SEATTLE (AP) — Kevin Pangos scored 11 of his 16 points in the second half, and No. 8 Gonzaga struggled to shake pesky Cal Poly before pulling away for a 63-50 win on Saturday night.
Gonzaga (11-1) was flat throughout and at times uncommonly sloppy playing its annual game at Seattle’s KeyArena, letting the Cal Poly (5-5) hang around late into the second half before finally putting away the Mustangs in the final 6 minutes.
Pangos hit three 3-poitners in the second half, and 7-foot-1 Przemek Karnowski finished with 16 points, including 11 in the first half.
David Nwaba scored a season-high 21 points, but was the only Cal Poly player to reach double figures.
The Bulldogs to make another trip to KeyArena in March. The early rounds of the NCAA tournament will be played in Seattle for the first time in more than a decade.
It wasn’t the kind of impression Gonzaga wanted to leave on its large fan base in the Seattle area. The Bulldogs committed 16 turnovers, second-most this season. They hit only one 3-pointer in the first half while scoring 28 points. And they were never able to get a comfortable lead against the Mustangs.
Pangos hit a pair of 3-pointers in the opening minutes of the second half to push Gonzaga’s lead to 38-26. Instead of wilting, the Mustangs charged back, scoring the next eight points and forcing Gonzaga coach Mark Few to call timeout with 14:21 left.
Pangos answered with his fourth 3-pointer, but Gonzaga struggled to shake the Mustangs. Karnowski’s two free throws and a 3-pointer from Kyle Dranginis put the Bulldogs up 10 with 11 minutes remaining. Kyle Toth’s 3-pointer with 7:31 left pulled the Mustangs back within seven.
Cal Poly missed three chances to cut the lead to five, while free throws from Kyle Wiltjer and a layup by Gary Bell Jr. pushed Gonzaga’s advantage to nine. Wiltjer added two more free throws and the lead was back to 11.
Cal Poly: The Mustangs were leading the country with just 7.1 turnovers per game, but committed nine in the first half against the Bulldogs and finished with a season-high 16.
Gonzaga: The Bulldogs were No. 4 in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.70) starting the night but committed seven first-half turnovers. That matched Gonzaga’s total from its win over Texas Southern earlier this week. The Bulldogs finished with a season-low 10 assists.
Cal Poly travels to face Santa Clara on Tuesday afternoon.
Gonzaga is off until after Christmas when it opens West Coast Conference play at BYU on Dec. 27.