No. 7 Gonzaga beats Pepperdine 92-62 in WCC opener

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SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) Nigel Williams-Goss and Przemek Karnowski each scored 16 points as No. 7 Gonzaga beat short-handed Pepperdine 92-62 on Thursday night, extending the best start in program history.

Three other players scored in double figures for unbeaten Gonzaga (13-0, 1-0 West Coast Conference).

The Bulldogs held a seven-point lead after the first half and did not put away scrappy Pepperdine until midway through the second.

Lamond Murray Jr. scored 19 points for Pepperdine (4-9, 0-1), which has lost eight games in a row and was missing two starters because of injuries. Jeremy Major added 15.

Gonzaga went unbeaten in nonconference play for the first time since joining the NCAA in 1958. The Bulldogs have now won 21 straight conference openers, dating to a loss in 1996.

Coming in, Gonzaga had trailed for a total of 33 minutes, 29 seconds in 12 games this season, and only against Florida in the second half.

That didn’t intimidate the Waves, who led for more than four minutes and stayed close for much longer.

Nolan Taylor hit three straight Pepperdine baskets as the Waves took an 18-15 lead midway through the first half.

Gonzaga scored six straight points for a 34-27 lead, and consecutive 3-pointers by Jordan Mathews pushed the lead to 40-32.

Gonzaga led 44-37 at halftime. Pepperdine stayed close by shooting 51.6 percent in the first and getting 13 points from Murray.

Gonzaga pushed its lead to 52-40 early in the second half.

An 8-0 run gave Gonzaga a 62-45 advantage midway through the second, as Pepperdine’s shooting cooled off and the Zags dominated the boards. The lead soon reached 20 points.

BIG PICTURE

Pepperdine: The Waves were missing point guard Amadi Udenyi, out for the season with a torn Achilles tendon, and forward Kameron Edwards, who broke his jaw in practice. The Waves have already lost 34 player-games due to injury or illness this season.

Gonzaga: The Bulldogs have won 32 consecutive games against Pepperdine, last losing in 2002. … Gonzaga has been holding opponents to 36 percent shooting from the floor, including a nation-best 26 percent from 3-point range.

UP NEXT

Pepperdine plays at Portland on Saturday.

Gonzaga plays at Pacific on Saturday.