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Santa Clara (19-8) at (3) Gonzaga (25-2)
Wednesday, February 20, 11 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Lucas Gulotta, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: McCarthey Athletic Center (6,000) -- Spokane, Washington. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: SCU 13-5, Gonzaga 12-1. Away Record: SCU 6-3, Gonzaga 9-1. Neutral Record: SCU 0-0, Gonzaga 4-0. Conference Record: SCU 7-5, Gonzaga 12-0. Series Record: Gonzaga leads, 47-32..
GAME NOTES: The No. 3 Gonzaga Bulldogs take aim at their eighth win in a row as they host the Santa Clara Broncos at the McCarthey Athletic Center for a West Coast Conference matchup.
The Bulldogs defeated Santa Clara, 81-74, in the first meeting this season between these teams on Jan. 5 to increase their all-time series lead to 47-32. Kelly Olynyk registered a monster double-double of 33 points and 10 rebounds to lead Gonzaga, while Kevin Foster pumped in 29 points to pace the Broncos.
Santa Clara has completely turned things around after going winless in WCC action a season ago. The Broncos come in with a 19-8 overall record including a 7-5 mark against league rivals. SCU notched its second win in a row on Saturday as it downed Pepperdine, 70-60, at home. Foster is one of the top scorers in the conference at 18.4 ppg, but he has plenty of help on the offensive end with Mark Trasolini (15.4 ppg, 8.1 rpg), Evan Roquemore (12.5 ppg, 5.7 apg) and Raymond Cowels III (9.9 ppg).
Foster continued to spearhead the charge against Pepperdine, finishing with a game-high 22 points to push the Broncos to the 10-point decision. Brandon Clark chipped in 15 points in the contest, while Roquemore tallied 10 points, six rebounds and five assists for SCU, which connected on 47.2 percent of its field goal tries and limited the Waves to just 38.3 percent field-goal efficiency. Coach Kerry Keating has done a terrific job getting his squad to maintain balance, as the Broncos are fourth in the WCC in both scoring offense (75.4) and scoring defense (66.3).
Mark Few's Bulldogs continued their winning streak on Saturday as they invaded San Francisco's War Memorial Gymnasium to seize a 71-61 victory over the Dons. Olynyk posted 26 points and Elias Harris registered a double-double of 17 points and 13 boards. Gonzaga's No. 3 ranking has been achieved through excellence on both ends of the court, as it leads the WCC in scoring offense (78.3) and scoring defense (61.2).
Olynk is a tremendous weapon in the post for Gonzaga as he is converting 64.9 percent of his field goal tries to produce a team-best 18.0 ppg which he accompanies with 6.9 rebounds per outing. Harris adds 14.5 points and a team- high 7.5 rebounds per contest from the forward slot. While the Zags' forwards demand attention on the interior, sophomore point guard Kevin Pangos punishes opponents from the perimeter with 12.0 points, 3.4 assists and 1.5 steals a game. Pangos is one of most explosive 3-point shooters in the nation with 43.8 percent efficiency from beyond the arc.
The Bulldogs will most likely close out the regular season without experiencing another blemish, as they are above and beyond the competition that the WCC has to offer. Although SCU has shown drastic and rapid improvement since Trasolini returned to the lineup for his senior campaign, the Broncos are not quite a top tier WCC school just yet.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Gonzaga 80, Santa Clara 68
02/20 11:05:13 ET
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