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No. 22 SMU loses 72-56 to No. 13 Gonzaga

November 18, 2014

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — SMU didn’t shoot very well in the first half, and it only got worse.

Kevin Pangos made five 3-pointers and scored 17 points to lead No. 13 Gonzaga past the 22nd-ranked Mustangs 72-56 on Monday night.

“They out-toughed us on both ends of the floor,” SMU forward Ben Moore said. “We can’t let that happen. We have to find our identity as a team.”

The Mustangs shot just 39 percent in the first half and a woeful 24 percent in the second.

“They’re a great team,” Moore said. “They do everything right, basically. They’re patient on offense and great defensively.”

Moore had 11 points and eight rebounds. Nic Moore and Justin Martin added 10 points apiece for SMU (1-1), in its third season under Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown.

“They punched us in the nose in the first half and we didn’t respond very well,” Brown said. “Their effort and execution was so much better.”

Pangos thought playing good defense was also good for Gonzaga’s offense.

“We defended them really well and it helped us turn that into buckets,” said Pangos, who added seven assists and five rebounds in 33 minutes.

Domantas Sabonis had 13 points and nine rebounds for Gonzaga (2-0).

“That’s going to be a great win for us,” coach Mark Few said. “It will serve us well in March.”

“You had two high-level teams slugging it out and adjusting to each other,” he said.

Gonzaga adjusted better, especially in the second half. The Mustangs shot just 31 percent overall, making 19 of 61 attempts in the first meeting between the programs.

“We were playing hard and playing physical,” Few said. “In the second half we did a nice job of adjusting our zone a little bit.”

Brown said Gonzaga is as good as advertised.

“They’re deep. They’ve got great guard play. They’ve got depth and size,” Brown said. “I love ’em. ... I think everyone knows they’re a contender.”

Gonzaga, which scored 104 points in its season-opening win over Sacramento State, shot a modest 45 percent against SMU. But the Bulldogs went 10 of 24 from 3-point range to stay in control.

Gonzaga led by 10 at halftime, and maintained that cushion early in the second half behind a pair of 3-pointers from Pangos.

After Keith Frazier’s 3-pointer for SMU cut Gonzaga’s lead to eight, the Zags scored seven straight points to build a 50-35 advantage with 14 minutes left.

SMU hit a free throw, but Gonzaga scored six consecutive points to put the game out of reach with 12 minutes left.

In the first half, Pangos scored 11 points as Gonzaga took a 20-15 lead. Przemek Karnowski’s basket pushed the advantage to 27-15, and SMU went scoreless for nearly 4 minutes.

Gonzaga led 37-27 at halftime after outrebounding the Mustangs 22-12.

SMU was 27-10 last season and reached the NIT championship game. Gonzaga went 29-7 last season and lost in the third round of the NCAA tournament.

This game was part of ESPN’s Tip-Off Marathon.

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QUOTE OF THE DAY

“You are seeing a healthy Kevin. He’s a different guy out there,” Few said about Pangos, slowed by injuries much of last season.

TIP-INS

SMU: Will host Gonzaga next season. ... Nic Moore, a junior guard, was chosen for the Wooden Award Preseason Top 50, a list of candidates for the prize that goes to the nation’s top player. ... SMU was 4-3 against ranked opponents last season. ... SMU held Lamar to 31.4 percent shooting in the season opener.

Gonzaga: The Bulldogs are 137-8 in the McCarthey Athletic Center, which opened 10 years ago. ... Pangos also was selected to the Wooden Award Preseason Top 50. ... Few’s .802 winning percentage is the best among all active coaches. ... Friday’s 104-58 win over Sacramento State marked the third straight season in which Gonzaga opened by scoring at least 100 points . ... Gonzaga is 6-12 against ranked opponents at home.

UP NEXT

SMU: Plays at Indiana on Thursday.

Gonzaga: Hosts Saint Joseph’s on Wednesday.

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