Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
SEATTLE (AP) - Gary Bell Jr. scored 14 of his 20 points in the first half, helping No. 20 Gonzaga build a huge lead in the first 10 minutes on their way to a 68-59 victory over South Alabama on Saturday night at Seattle's KeyArena.
A few days after rallying from a double-digit deficit to win at West Virginia, it was the Bulldogs who had a significant chunk of their big lead evaporate only to hold on in the final minutes.
The Bulldogs raced to a 22-3 lead in the first 10 minutes behind nine early points from Bell. South Alabama got as close as eight in the second half, but the Bulldogs answered every surge by the scrappy Jaguars.
Augustine Rubit led South Alabama (5-5) with a career-high 35 points.
The Bulldogs (10-1) were making their annual visit to KeyArena, but South Alabama lacked the cache of previous opponents. The Bulldogs had faced Connecticut, Davidson, Illinois, Arizona and Kansas State in Seattle the previous five years and they were hoping to draw another big program for 2013. Those plans fell through, leading to the visit by South Alabama.
Sam Dower Jr. scored 10 of his 12 in the first half as the Bulldogs overcame an off-shooting night for leading scorer Kevin Pangos, who made 3 of 12 shots and finished with 10 points. Pangos came in averaging 19.6 points per game. The Bulldogs came in as the No. 1 3-point shooting team in the country at 47.6 percent, but were just 2 of 14 beyond the arc.
Rubit supplied the bulk of the Jaguars' offense. No other South Alabama player had more than eight points. Rubit made 11 of 16 shots and all 10 of his free-throw attempts.
Gonzaga were challenged by the Jaguars after the lackluster opening 10 minutes.
Gonzaga put together a fast start, gave away a significant chunk of a 19-point lead and then closed the half with another surge. The Bulldogs outscored the Jaguars 22-3 over the first 10:10 of the game. Gonzaga raced ahead with a 16-2 spurt that included nine points from Bell. South Alabama missed nine of its first 10 shots and had four early turnovers.
The 19-point advantage was the biggest of the half and the Jaguars managed to make the half competitive with a run of their own. After going 10-plus minutes with just three points, South Alabama scored 11 points in 69 seconds, eight of those from Rubit. It was the start of a 20-8 run by the Jaguars that got them within seven.
And just as quickly, the Zags retook control before halftime.
The Bulldogs closed the half on an 11-2 run that included Przemek Karnowski scoring for the first time since the opening minute of the game. Kyle Dranginis then made a floater just before the halftime buzzer and the Bulldogs had regained nearly all of their 19-point advantage from earlier in the half.
Pangos was held to one point in the first half and didn't make a field goal until the 14:25 mark of the second half. The open 3 was the start of a personal seven-point spurt by Pangos that kept Gonzaga's lead at 11.
Rubit did his part to keep South Alabama close. He scored eight of nine points during one stretch of the second half and the Jaguars trailed 57-47 with 8:49 remaining.
Out of a timeout, Dranginis stole the inbound pass and his layup pushed the Bulldogs lead to 12. Following another South Alabama turnover, Dower scored in the paint and the Zags lead was 14. It was Dower's first basket of the second half.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)