Posted on December 30, 2012 at 7:59 PM
No. 13 Gonzaga (12-1) visits No. 22 Oklahoma State Monday at 3:00 p.m. in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The teams will meet at Gallagher-Iba Arena in a game televised by ESPN2.
The Stats - The Zags and Cowboys present one of those offense vs. defense matchups. That's not to say that Gonzaga doesn't 'D' up and OK-State can't get the ball in the hoop, but when GU has the ball you'll see the teams' strengths. Mark Few's club has the nation's 14th ranked scoring 'O' (80.8 points per game) and 3rd best shooting percentage (52). Kelly Olynyk has made 67.1 percent of his attempts, second only to N.C State's T.J. Warren. On the other side the Cowboys sit 12th in scoring defense (55.5) and field goal percentage 'D' (35.8). Their 5.5 blocked shots is 22nd most in the country, while Marcus Smart ranks No. 13 with 2.73 thefts each game. Oklahoma State has allowed over 65 points once (resulting in their only loss to Virginia Tech) and has given up 50 or more once in their last five games.
The Stars - Like Gonzaga, OK-State's top four scorers are all between 10 and 15 points. While Le'Bryan Nash leads the team in scoring (14.9), Marcus Smart stuffs the stat sheet. The 6-foot-4-inch freshman guard is 3rd in scoring (12.5), 2nd in rebounding (6.4), tops in assists (5) and steals (2.73) and tied for the team lead in blocks (14). Gonzaga fans had to be thrilled to see Kevin Pangos come alive against Baylor, scoring a season-high 31 points. That total was one point shy of his total output from The Zags' previous four games. It will be interesting to see if that sparks a hot streak for Pangos. One thing is for sure - you can seemingly pencil Kelly Olynyk in for a stellar number night in and night out. He's topped 20 points in three of their last five games and seems to elevate his game against bigger and better opponents. The Cowboys' 6'11" Philip Jurick will be the next in line to try and slow down No. 13.
The Storylines - Gonzaga is 4-for-4 against Big 12 units and will go for a season sweep with their fifth such test on New Years Eve. These teams are meeting for the second straight time on December 31st, the last coming two years ago. That 73-52 win gave GU a 4-0 mark against OSU. Monday's clash will be their first in Stillwater, and Gonzaga will be their first non-conference visitor ranked in the top-25 since 1989. The trip to Stillwater is the Zags' second true road game of the year, as well as their second against a ranked squad. Illinois handed GU its first loss in the previous meeting if top-25 teams. A New Years Eve victory would help put that loss further in the past, and have GU feeling awfully good heading into 2013.