Dayton (4-0) vs. (11) Gonzaga (4-0)
Monday, November 25, 11:59 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Scott Haynes, Senior College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: Lahaina Civic Center (2,400) -- Maui, Hawaii. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: Dayton 3-0, Gonzaga 4-0. Away Record: Dayton 1-0, Gonzaga 0-0. Neutral Record: Dayton 0-0, Gonzaga 0-0. Conference Record: Dayton 0-0, Gonzaga 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: Two teams very familiar with the Maui Invitational will square off in first-round action from the Lahaina Civic Center, as the Gonzaga Bulldogs meet the Dayton Flyers in a late-night tip off.
Mark Few's Bulldogs opened the season with four straight games at home and as expected, won all four games in impressive fashion, closing out the homestand with a 90-74 rout of Washington State.
Archie Miller's Flyers haven't received the notoriety that Gonzaga has, but Dayton has also opened the year with four victories in as many games, including last week's 82-72 road win at Georgia Tech.
These two teams are meeting for the first time on the hardwood. However, both have successfully navigated this tournament's field in the past, with Dayton winning the Maui Invitational in 2003 and Gonzaga completing the feat in 2009. The winner of this contest will take on either Baylor or host Chaminade in the next round.
The Flyers have gotten it done in the early going with efficiency at the offensive end. Dayton comes into the tournament averaging a healthy 77.8 ppg and doing so on .475 shooting, including an even .400 from behind the arc. In addition, the team enjoys a +3.0 rebounding margin and a +4.3 turnover margin, forcing just over 18 turnovers per game. Scoring depth is obvious, with five Flyers sporting double-digit averages. Jordan Sibert leads the way at 13.8 ppg. Devin Oliver is a close second at 13.0 ppg, followed by Khari Price (12.5 ppg), Dyshawn Pierre (12.0 ppg) and Vee Sanford (10.8 ppg).
In the win over the Yellow Jackets, Oliver and Sibert shared the honor as top scorer, as they both poured in 20 points. Sanford and Devon Scott contributed off the bench with 15 and 13 points, respectively. The Flyers shot .474 from the floor and went 20-of-25 from the free-throw line, while forcing Georgia Tech into 19 turnovers.
Gonzaga shot lights out against the Cougars last week, connecting on 55.9 percent from the floor overall, a number fueled by a 13-of-23 showing from 3- point range (.565). Leading the charge in that area was All-American candidate Kevin Pangos. The junior guard poured in 27 points, including 5-of-8 from behind the arc in the win. Gary Bell Jr. and Przemek Karnowski added 12 points apiece. The game was tied only once, as Gonzaga never relinquished the lead from start to finish.
Pangos leads a quartet of double-digit scorers for Gonzaga with 18.8 ppg. He is joined in the backcourt by Bell, who adds 16.0 ppg. The pair have combined for 29 3-pointers in the first four games. Sam Dower (12.3 ppg) and Karnowski (10.5 ppg) give the team frontcourt balance. The team is averaging a gaudy 91.2 ppg thus far, while limiting the opposition to just 69.5.
This game should be highly entertaining. Both teams have scoring depth and can fill the basket in bunches. However, Pangos should be the best player on the floor and his ability to create opportunities with his long range acumen should be the difference here.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Gonzaga 79, Dayton 74
11/25 13:07:05 ET