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After loss, No. 6 Gonzaga seeks bouce-back effort at Pacific

Jan 19, 2023; Spokane, Washington, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Drew Timme (2) shoots the ball against Loyola Marymount Lions center Rick Issanza (22) in the second half at McCarthey Athletic Center. Lions won 68-67. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The Gonzaga magic was sagging earlier this month when the Bulldogs had three consecutive West Coast Conference games decided by five or fewer points.

Then it outright evaporated Thursday night with a stunning 68-67 home loss to Loyola Marymount, a program that hadn’t won in Spokane, Wash., since 1991.

No. 6 Gonzaga attempts to move on from the surprising setback when it visits Pacific on Saturday night at Stockton, Calif.

The Bulldogs (16-4, 5-1 WCC) had a 75-game winning streak at the on-campus McCarthey Athletic Center halted, as well as an 11-game overall winning streak this season.

“Obviously, the home streak is over and it was going to end sometime,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. “It ended in a tough, hard-fought battle. Our guys battled back. We had a shot to keep it going. That’s an unbelievable accomplishment by all of our teams and actually our fans and this community to post that big of a number.

“I don’t think anyone is going to touch it for quite some time if you look across the landscape of college basketball.”

Loyola Marymount’s Cam Shelton scored the go-ahead basket with 14.7 seconds remaining, and the Bulldogs came up empty in the final seconds when Drew Timme had his shot blocked and Julian Strawther missed a 3-point attempt.

Timme struggled early against the Lions and scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half. He shot 5 of 12 to drop his season mark to 60.2 percent from the field.

“They made it pretty hard on him,” Gonzaga’s Anton Watson said of the Lions’ defensive tactics on Timme. “I think it’s like that every night, he’s going to get double teams, it’s going to be physical for him. Drew needs to keep his head up because he’s one of the best scorers in the nation.”

Timme leads the Bulldogs with a 21.3-point scoring average. Strawther averages 13.4 points with Rasir Bolton (10.6) and Watson (10.0) also scoring in double digits.

Now Gonzaga plays another squad it seldom has troubles with. The Zags are 20-1 all-time against Pacific, including 18-0 during Few’s 24-season coaching tenure.

The Tigers (10-11, 3-3) fell 78-57 at San Francisco on Thursday for their second straight loss.

Pacific shot just 30.5 percent from the field and was 5 of 21 (23.8 percent) from 3-point range. The Tigers trailed by 19 at halftime and by as many as 31 in the second half.

“We spent time on the scouting report, and we weren’t strong enough to execute,” Pacific coach Leonard Perry said.

Donovan Williams scored 15 points for the Tigers, ending a streak of eight straight single-digit outings. Jordan Ivy-Curry added 11 points. Leading scorer Keylan Boone (11.7 ppg) was scoreless on 0-of-4 shooting against the Dons.

Prior to the two-game skid, Pacific enjoyed a stretch in which it won six of seven games. The lone setback came against BYU, 69-49 on Dec. 29. The Tigers lost 92-81 at home to Santa Clara on Jan. 14 to start the two-game slide.

Pacific’s lone win against Gonzaga came on Dec 23, 1976, when the Tigers prevailed 70-60 at home.

–Field Level Media

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