MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Center Przemek Karnowski’s height advantage helped No. 20 Gonzaga overcome its worst shooting performance of the season.
The sophomore scored a season-high 19 points, Kevin Pangos added 18 and the Zags came from 10 points down to beat West Virginia 80-76 on Tuesday night.
A 7-foot-1, 305-pound native of Poland, Karnowski had his way against West Virginia’s frontcourt, which doesn’t have a player taller than 6-10. Karnowski made 6 of 11 field goals and matched a career high with 13 rebounds for the second double-double of his career.
“The guys were finding me,” Karnowski said. “I had great passes, I just had to finish them.”
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A 47.6 percent free-throw shooter entering the game, Karnowski went 7 of 8 from the line to help the Zags rise to 9-1.
“We knew coming in that we had a size advantage,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. “Pzem did a good job in traffic and finished some plays. The best thing that he did tonight was rebound, because any team that (West Virginia’s Bob Huggins) coaches is tough and they are going to fight you on the glass.”
Gonzaga had a 43-36 rebounding advantage.
Eron Harris led the Mountaineers (6-4) with 23 points, but was limited to five in the second half.
The Zags entered the game with the nation’s best field-goal percentage at 54.9 but were held to 44.3 percent in their first game on an opponent’s court this season. Their previous worst was 48.1 percent in a Nov. 25 loss to Dayton in the Maui Invitational.