SPOKANE – Sam Dower Jr. collected 21 points and a career-high 17 rebounds to lead No. 15 Gonzaga past Bryant 100-76 on Saturday in the opener for both teams.
The 6-foot-9 senior, making his eighth start for the Zags, shot 8 of 13 from the field and posted his second career double-double.
“It’s finally my time and I’m really excited about that,” said Dower, whose previous best in rebounds was 10. “I put in a lot of hard work preparing for this season, and it showed tonight. I feel a lot more confident (starting) than I did coming off the bench.”
Gerard Coleman, a transfer from Providence, scored 15 points and made four steals for Gonzaga before a sellout crowd of 6,000 at the McCarthey Athletic Center.
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Junior guards Gary Bell Jr. and Kevin Pangos added 14 apiece, and 7-foot-1 Przemek Karnowski had 10 points despite being limited to 12 minutes because of foul trouble.
Dyami Starks scored a career-high 35 points — 29 in the second half — for the Northeast Conference visitors from Smithfield, R.I.
Nine players scored for Gonzaga.
Though the Zags lost their three top rebounders — including All-American big man Kelly Olynyk — from last season’s 32-3 team, they outrebounded Bryant 39-30.
Gonzaga shot 54 percent from the field.