Toreros host Bulldogs in WCC action

Dec 29, 2014 - 3:31 PM San Diego, CA ( - With their first West Coast Conference win under their belts, the Gonzaga Bulldogs return to action on Monday night when they challenge the San Diego Toreros at Jenny Craig Pavilion.

Gonzaga is off to another sensational start, the team winning 12 of its first 13 games, including the last five in a row. The Zags won at BYU in their conference opener on Saturday, 87-80, running their current winning streak in WCC lid lifters under head coach Mark Few to 16 in the row, and 19 straight overall.

San Diego enters this fray a game over .500 on the season (7-6), but it is coming off a 61-58 loss to visiting Portland in Saturday's WCC opener. That setback snapped a three-game win streak for the Toreros, who are hoping to get back on track and improve to 5-1 at home this season with an upset victory tonight.

Gonzaga owns a 63-21 lead in the all-time series with San Diego. Three of the last four matchups have been decided by three points or less, including the last meeting (last season) in which the Toreros earned a 69-66 win at home.

Kyle Wiltjer scored 24 points and Kevin Pangos finished with 21 points and seven assists in leading Gonzaga to its recent win at BYU. With his effort, Pangos became the 14th player in school history to reach 1,500 career points. Byron Wesley added 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulldogs, while Przemek Karnowski chipped in with nine points and 10 boards. GU outscored BYU in the paint, 36-24, and had 22 assists to just 13 for the hosts. The Cougars did manage to score 40 bench points to only 15 for the Zags. Overall, Gonzaga made good on 49.2 of its field goal attempts, draining 8-of-19 3-point tries along the way, while permitting just 39.7 percent success to the Cougars, who made 7-of-25 long-range launches while logging a 27-15 edge in points at the foul line.

Gonzaga boasts five double-digit scorers on the season, led by Wiltjer and his 17.3 ppg. The Bulldogs net 83.9 ppg, while yielding 61.5 ppg. The Zags are hitting an eye-popping 53.2 percent of their field goal attempts, which includes a 3-point shooting percentage of .398. Foes are shooting just 38.7 percent from the floor, which includes a 31.0 percent showing from beyond the arc, and the Bulldogs are +10.4 in rebounding margin and +2.2 in turnover differential.

San Diego played well on defense in Saturday's clash with Portland, holding the Pilots to 37 percent field goal efficiency, although that included an 8- of-14 showing from beyond the arc. UofP was also guilty of 19 turnovers, but scored 13 points at the foul line compared to only five for the Toreros, who made good on only 37.1 percent of their total shots, missing eight of their nine 3-point tries in the process. Chris Anderson was high man for USD with 14 points, while Thomas Jacobs tallied a dozen and Johnny Dee had 11.

Dee is the only player netting double figures for San Diego this season, as he is shooting a stellar 44.1 percent from long range in averaging 18.8 ppg. Anderson is close to joining him, as he puts up 9.3 ppg, but his real worth is as a playmaker as evidenced by his whopping 93 assists (7.2 apg). Collectively, the Toreros are scoring 70.2 ppg thanks to solid shooting efforts of .457 overall and .379 from downtown, while permitting 64.8 ppg and logging favorable margins in both rebounding (+2.4) and turnovers (+0.7).

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