Gonzaga (23-4, 13-1 WCC) took on Loyola Marymount (11-6, 3-12 WCC) in the final home game of the season Saturday night. The Zags hosted a clinic down low as Gonzaga’s big men took it to LMU all night long. Three-pointers also continued to fly as guard Kevin Pangos, who scored 17 points, led the charge in the first half while forward Sam Dower Jr., who posted 25 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, led the charge in the second half. As a result the Zags were able to pull away and end senior night with an 86-67 win in front of a sold-out McCarthey Athletic Center. The win clinched a Conference title and an undefeated season at home for the Bulldogs.

“It feels good, not too many people can say they won all their games on their home court,” senior guard David Stockton said.
After a barrage of emotions and an emotional farewell to the beloved seniors Drew Barham, Brian Bhaskar, Dower, and Stockton before the game Gonzaga surprised everyone by bringing out former star player Kelly Olynyk. The crowd went wild as Olynyk took off his sweatshirt to reveal his old Gonzaga jersey underneath.

“I thought Kelly showing up made it one of the all-time great ones,” head coach Mark Few said. “That just moves you as much as anything.”

The Bulldogs came out firing as they began raining 3s en route to an early lead. With Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr. continuing to sink 3s the Polish center Przemek Karnowski was also able to work in the post and the offense began to run through him. This led to a staggering 51.3 percent shooting at the half for the Zags, as well as a 45-31 lead.

Making things even difficult for the Lions was the partnership that began to form between Karnowski, who ended the game with 11 points, and Dower as the game went on. The Lions simply couldn’t match up with the Zags down low as the big duo began to take over the game. As the defense began to double Karnowski, Dower really began to shine. The dominance down low was obvious when the Zags pulled down four consecutive offensive rebounds on one possession.

“We knew we had an advantage with our bigs and we tried to go there as many times as we could,” Few said.

The Zags simply outworked the Lions leading to 22 second-chance points and a dominant 40-25 rebounding advantage at the end of the game. The students shared a moment of excitement when Olynyk, fresh off an interview, joined them in the Kennel Club to cheer on his old team for a few minutes. It was all smiles as the team was hustling all over the floor the whole night.

The hard work continued as the subs began to check in as Gonzaga’s bench outscored LMU’s 29-2. This was on display on the second half as forward Angel Nunez got the crowd into it again with two monster blocks, including a LeBron James-esque off-the-backboard chase-down block.

“The chase-down was my favorite,” said Nunez. “I told Kevin cut him off and as he went to lay it up I just took off and blocked it.”