Davidson-Gonzaga Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated November 24, 2012
Gonzaga seems to truly love its trips to Walt Disney World. The 17th-ranked Bulldogs will try to move to a perfect 6-0 all-time at the theme park's Old Spice Classic and win their second championship as they meet Davidson in Sunday night's final. Gonzaga is also looking for its first 6-0 start since 2008, which was the first time it won the tournament in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The Bulldogs are in the championship this time after wins over Clemson and Oklahoma, whom they dominated in a 72-47 semifinal result on Friday. Prior to arriving in Florida, Gonzaga won its first three games of the season - against Southern Utah, West Virginia and South Dakota - by an average of 36.6 points. The tournament's tougher competition has slowed down the offense a bit, holding the Bulldogs to 129 points in two games. But their defense has become even stingier, holding both the Tigers and Sooners to fewer than 50 points. Oklahoma was limited to 2-of-15 shooting in the first 10 1/2 minutes and shot 32.0 percent for the game. "That was a really, really good win for us," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. "We played really good. Got back to playing our style. We attacked on the offensive end all night, and did another great job playing defense." Elias Harris, who averages teams highs of 14.0 points and 9.0 rebounds, scored 14 of his game-high 18 in the second half. "I think it was just the game coming to me at that point," the senior forward said. "I played more aggressive. That was really the main key." Harris is getting plenty of help offensively, with five other players scoring at least 10.0 points per game. Ten Bulldogs scored against Oklahoma, including the starting backcourt of Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr. tallying eight each. Pangos and Bell are Gonzaga's biggest 3-point threats, hitting a combined 16 of 42 shots (38.1 percent) from the perimeter. "That's one of the strengths of our team this year is depth," Pangos said. "That's a big thing with our team because we just wear down other teams." Davidson (3-2) reached the final with Friday's 63-60 win over West Virginia after defeating Vanderbilt on Thursday. The Wildcats trailed the Mountaineers by two at halftime, but heated up in the second frame for the second straight day. Davidson is 25 of 41 (60.9 percent) from the floor in the second half during the tournament. Four Wildcats are averaging in double figures, led by De'Mon Brooks at 18.2 points per game. Davidson allowed it fewest points of the season against West Virginia, with coach Bob McKillop crediting heavy doses of zone defense. But the effectiveness of the zone came with an expense. "I thought our defense was superb with one problem. I thought we gave up too many rebounds," McKillop said. "We could not get a body on them in the zone defense." West Virginia outrebounded Davidson 35-26 and pulled in 18 offensive boards. That could spell trouble against Gonzaga, which owns a plus-14.0 rebounding differential - one of the best marks in the nation. The schools split their two previous meetings, with Gonzaga claiming a 103-91 win in their last game in 2009.
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