PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) — A 13-0 run midway through the first half was just the boost Gonzaga needed Thursday night, as the Bulldogs got in front early and crusied to a 77-54 blowout win over West Virginia in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
“I had jitters going into (the game), I’ll be honest,” Gonzaga center Kevin Pangos said. “Once you get playing, it’s just the same game. It was easier. Everyone brought it on the court. It was a lot of fun, playing with the guys. Everyone did their part.”
Leading 14-10 early in the first half, Gonzaga held WVU scoreless for more than six minutes to build a 27-10 advantage with 6 minutes, 23 seconds left in the first half.
- Photo Gallery: WVU Falls To Gonzaga
“This is the worst defensive team I’ve ever had in 30 years,” West Virginia coach Bob Huggins said. “We don’t get the help, we don’t get the loose balls. We don’t do the things we’ve done for years and years and years.”
Moutaineers forward Kevin Jones ended the streak with a layup and followed with a jumper, but that was followed with another three-minute dry spell by WVU and Gonzaga took a 40-22 lead into halftime.
Nothing changed in the second half, as West Virginia failed to mount any semblance of a run to get back in the ball game.
“(Gonzaga) came out tougher, more aggressive, more energized than we were,” Jones said. “You see the result of it. They were the better team.”
Gary Browne led the Mountaineers with 15 points, followed closely by Jones with 13. Deniz Kilicli added 10 points as the only other WVU player in double-figures. Kilicli hit 4-of-7 shots from the field, easily the most efficient of any other player as West Virginia shot just 16-of-49 (32.7 percent) from the field.
Gary Bell Jr. and Robert Sacre scored 14 points each to lead Gonzaga in scoring. Pangos added 13 and Elias Harris had 10 as other Bulldogs in double-figures.
“I’ve never gotten beat like that,” Huggins said. “We just were never in the game. Shouldn’t say ‘never.’ Maybe a couple times. But not very well. I don’t know. Have to figure it out.”