No. 3 Gonzaga (25-2, 12-0) hosts Santa Clara (19-8, 7-5) Wednesday at 8:00 p.m. in the McCarthey Athletic Center. The game will be televised on ESPNU.
The Stats - Gonzaga and Santa Clara aren't just two of the top-scoring teams in the West Coast Conference, they are among the best in the nation. On the year the Zags average a WCC-best 78.3 points (11th in the country), with Santa Clara fourth in the WCC and 30th in the NCAA at 75.4. Both teams showed it in their first meeting, an 81-74 Bulldog victory. Gonzaga's play in the paint provided that edge, as GU racked up a 44-28 advantage. Meanwhile, the Zags only connected on two of their nine three-pointers. On the year the Broncos are tied with St. Mary's for made threes each game at 8.3. They also excel on the offensive glass, with a WCC-high 13.2 offensive boards each time out. That was on display against the Zags in January when they hauled in 18.
The Stars - In last week's win over Pepperdine Raymond Cowels III became SCU's fourth active player to reach the thousand-point plateau. Backcourt mates Kevin Foster and Evan Roquemore, along with 6-foot-9-inch forward Marc Trasolini. Foster is the most explosive scorer of the bunch at 18.3 per game, and 2,187 for his career. The senior guard paced Santa Clara with 29 in the teams' January clash, and has had 12 games with 20 points or more. Foster is also tops in the WCC at 2.41 steals each time out. However, the star of GU-SCU part one was Kelly Olynyk. In one of his finest performances of the season the seven-footer had 33 points on 12-for-15 shooting with 10 rebounds. He, Elias Harris and Sam Dower combined for 55 of the Bulldogs' 81 points. Gary Bell Jr. was the lone perimter player to reach double-digits, with his 12-point contribution. Mark Few's array of scorers has been on display of late, with four playes holding at least a share of team high-scoring honors in the last five games. Olynyk has been the steadiest contributor, with 26 points against San Francisco. Kevin Pangos is next in line, with 14 or more in three of their last four games. Another 33-point performance from Olynyk probably isn't likely. If the Broncos try to neutralize Gonzaga's posts it could give Pangos and company some open looks at their home rims.
The Storylines - A win Wednesday would match Gonzaga's highest regular season win total, with 26. Two more GU wins locks up at least a share of the WCC regular season title, something that eluded the Zags in 2012 for the first time in a dozen years. On the flip side, Santa Clara has won six of its last eight league contests, putting them in fourth place and in position to get a bye into the tournament quarterfinals. This after going winless in the conference last season. As far as the series goes, Gonzaga has claimed 26 of the last 27 meetings.