No. 12 Gonzaga looks to start new home win streak vs. Santa Clara

No. 12 Gonzaga looks to start new home win streak vs. Santa Clara

Field-Level Media

Number 12 Gonzaga’s last game at the McCarthey Athletic Center, known as “The Kennel”, didn’t go well.

The Bulldogs’ 75-game winning streak at home — the longest in modern NCAA Division I men’s basketball (since the NCAA Tournament expansion in 1985) — was undone by a 68-67 loss to Loyola Marymount on January 19.

Gonzaga (18-4, 7-1 West Coast Conference) will look to start a new home streak against Santa Clara (16-7, 4-4) Thursday night in Spokane, Washington.

Gonzaga’s home run wasn’t the only streak interrupted by Loyola Marymount. The Bulldogs had won 36 straight in January and 93 in a row against unranked opponents.

The Bulldogs rebounded with a pair of road wins, 99-90 at Pacific on Jan. 21 and 82-67 at Portland on Saturday. In that last contest, Julian Strawther scored a career-high 40 points, sinking eight 3-pointers. Gonzaga’s Drew Timme had a chance for a 40-point game against Pacific, but missed two late free throws to finish at 38.

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Strawther made two foul shots with 2:10 to go against the Pilots, then added a put-back with 1:30 to go to reach the 40-point plateau.

“(Timme) just said to me in the dressing room, ‘Thank you for not shooting me and missing the free throws at the end,’ Strawther said.

Strawther’s previous career high was 23 points against Xavier in November.

“We always talk about Portland being a shooter’s gym,” said Strawther, a junior. “I used to get 40 once in a while in high school, but I never thought I’d get one in college.” “All the guys on the bench were yelling at me to get one more bucket. I had a similar time in high school. I was at a 50 field goal. It’s a crazy feeling once those last few points came in. .

Meanwhile, Gonzaga’s defense forced 18 turnovers and allowed its lowest run total in eight conference games.

“We were more alert, more connected,” Bulldogs coach Mark Few said. “They hit a couple threes in that second half. … Some of the moves they make and the shots they take are interesting, to say the least, and they did, but overall our energy was better and our connectivity was better.We didn’t have as many mis-assignments.

Santa Clara, which nearly upset visiting Gonzaga on Jan. 7 before falling 81-76, has lost two in a row.

The Broncos lost 77-58 at Saint Mary’s on Jan. 21 and 95-89 Saturday to Pacific despite guard Brandin Podziemski’s career-high 38 points.

A second transfer from Illinois, Podziemski ranks third in the WCC with 19 points per game, behind only Timme (21.4) and Loyola Marymount’s Cam Shelton (19.3). The Broncos, however, gave up 17 3-point shots against Pacific.

“It was a hell of a show of shooting. They did shot after shot,” Santa Clara coach Herb Sendek said. “We cannot be satisfied with our defensive effort. … The game was decided defensively for us.”

This will be the 100th meeting of all time between the Bulldogs and the Broncos. Gonzaga leads the series 69-30, having won 48 of the last 50 meetings and the last 25 in a row. –Field-Level Media

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