SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Kevin Pangos scored 19 points and No. 3 Gonzaga took over in the second half to beat stubborn Pepperdine 56-48 on Saturday.
Kyle Wiltjer added 13 points and Domantas Sabonis had 10 for Gonzaga (26-1, 14-0 West Coast Conference), which has won 19 consecutive games.
Stacy Davis scored 13 for Pepperdine (15-11, 8-7), which gave Gonzaga its toughest league test, losing by just two points at home in January.
Gonzaga has the nation’s longest home winning streak at 40 games and is the first team in the country to reach 26 wins this season.
Pepperdine, which has lost three straight after beating league powers Saint Mary’s and BYU, is seeking its first winning season since 2005.
Gonzaga, which leads the nation in field goal shooting at 53 percent, won despite shooting just 41.7 percent. Pepperdine shot only 42.3 percent, thanks to a poor second half (29 percent) that cost the Waves the game.
The score was tied 30-all at halftime, and Byron Wesley opened the second half with a layup that gave Gonzaga its first lead.
Gonzaga put together a 16-3 run to open the second half, including eight points by Pangos and six by Wesley, for a 46-33 advantage.
Pepperdine made only one of 11 shots to open the second and didn’t hit its second field goal of the half until there was 10:55 left. By then the Waves trailed 48-37.
Both teams went through a scoring drought before Wiltjer’s layup put Gonzaga up 52-38 with 6:47 remaining.
The Waves scored the final three baskets of the game to make the score appear tighter than the second half really was.
In the first, Gonzaga played sloppy basketball and faced a rare home deficit as Pepperdine took a 14-9 lead. Both offenses heated up, and the Waves held a 24-18 lead thanks to three baskets by Lamond Murray Jr.
Gonzaga went on an 8-2 run, with Wiltjer’s 3-pointer tying the score at 26.
The teams were tied at 30 at halftime, despite Gonzaga shooting just 34.6 percent compared to 53.6 percent for Pepperdine.
Pepperdine: Davis leads the Waves with an average of 15.8 points and 7.7 rebounds per game. … Pepperdine came in limiting opponents to 41.7 percent shooting, including 27.3 percent on 3-pointers. … Pepperdine has no seniors on the roster.
Gonzaga: Wiltjer had scored at least 20 points in three straight games. … Gonzaga ranks sixth in the nation with an average of 80.7 points per game. … Gonzaga has won 28 straight against Pepperdine to lead the series 48-31.
Pepperdine hosts Santa Clara on Thursday.
Gonzaga plays at Pacific on Thursday.
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