 minutes in.
The Broncos, behind Cowels' 10 points, led the entire first half
until Dower's 3-pointer with 37 seconds left gave the Bulldogs a
28-26 lead at the break. Dower had 11 at the half, which closed
with Santa Clara in a scoring drought of 4:25.
"We spotted them 10 points and then for the most part I thought
we played really, really good defense all night," Few said. "It
took a while for us to get a rhythm offensively. They kind of were
switching defenses and jump up quite a bit. Once our guys started
playing, then they were fine."
Neither team shot well in the first half, the Broncos connecting
36 percent, though they hit four of 10 3s, and Gonzaga 39
percent, going just 2 of 9 from behind the arc. But Gonzaga turned
that around in the second half, shooting 69 percent while SCU
finished the game at 38 percent.