MAUI, Hawaii – Junior Kevin Pangos scored 34 points and six different players helped No. 11/10 Gonzaga make 12 three-pointers, as the Arkansas men’s basketball team dropped a 91-81 decision to the Bulldogs Wednesday on ESPN2 at the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational held the Lahaina Civic Center.
Four players reached double figures for the Razorbacks, but they couldn’t overcome Gonzaga’s 55 percent (30-55) night from the field that included 12-of-20 from three-point range. Arkansas is now 4-2 as it heads home for four straight games at Bud Walton Arena, while Gonzaga moves to 6-1.
“First off, congrats to coach Mark Few and his team. They did a good job of coming out and putting on quite a shooting display led by Pangos,” said head coach Mike Anderson. “He (Pangos) almost played a perfect game and his teammates did a good job of finding him. I don’t want to take anything away from our guys though. I thought they gave great effort and showed a never-quit attitude which is something we can build on.”
The starting frontcourt duo of freshman Bobby Portis and junior Alandise Harris led the way with a combined 35 points, including 24 in the second half, and 11 rebounds. Portis established a new season-high with 18 points on 8-of-14 from the field while grabbing a team-best seven boards. The double figure outing is the fifth of the young season for Harris, who had 17 points.
As good as Arkansas’ frontcourt was, the play of Pangos was the difference in the game as he made 10-of-15 from the floor, 7-of-8 from three and 7-of-8 from the free throw line en route to a career-high 34 points in 39 minutes of work. Led by Pangos, Gonzaga’s glairing advantage came from the field where it shot 55 percent compared to 43 percent (31-72) from the Razorbacks.
Arkansas did hold the edge in several statistical categories, out-rebounding the Bulldogs 40-35 thanks to 19 offensive rebounds, while also winning the turnover battle (11-9) for the 10th straight game dating back to last year. The 19 offensive boards led to a 23-5 edge in second chance points, as eight different players grabbed an offensive carom. Freshman center Moses Kingsley turned in 10 productive minutes with nine points while equaling classmate Bobby Portis’ team-best seven rebounds.
Portis had eight of Arkansas’ first 13 points in the second half and his second old-fashioned three-point play in the opening four minutes of the second frame closed the deficit to five, at 48-43.
Over the game’s next 10 minutes, Gonzaga hit seven three pointers, including five from Pangos, to grow the lead to as large as 18, 75-57, and put the game out of reach.
Coming off a freshman season in which he reached double figures five times, sophomoreMichael Qualls accomplished the feat for the sixth straight contest to start the season with 13 points and five rebounds. Senior Coty Clarke was the final Razorback in double figures with all 11 of his points coming in the second half, combining with Portis and Harris to give the frontcourt 35 of the team’s 50 points in the final frame. The Razorbacks have scored 103 second half points in their last two games.
Arkansas now has five days off from game action before it welcomes Southeastern Louisiana to Bud Walton Arena on Tuesday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m.
More on Pangos’ performance from Gonzaga:
Kevin Pangos and No. 11 Gonzaga got back on track after stumbling at the start of their trip to Hawaii.
Pangos, named to the All-Tournament team, scored a career-high 34 points and the Bulldogs easily beat Arkansas 91-81 on Wednesday to win their final two games at the Maui Invitational following a first-round defeat.
Pangos made 7-of-8 3-point attempts, including four during a 3-minute stretch in the second half that led the Zags to an 18-point lead. He got a standing ovation from fans in the tiny gym when he came out of the game with less than 2 minutes left.
But Gonzaga head coach Mark Few was forced to put Pangos and Gary Bell, Jr., back into the game in the final minute when Arkansas cut a 17-point deficit to 11. It was after he re-entered the game Pangos hit a pair of free throws for points 33 and 34 and the career high.
”The shots were just falling. You hit the front rim, it just absorbs it,” Pangos said. ”As a shooter, you feel more confident putting it up knowing that there’s that extra good chance it’s going to roll in or get a good bounce.”
Pangos did more than just shoot 3s, though. He had four assists, three rebounds and several layups in traffic while the game was still close.
”He played perfect basketball,” Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said.
Gonzaga (6-1) never trailed and responded each time the Razorbacks tried to string together baskets.
Sam Dower Jr. had 19 points and Bell 13 for the Zags.
Gonzaga bounced back for two wins and fifth place in the early-season tournament after losing in the first round to unranked Dayton. The Bulldogs beat Division II Chaminade on Tuesday.
Gonzaga coach Mark Few was happy with how his team responded to the loss.
”This was a different experience for us, to be in the breakfast bracket. It really challenges who you are and what you’re all about,” Few said.
Bobby Portis had 18 points for Arkansas (4-2). Alandise Harris scored 17, Michael Qualls added 13 and Coty Clarke 11.
”We will build on this experience,” said Few, who praised the performances by Portis and Harris throughout the tournament. ”All that tells me we are not that far off.”
With less than 3 minutes left in the first half, Pangos took a pass from David Stockton and drove in for a layup, tumbling to the floor after being fouled by Mardracus Wade. Pangos’ free throw gave Gonzaga a 38-25 lead, tying its largest advantage of the half.
Arkansas responded with six points in just more than a minute to cut it to 38-31 at halftime. Portis hit a jumper at the start of the second half to narrow the deficit to five, but the Razorbacks got no closer.
About 5 minutes into the second half, Kyle Dranginis stole the ball from Qualls. Dranginis took a return pass from Pangos and hit a 3 from the top of the key to give Gonzaga a double-digit lead for good.
Few thought the rims in the Lahaina Civic Center were the softest he’s ever seen, allowing more shots to fall.
”I could shoot 50 percent from 3s on these rims,” he said.