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Gonzaga overcomes early hole to rout Santa Clara

Jan 8, 2012 - 6:10 AM Spokane, WA (Sports Network) - Sam Dower's 17 points paced No. 25 Gonzaga to an 82-60 drubbing of Santa Clara in West Coast Conference action.

Santa Clara rattled off the first 10 points of the game to momentarily stun the McCarthey Athletic Center crowd, but the Bulldogs (13-2, 3-0 WCC) rallied to take a two-point lead at halftime and scored 18 straight early in the second half to cruise to their eighth straight win.

"We had a pretty good start to the game and then there was that stretch where they didn't convert offensively, and if you don't do that here and it kind of gets away from you, they take advantage of that," Santa Clara head coach Kerry Keating said.

Gary Bell Jr. and Elias Harris chipped in 15 and 12 points, respectively for Gonzaga, which shot 55 percent from the floor and held the Broncos (8-7, 0-2) to 38 percent shooting.

Raymond Cowels III scored eight of his 13 points in the game's opening three minutes, and Evan Roquemore added a jumper to give Santa Clara a 10-0 lead.

Gonzaga finally hit its first basket 4 1/2 minutes in and slowly started chipping away at the deficit. The Bulldogs took their first lead on Dower's three-pointer in the final minute of the first half and took that 28-26 advantage into the locker room.

"We spotted them 10 points and then for the most part I thought we played really, really good defense all night," Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said. "It took us a while for us to get a rhythm offensively.

The Bulldogs turned a one-point deficit into a double-digit lead with an 18-0 early in the second half. Kevin Pangos hit two from behind the arc during the stretch, and Harris capped the surge with another three-pointer for a 48-31 cushion.

A dunk by Niyi Harrison stopped the run and Santa Clara's 6 1/2-minute drought without a field goal, but the Broncos never seriously threatened over the final 13 minutes en route to their third straight loss.

Game Notes

Pangos finished with 10 points, while Robert Sacre led the Bulldogs with eight rebounds to go with seven points...Brandon Clark scored 12 points for the Broncos...Gonzaga shot 16-of-21 from the foul line, while Santa Clara made all eight of its free throw attempts.