Gonzaga upset by San Diego, first West Coast Conference losing streak since 2011

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In a three-day span, No. 25 Gonzaga dropped back-to-back road games, the first time the Zags have lost consecutive West Coast Conference games since January 2011.

BYU avenged a loss to the Bulldogs on Thursday night. On Saturday night, San Diego held on to a 69-66 upset win, the first time the Toreros had defeated the Zags since 2008.

Johnny Dee and Duda Sanadze combined for 31 points in the win. Gonzaga junior guard Kevin Pangos was held to 2-of-8 shooting for only four points, his lowest point total since he scored seven in a loss to No. 24 Memphis on Feb. 8.

“Both (the San Diego and BYU games) have been very similar,” Gonzaga head coach Few said during the postgame press conference, according to the Spokeman-Review. “It’s hard to pinpoint either one, offense or defense, because we’re not consistently getting stops (with the) way we started the game and the second half again. On offense, we find some success going one way and we just don’t keep doing that.”

Gonzaga has struggled on the road this season, coupling these back-to-back road losses to the Cougars and Toreros with a January road conference loss to Portland and a critical non-conference game at Memphis, in which the Zags gave up an 11-point second half lead.

To make matters worse, Gonzaga has two more games away from The Kennel before the start of the West Coast Conference tournament. Gonzaga wraps up February at Pacific, then traveling to Saint Mary’s three days later.

Moreover, Gonzaga won’t make a strong case on the selection committee given its resume. A upset loss to Dayton in their first game at the Maui Invitational limited the Zags opportunities to score wins over quality opponents. Then three weeks ago, as Pangos mentioned after the game the Bulldogs “blew a golden opportunity” inside the FedEx Forum. The best win Gonzaga holds right now is a win over West Virginia, which also serves as its best road performance as well.

Selection Sunday is three weeks away. Gonzaga is projected as a No. 8 seed in the latest edition of College Basketball Talk’s Bracketology. Right now, the Zags need to sort out its road woes.

Clemson lands 2017 guard

Brad Brownell
AP Photo
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Clemson landed a quality commitment on Tuesday as Class of 2017 guard A.J. Oliver committed to the Tigers. The son of Clemson women’s head coach Audra Smith, Oliver is regarded as a three-star prospect, according to Rivals, although some others view him as a top-100 caliber player.

The 6-foot-4 Oliver attends nearby Daniel High School and should have some time to get acclimated with the players and coaches before he sets foot on campus. A versatile guard who plays hard, Oliver showed that he can make plays with the ball in his hands this summer with the Upward Stars.

Oliver is Clemson’s first commitment in the Class of 2017 and it’s a strong start for head coach Brad Brownell.

Arizona’s Tarczewski out 4-to-6 weeks

Kaleb Tarczewski, Sean Miller
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Arizona will be without senior center Kaleb Tarczewski for 4-to-6 weeks, the school announced on Tuesday. The 7-foot Tarczewski suffered a stress reaction and strained muscle to his left foot and he’ll have some time to heal before the main portion of the Pac-12 conference schedule.

The experienced Tarczewski was averaging 8.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per game before going down with injury. Without the senior in the lineup, Arizona fell to Providence in the Wooden Legacy last week. Without Tarczewski in the lineup, the Wildcats could turn to center Dusan Ristic while forward Ryan Anderson has had some solid outings this season.

Missing Tarczewski for the rest of non-conference play will hurt but he’ll get to rest and recover for the stretch run while the Wildcats can mix in some new frontcourt pieces.