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No. 8 Gonzaga keeps home win streak alive, buries Portland

Jan 14, 2023; Spokane, Washington, USA; Portland Pilots forward Alden Applewhite (3) shoots the ball against Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Ben Gregg (33) in the first half at McCarthey Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Malachi Smith came off the bench and scored a game-high 27 points as No. 8 Gonzaga rolled to a 115-75 victory against Portland in a West Coast Conference game Saturday night in Spokane, Wash.

Drew Timme added 18 points for the Bulldogs (16-3 overall, 5-0 WCC), who won their 11th consecutive game. Julian Strawther scored 14, Nolan Hickman 13 and Anton Watson and Ben Gregg had 12 apiece.

Smith, a transfer from Chattanooga who was the Southern Conference’s player of the year last season, shot 7 of 10 from beyond the 3-point line and had a team-high eight rebounds and five assists.

Moses Wood led Portland (9-11, 1-4) with 19 points and Kristian Sjoland added 17 points and 12 rebounds. The Pilots lost for the sixth time in their past seven games.

The Bulldogs were coming off three consecutive harrowing WCC road victories – at San Francisco, Santa Clara and BYU – by a combined margin of eight points. They had to rally from double-digit deficits in each.

But they had no such trouble back at the McCarthey Athletic Center, where they have the nation’s longest home winning streak at 75 games, the most in the modern era of NCAA Division I (since 1985).

Timme and Strawther each scored 12 points as Gonzaga took a 61-28 halftime lead, shooting 60.5% (23 of 38) from the field, including 9 of 17 from beyond the 3-point line. Gonzaga forced 12 first-half turnovers, turning those into 26 points.

Timme scored on an alley-oop dunk off a turnover on GU’s first possession and the rout was on.

Back-to-back 3-pointers by Smith – both on fast breaks – capped a 14-1 run and gave the Zags a 23-5 lead with 11:41 left in the half.

Another 3-pointer by Smith sparked a 15-0 run to close the half, pushing Gonzaga’s lead to 33 points.

The victory was GU’s 36th straight in games played in January and their 93rd in a row against unranked opponents. It was also their 15th consecutive win in the series with the Pilots.

–Field Level Media