Zag Hot File: Portland

Zag Hot File: Portland

Zag Hot File: Portland

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by KREM 2 Sports

KREM.com

Posted on January 16, 2013 at 9:27 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 16 at 9:30 PM

No. 8 Gonzaga (16-1, 3-0) visits Portland (8-10, 1-2) Thursday at 7:00 p.m. The game will take place in the Chiles Center and be televised by Root Sports.

The Stats - Portland does not want to get in a shootout with the Zags. The Pilots are dead last in points per game in the West Coast Conference at just 61.7, while the Zags have been the most prolific at 80.8. The Bulldogs have been among the nation's best shooting teams all year, now hitting 51.7 percent of their attempts. Meanwhile Portland connects on just 41.9 percent of theirs, while hitting on 29.5 percent of their three-pointers. The Pilots aren't afraid to do the dirty work. Eric Reveno's group is among the WCC's best in hitting the glass. Unfortunately they've had a tendency to counter those extra possessions with turnovers, with a league-worst 14.8 each time out.

The Stars - Spokane fans are pretty familiar with Portland's lead performer. Gonzaga Prep grad Ryan Nicholas is a 6-foot-7-inch junior forward who led the Pilots in scoring, rebounding and minutes last season. Once again he sets the tone at 13.4 points and 9.8 boards. He's had six double-doubles and has been held to single-digit scoring just five times. As for Gonzaga, in the beginning of the season trying to pick out their top performer from one game to the next seemed like it would be an impossible task. While their depth still puts the opposition in a bind, Kelly Olynyk has emerged as an easy pick to lead the way offensively night in and night out. Olynyk combined for 64 points and 18 rebounds in the last two games alone. He has scored 20 or more in six of their last nine games, beginning at Washington State. Elias Harris has been steady, and Kevin Pangos has come through when they've needed it most. But Olynyk has caused nightmares for the oppostition.
 
The Storylines - The teams' history, dating back nearly two decades, has been pretty one-sided. Portland's last win over the Bulldogs came in 2003, with 18 straight GU victories leading up to Thursday. The Zags have come away victorious on 16 consecutive occasions when the teams have met up in Portland, including a 12-0 record under Mark Few.  As a whole, 32 of their last 33 games have gone to Gonzaga. It's a streak that shows no signs of stopping this week.  

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