Petrusev leads No. 2 Gonzaga over Loyola Marymount, 85-67

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Gonzaga’s slow start against Loyola Marymount worried coach Mark Few.

The Zags’ finish left him feeling much better.

Filip Petrusev scored 21 points as No. 2 Gonzaga beat the Lions 85-67 on Thursday night for its 16th consecutive victory.

The first half we turned the ball over way too much,” Few said. “The second half we had a lot more energy. We were able to make plays and speed up the game a little bit.”

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Admon Gilder and Drew Timme each scored 17 points for Gonzaga (24-1, 10-0 West Coast Conference), which also won its 36th consecutive home game, the longest active streak in the nation.

Five Zags scored in double figures. Timme added eight rebounds and three steals.

”Drew has done a great job of delivering inside,” Few said. “He’s getting better defensively. That’s a good sign for us.”

Eli Scott scored 15 and Ivan Alipiev 12 for Loyola Marymount (8-16, 2-8), which lost its fourth game in a row and 23rd straight to Gonzaga. The Lions committed 17 turnovers.

The Lions did not shoot a free throw in the first half and made 7 of 12 from the line in the second half. Gonzaga sank 18 of its 25 free throws.

“It’s disappointing that when we kept going to our post players, we weren’t getting rewarded,” Loyola Marymount coach Mike Dunlap said.

This win was relatively easy after Gonzaga was strongly tested in an 83-79 win at San Francisco last Saturday.

Gonzaga made eight of its first 11 shots — four by Timme — to jump to a 17-7 lead. Jordan Bell’s basket cut Gonzaga’s lead to 32-26 with three minutes left in the first.

Gonzaga led only 38-30 at halftime, despite shooting 61% and holding the Lions to 43%.

Corey Kispert hit a pair of 3-pointers to put Gonzaga up 55-38 early in the second half. Gilder’s 3-pointer capped a 9-0 run that put Gonzaga up 64-42 with just over 10 minutes left.

ONE MORE STREAK

Gonzaga has won 37 straight conference regular season games, the longest such streak in the nation and a WCC record.

INJURIES

Gonzaga forward Killian Tillie missed his second straight game with a sprained ankle, leaving the Zags with a six-man rotation. “They take time” to heal, Few said. “We’ll see where he’s at on Saturday.”

BIG PICTURE

Loyola Marymount: The Lions have a solid defense, allowing just 67.8 points per game, but could not stop the Zags …The Lions have not beaten Gonzaga since 2010 … Scott (15.7 ppg) is the only Loyola player averaging in double figures.

Gonzaga: The Bulldogs lead the nation in scoring at 88.6 points per game, and in scoring margin at 21.5 points per game … Six Gonzaga players average in double figures … The Zags are looking to go undefeated in the WCC for the second consecutive season.

UP NEXT

Loyola Marymount plays BYU next Thursday.

Gonzaga plays at arch-rival Saint Mary’s, currently tied for second in the WCC with BYU, on Saturday. It is the first meeting of the season between the teams. “It’s just another away game,” Timme said. “It’s going to be a good challenge for us.” Saint Mary’s beat Gonzaga in the championship game of the WCC Tournament last year. “They’ve got pretty much their entire team back,” Few said.

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