Kevin Pangos

Kevin Pangos’ seven 3-pointers leads Gonzaga over Baylor

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It was a relatively quiet Kennel as many of the students at Gonzaga are home on winter break. But Kevin Pangos woke up the crowd several times with his seven 3-pointers, with 31 points (20 in the second half) to lead Gonzaga over a big 94-87 non-conference win over Baylor on Friday night in Spokane.

It was raining three’s in Spokane with Baylor connecting on 10 3-pointers, while Gonzaga had nine on the night. Pierre Jackson, who had a team-high 26 points hit four 3’s on the night, while Brady Heslip was held in check with only 1-for-5 from behind the arc.

Gonzaga took the lead with 4:53 remaining in the second half and never gave it back to Baylor. Gonzaga opened up a double digit lead several times. Kelly Olynyk had 21 points and Elias Harris added 17 and seven boards. Isaiah Austin had 20 points and eight boards.

Baylor couldn’t get Heslip going, who rarely got open looks. The Bears hurt themselves with 14 – seven from Jackson.

With the win, the Bulldogs have cemented themselves as the Big 12 killer so far this season, or at least for now. Gonzaga has beaten up on West Virginia and Oklahoma, while beating both Kansas State and Baylor in the midst of three-game winning streak, following the Zags first loss of the season against Illinois on Dec. 8.

Gonzaga heads to Stillwater, Okla. for a New Year’s Eve matchup against No. 22 Oklahoma State. Markel Brown and Marcus Smart should offer another tough backcourt for the Zags to face.

Gonzaga will look to add another key non-conference victory on Monday, but Baylor missed out on another opportunity to get a big out-of-conference victory. The Bears already took down Kentucky in Lexington on Dec. 1. Baylor was in a good position to pick up a win on the road in Spokane on Friday with an early start, but the three-point shooting of Gonzaga got them back in the game.

Baylor already has three bad losses on its resume, including Colorado, College of Charleston and Northwestern at home. It’s now Big 12 ball for the Bears, who have a over a week before they open conference play against the Myck Kabongo-less Texas Longhorns.

Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: