Late in the first half of Gonzaga’s 72-62 loss to Kansas State last Saturday, senior center Sam Dower took a hard fall and left the game with a lower back injury. And while Dower stated following Thursday’s practice (he only did some light shooting) that he feels better now, Gonzaga’s starting big man will be a game-time decision for their WCC opener against Santa Clara according to head coach Mark Few.
“The day of the game we’ll figure out what’s going on. So much can be done between now and then. You’ve all had back situations so you know they are tricky. He’s a tough guy when it comes to injuries, so we’ll see,” Few said according to the school.
Through 12 games Dower’s averaging 13.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per contest, shooting 61.1% from the field and 83.8% from the foul line. With the departures of Elias Harris and Kelly Olynyk, Dower’s minutes have increased some nine minutes per game (from 16.0 mpg last season to 25.1) and he’s taken advantage of the opportunities.
If Dower were unable to go the Bulldogs would lose some depth in the front court, but against the Wildcats 6-foot-5 guard Kyle Dranginis supplied eight points and five rebounds in 31 minutes of action. And Przemek Karnowski, who accounted for ten points and seven rebounds against K-State, would become even more important for the Bulldogs. In Santa Clara, Gonzaga faces a team that ranks sixth in the WCC in defensive rebounding percentage.
Louisville transfer Angel Nunez, who became eligible last Saturday, did not see any action against Kansas State.
Monmouth used a 17-2 run in the final minutes to beat Rider on Friday night, a win that will keep the Hawks within striking distance of the kind of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament should they fall in the MAAC tourney.
The run was capped by star point guard Justin Robinson, who buried this three with three seconds left to put Monmouth up for good, 79-78:
Allonzo Trier scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half and Parker Jackson-Cartwright scored 16 points in his second career start as No. 17 Arizona knocked off UCLA, 81-75, in Tucson on Friday night.
UCLA was up by as much as 11 points in the first half and took a ten point lead into half time, but in the second half, the Bruins were eventually done in by foul trouble and the stronger front line of the Wildcats.
Ryan Anderson and Kaleb Tarczewski were dominant down the stretch. The duo combined to score 12 of the last 23 point for the Wildcats, including the bucket that put the Wildcats ahead for the first time since early in the first half. Off of a missed free throw, UCLA’s Thomas Welsh battled with Tarczewski for the rebound, but when Welsh finally seemed to gain control of the loose ball, Anderson knocked it out of his hands and bullied through Jonah Bolden for a layup.
All told, those two combined for 20 points and 27 boards, seven of which were offensive. They also managed to foul out both Welsh and Tony Parker, although some of the calls that went against UCLA down the stretch were questionable.
The win keeps Arizona within a game of first place Oregon in the Pac-12 standings and tied for second with No. 23 USC, who will be visiting the McKale Center on Sunday night.