Gonzaga gets tested, but survives
Robert Sacre had 22 points and 10 rebounds as No. 23 Gonzaga edged scrappy Eastern Washington 77-69 on Friday night in the season opener...
SPOKANE — Robert Sacre had 22 points and 10 rebounds as No. 23 Gonzaga edged scrappy Eastern Washington 77-69 on Friday night in the season opener for both teams.
Marquise Carter added 17 points for Gonzaga (1-0), which made 36 of 51 free throws.
The loss spoiled the debut of new Eastern Washington coach Jim Hayford, and was the 24th straight loss for the Eagles (0-1) in the series, dating to 1990. Collin Chiverton led Eastern with 25 points, and the Eagles made 13 three-pointers to stay close.
"I know we earned some respect, but I wanted to win," said Hayford. "Our fans should be proud of our players. We showed some tremendous resolve — this is a tough place to play."
Ahead by three points at halftime, Gonzaga rode five early points by Elias Harris to a 47-39 lead.
Chiverton hit a three-pointer and then all three free throws when he was fouled trying a three to pull Eastern within 47-45. Jordan Hickert's three-pointer lifted Eastern to a 49-48 lead with 14 minutes left.
The teams traded the lead several times before Kevin Pangos hit a three-pointer for a 64-59 Gonzaga lead. But Eastern Washington came right back as Chiverton and Jeffrey Forbes hit three-pointers for a 65-64 lead with 6:40 left.
Eastern then was scoreless for four minutes as the Zags took a 73-65 lead and they were not challenged again.
"Our entire schedule is going to be like this," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. "We cannot get caught up in the hype and the rankings."
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