SPOKANE – Saturday was “Kraziness in the Kennel” in the McCarthey Athletic Center, a time for fans to get their first look at the 2012-13 Gonzaga University men’s basketball team.
And it was also a time for the coaches to get a good look at the squad in game conditions in front of a crowd in the 15-minute scrimmage.
For the record the Blue beat the Red 33-31 with the Blue having the biggest lead of 21-15 halfway through the scrimmage.
But the fans got an exciting finish to the scrimmage.
The Blue was up 26-25 when Sam Dower hit a jumper for a 28-25 lead then sank a free throw with 48 ticks remaining for a 29-25 advantage.
Kyle Dranginis drained a 3-pointer for the Red with 30 seconds left, and Drew Barham made a pair of free throws with 18 seconds left for a 31-28 Blue lead. Guy Landry Edi sank two free throws for a 33-28 lead. But Kevin Pangos banked in a trey from 30 feet to make it 33-31 with 1.1 seconds left, and the Blue inbounded the ball to preserve the victory.
Head coach Mark Few liked what he saw.
“I thought it was pretty good, pretty clean, we took pretty good care of the ball. I’ll have to look at some things defensively. We’re still kind of beat up and banged up. We had to play a couple of guys out of position. By and large that’s how we’ve looked all fall,” Few said. “The guys shared the ball very, very well, ran the floor pretty good. I’ll have to check our rebound effort on tape. It gives us kind of a start to work with; we’ve got something on tape.”
The Bulldogs were without senior forward Elias Harris who is nursing a pulled groin.
“He popped his groin pretty good. We’re taking it slow. Sometimes those things can take some time.” Few said.
When asked the importance of practice leading up to the season when there’s no real opponent to focus on, Few said it depends if you’re taking the perspective of the coaches or the players.
“From a coaches standpoint we think they are really important, from a player’s standpoint I think they are pretty rough and tough. I’ve been pulling back a little bit from what we’ve done in the past. We’re a deep team when we play somebody else, but when we play each other we’re not very deep,” Few explained of the pre-season. “We’ve been pulling back a little and they’ve been handling it well. These are hard. There’s a lot of intensity, a lot of hitting, a lot of learning and a lot of going against each other; you can’t quite see that carrot at the end of the road. Today was obviously one thing they were looking forward to and we have an exhibition coming up they can look forward to.”
The Bulldogs face Northwest Nazarene University in their lone exhibition next Saturday at the McCarthey Athletic Center.
Leading up to the exhibition Few said there’s still some work to be done.
“I think we need to establish some more toughness, a little nastiness and see how we’re going to be around the basket. By and large, offensively I’m pretty pleased, transition wise we’re good and I think our core defense has been pretty decent, although it’s hard to say when you’re playing against a bunch of guys that can shoot like we have this year,” he said.
The teams went a combined 24-for-50 Saturday for 48 percent. Dower paced the Blue with 11 points on 5-of-8 from the field while Pangos scored 11 for the Red on a 4-for-8 day from the field.
The fact 6,000 fans packed the McCarthey Athletic Center Saturday was also appreciated by Few and the team.
“It’s great. It’s great to be at a program where you come out on an early October afternoon and see the house packed. It’s an amazing attribute the Spokane community has given us and we’re very appreciative of that,” he said.
But Few said you can also turn the tables on that.
“A guy like Gerard (Providence College transfer Coleman) has never experienced anything like that, and, obviously, Przemek (7-1 freshman center Karnowski from Poland) has never experienced anything like that. It’s really neat for them, too,” Few said of the experience.
The Bulldogs were also without Kelly Olynyk Saturday.
The junior forward was unavailable to participate in “Kraziness in the Kennel” Saturday as a result of an unresolved issue overseen by Student Life. We anticipate the matter will be resolved in the near future, at which time updated information will be provided.
"Kelly is going through the same process to which all students are subject when there is a matter under the purview of Student Life, and we support that process," Gonzaga Athletic Director Mike Roth said. "Kelly is cooperating fully."
Per University policy, the University does not provide details on matters regarding individual students.