No. 24 Gonzaga maintains hold on Pepperdine


Graham Ike recorded 20 points and seven rebounds and No. 24 Gonzaga defeated Pepperdine for the 46th consecutive time, prevailing 86-60 in the West Coast Conference opener for both teams on Thursday night at Spokane, Wash.

Anton Watson scored 15 points and Nolan Hickman added 14 as the Bulldogs (10-4, 1-0 WCC) won their 28th consecutive WCC opener, including all 25 during coach Mark Few’s tenure at the school.

Braden Huff had 11 points and Ryan Nembhard contributed 10 points and seven assists for Gonzaga, which lost three of its previous five games.

Houston Mallette scored 15 points but was only 2-of-9 shooting for the Waves (7-9, 0-1). Michael Ajayi had 14 points and matched his career best of 14 rebounds for Pepperdine but made just 3 of 15 field-goal attempts.

Pepperdine last defeated the Bulldogs 88-79 in Malibu, Calif., on Jan. 18, 2002.

Gonzaga shot 56.1 percent from the field, including 8 of 19 from 3-point range. Hickman made 4 of 5 from long range.

The Waves made just 32.8 percent of their attempts and were 7 of 19 from behind the arc.

The Bulldogs had a 41-31 rebounding edge and a 44-18 advantage in points in the paint.

Ethan Anderson opened the scoring for Pepperdine and that marked the lone lead of the game for the Waves.

The Bulldogs rattled off 15 of the next 17 points to hold a 15-4 advantage less than 7 1/2 minutes into the game.

Gonzaga later scored 11 straight points to increase its lead to 36-14 on two free throws from Watson with 4:31 left in the half.

The lead soon increased to 23 before the Zags settled for a 45-27 lead at the break. Ike had 13 in the half for Gonzaga, while Mallette had eight in the half for Pepperdine.

A three-point play by Ike made it 59-34 with 13:42 remaining in the game.

Gonzaga pushed the lead over 30 for the first time when Ben Gregg converted a layup to make it 74-43 with 9:04 left.

The lead topped out at 35 points.