Spokane, WA (SportsNetwork.com) - The 11th-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs will begin a brief two-game homestand on Sunday night as they square off with the Coppin State Eagles at the McCarthy Athletic Center.
Coppin State, which operates out of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, is off to a 2-3 start to the season, which includes an outstanding road victory over Oregon State on Nov. 10 (78-73). After earning a home win versus Ohio Valley on Nov. 25 (96-79), the Eagles faced a tall task in going into Ann Arbor to play Michigan on Friday night, and fell hard, 87-45.
Gonzaga traveled to Hawaii early last week to take part in the Maui Invitational, where its perfect season was ruined in the opening round when Dayton won in upset fashion, 84-79. The Bulldogs redeemed their trip somewhat by finishing it out with wins over Chaminade (113-81) and Arkansas (91-81) to improve to 6-1.
This marks the first-ever meeting between the squads on the hardwood.
Simply put, Coppin State was outmatched in every way by Michigan on Friday night, as it was outshot from the field, 51.6 percent to 34.8 percent, and outrebounded, 44-19, en route to the 42-point blowout loss. There wasn't much to cheer about on the CSU side of things, but Dallas Gary managed to score 11 points in a reserve role, while Taariq Cephas added 10 points and five assists. The Eagles have been inconsistent on the offensive end of the court this season, resulting in 73.0 points per game on just 40.3 percent from the field. Sterling Smith is off to a great start to the campaign, as he scores 15.8 points per game on nearly 60 percent from the field, including 12-of-24 from 3-point range. Cephas (12.4 ppg) hands out 3.6 assists per game, while Arnold Fripp (9.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg) is a mainstay in the frontcourt.
The Bulldogs never trailed in the fifth-place game of the Maui Invitational last Wednesday, as they shot a lofty 54.5 percent from the field while draining 12 3-pointers on their way to the 10-point victory over the Razorbacks. Kevin Pangos was the catalyst in the triumph, as he shot a blistering 7-of-8 from beyond the arc en route to a career-high 34 points. Sam Dower was also great, netting 19 points on 6-of-9 shooting, while Gary Bell, Jr. rounded out the double-digit scorers with 13 points. On the season, Gonzaga has been on of the nation's best offensive teams, ranking first in field goal percentage (.567), second in 3-point percentage (.489) and third in scoring (92.6 ppg). Pangos had made a habit of posting strong scoring totals, as he leads the way with 22.0 points per game to go with 3.9 assists per outing. Dower brings 15.0 points and 7.4 rebounds to the table, and Bell also scores 15.0 per game. Przemek Karnowski (9.4 ppg, 7.3 rpg) and Gerard Coleman (9.1 ppg) are important role players.