Sam Dower scored 17 points and No. 25 Gonzaga broke away in the second half for an 80-58 victory over Santa Clara on Saturday, the Bulldogs' eighth consecutive win.
SPOKANE — Sam Dower remembered exactly what Gonzaga coach Mark Few said at halftime.
“‘We have to outrebound them. They’re playing harder than us. We have to match their intensity and just play our game,’ ” Dower recalled Few saying after his team trailed 28-26.
Dower scored 17 points and No. 25 Gonzaga broke away in the second half for an 80-58 victory over Santa Clara on Saturday, the Bulldogs’ eighth consecutive win.
“We were rushing our shots. In the second half we started shooting our shots,” Dower said.
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Freshman Gary Bell Jr. had 15 points for the Bulldogs (13-2,3-0 West Coast Conference), who broke the game open early in the second half with an 18-0 run. The Zags haven’t allowed more than 65 during their streak.
Santa Clara (8-7, 0-2) fell to 0-5 on the road with its third straight loss. Raymond Cowels III led the Broncos with 13 points and Brandon Clark had 12.
Bell also did most of the defensive work that limited guard Kevin Foster, who torched them for 36 and 29 points last season, to nine points, half his average.
Foster, who is third in the nation in three-pointers at 3.8 a game and led the nation last season, was 2 of 9 from the field and 0 of 4 from three-point range. He hit nine threes in Spokane last season.
“When you play good defense on somebody and they keep hitting hard shots, you just have to keep playing. Today he just missed them,” Bell said. “The big guys extended on the screens and he couldn’t get wide-open looks. It helped me get back to contest his shots. He has a quick release.”
Few said: “Gary has built a lot of trust in the staff and his teammates. … He always has energy on defense.”
Three free throws by Foster a minute into the second half gave Santa Clara its last lead at 31-30 but Gonzaga reeled off 18 straight points, including back-to-back three-pointets by Kevin Pangos (who finished with 10 points and five assists), consecutive layups by Bell and six points by Elias Harris.