Bulldogs take on Mustangs in Battle in Seattle

Dec 20, 2014 - 3:30 PM Seattle, WA (SportsNetwork.com) - The eighth-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs will attempt to extend a three-game win streak as they take on the Cal Poly Mustangs in a non-conference clash in the annual Battle in Seattle at Key Arena.

At 5-4 this season, Cal Poly has struggled to stay consistent. However, the Mustangs are on a two-game win streak, having defeated San Francisco (78-71) and Northeastern (60-58) to get back above the .500 level.

Gonzaga has earned the No. 8 ranking in the country with a 10-1 overall record this season. The Bulldogs have won three games in a row following a tight overtime loss to Arizona, 66-63. The Zags easily took down Texas Southern, 94-54, in the team's latest contest.

This meeting between Cal Poly and Gonzaga will be the first ever on the basketball court.

Northeastern took a commanding 31-17 lead into halftime against Cal Poly, but the Mustangs didn't surrender. They connected on 65.4 percent of their shots in the second half to retake the lead and earn the two-point win, which was their second in a row. Northeastern made 43.5 percent from the floor in the second frame, but made just 3-of-12 from 3-point range. Brian Bennett scored 19 points to pace Cal Poly, adding in nine rebounds in the victory. David Nwaba chipped in 17 points, and Kyle Toth added 11 for the Mustangs.

Nwaba leads a group of three players in double-digit scoring for Cal Poly this season. Nwaba comes into the clash with Gonzaga netting 14.8 ppg on 51.9 percent shooting from the floor. Bennett checks in behind Nwaba at 12.2 ppg, and Reese Morgan contributes 10.5 ppg for the Mustangs, who collectively score 63.0 ppg this season. Bennett leads Cal Poly on the boards, grabbing 6.8 rpg, and Maliik Love tops the squad with 30 assists on the year. The Mustangs are holding opponents to just 61.1 ppg on 40 percent shooting.

Gonzaga beat up on one-win Texas Southern earlier in the week, downing the Tigers by using a 63.6 shooting percentage from the floor and a 10-of-19 mark from 3-point range to overwhelming the visiting SWAC members offensively. Kyle Wiltjer came off the bench to score a team-high 21 points in the victory, while Domantas Sabonis chipped in with 16 points and six rebounds. Silas Melson contributed 13 points, and Kevin Pangos scored 11 with six assists. The Bulldogs limited the Tigers to 35.6 percent shooting in the game.

Gonzaga typically prides itself on a strong offensive effort, and that's been the case once again this season. The Zags enter this matchup averaging 85.5 ppg on 54.2 percent shooting from the field, leaving very little chance for opponents (averaging 60.9 ppg against the Bulldogs) to get a rebound and start a fast break. Wiltjer leads the team in scoring, averaging 17.5 ppg, followed by Byron Wesley's 12.1 ppg, Sabonis' 11.5 ppg and Pangos' 10.4 ppg. Przemek Karnowski paces the Bulldogs in terms of rebounding, bringing down a team-best 6.4 boards per outing.

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