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Karnowski, Wiltjer lead No. 6 Gonzaga over Santa Clara 79-57

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SPOKANE, Washington — Basketball is considered a game of speed. For center Przemek Karnowski of No. 6 Gonzaga, the key to his success this season has been slowing his game down.

Karnowski scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds as Gonzaga beat Santa Clara 79-57 on Saturday.

"I'm trying to be more patient on the block when I get the ball," said Karnowski, who sank 8-of-10 shots. "I look for open guys, and if they are not there I make my move."

Coach Mark Few agreed that the more deliberate play of the 7-foot-1 Karnowski has led to a great run in recent games.

"It's good to see him slowing down," Few said. "He's a smart kid and a good player. He's a force."

Karnowski dominated the inside against the smaller Broncos, who had no answer on his moves to the basket.

Five Gonzaga players scored in double figures: Kyle Wiltjer had 16 points, Kevin Pangos 13, and Domantas Sabonis and Byron Wesley had 11 each for Gonzaga (16-1, 5-0 West Coast), which has won nine straight.

"We were crazy efficient on offense," Few said of the Zags, who shot 65 percent in the first half and 53 percent for the game. They scored 44 points in the paint.

Matt Hubbard scored 15 points and Sam Brownridge 14 for cold-shooting Santa Clara (7-10, 2-4).

"They are going to have a size advantage over anyone in the whole country," Santa Clara coach Kerry Keating said of Gonzaga. "You have to pick your poison with those guys."

Santa Clara has had trouble scoring in all six of its WCC games, Keating said.

"We are not putting the ball up very well," Keating said. "We need to get better down the stretch.

Santa Clara shot just 40 percent in the first half, and trailed 44-31 at halftime. They shot only 29 percent in the second half.

Keating noted that Gonzaga scored 19 points off turnovers, while the Broncos had only four.

"That's the difference in the game," Keating said.

Gonzaga has won 34 straight home games, second-longest streak in the nation after Duke's 41-game run. They have beaten the Broncos nine consecutive times since 2011.

Karnowski, who had a 7-inch height advantage over defender Nate Kratch, had his way inside.

PHOTO: Gonzaga head coach Mark Few talks to his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Santa Clara in Spokane, Wash., Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
Gonzaga head coach Mark Few talks to his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Santa Clara in Spokane, Wash., Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)

Gonzaga dominated the boards 41-26.

Gonzaga made nine of its first 13 shots, most from inside the paint, in jumping to a 21-13 lead. Hubbard hit a pair of 3-pointers to keep the Broncos within striking range.

Brownridge's basket cut Gonzaga's lead to 23-20.

Kratch completed a 3-point play to bring Santa Clara within one point at 30-29 with 5:49 left.

But Karnowski replied with two straight baskets and Gonzaga closed the first half with a 14-2 run for a 44-31 lead at intermission.

Karnowski had 12 points in the first half as Gonzaga shot 65 percent. Santa Clara shot just 40 percent in the first.

Things got worse for the Broncos in the second half.

Byron Wesley scored five points as Gonzaga took a 53-38 lead early in the second.

After Hubbard hit a 3-pointer to cut Gonzaga's lead to 12, the Zags went on a 17-6 run for a 70-47 lead with eight minutes left. Wiltjer had six points in the run.

The Broncos did not threaten after that.

GO DUCKS

Gonzaga coach Mark Few is a graduate of Oregon, and he predicted the Ducks would beat Ohio State in the national title football game Monday.

"The Ducks are going to win by double digits," Few said. "Marcus Mariota is going to prove he should be the No. 1 pick hands down."

TIP INS

Santa Clara: The Broncos average just 61.5 points per game, but allow only 65.7 ppg ... Jared Brownridge is shooting 45 percent from 3-point range ... Brownridge was last year's WCC newcomer of the year.

Gonzaga: Made a season-high 12 3-pointers in beating San Francisco on Thursday ... is 4-0 to start West Coast Conference play for the third straight season ... Gonzaga has six players averaging at least 8 points per game ... Gonzaga ranks second in the nation in field goal percentage at 52.8.

NEXT UP

Santa Clara: hosts St. Katherine on Tuesday.

Gonzaga: plays at Pepperdine on Thursday.

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Photo Gallery:
PHOTO: Santa Clara's Jared Brownridge (23) shoots against Gonzaga's Przemek Karnowski, left, and Kyle Dranginis during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Spokane, Wash., Saturday, Jan. 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)
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