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01/04/2013 12:31 AM EST
No. 10 Gonzaga beats Pepperdine 78-62
GONZAGA 78, PEPPERDINE 62

MALIBU, Calif. (AP) -- Gonzaga was in desperate need of a
sparkplug in its West Coast Conference opener and David Stockton
was happy to oblige.



Stockton came off the bench to help the 10th-ranked Bulldogs
climb out of a deficit in the first half and he provided another
boost in the second of Gonzaga's 78-62 victory over Pepperdine
on Thursday night.



Elias Harris scored 18 points and Kelly Olynyk had 16 as the
Bulldogs (14-1, 1-0 WCC) won despite shooting a season-low 43.4
percent from the field.



Stockton scored nine points and had four steals and Kevin Pangos
scored nine points.



Stockton keyed Gonzaga with three steals in the first half and
helped the Bulldogs get the ball to their big men to hold off a
rallying Pepperdine team that was down two points with 12
minutes left.



"I thought he sparked us in both halves," Gonzaga coach Mark Few
said. "He was the one guy that was being proactive. I thought I
had a whole team full of guys that was being reactive. Both
times we put David in the game he kind of got us going."



Stockton, the son of Naismith Hall of Fame point guard John
Stockton, took pride in the four steals. It was originally five
but one was taken away on the final box score.



"I like to see that on there," Stockton said. "That's something
I've always tried to do and I've kind of lost sight of it. It
was fun to fly around tonight and get your hands on a lot of
things and disrupt a team.



"I was just trying to provide a spark. I have the luxury to sit
and watch and see how our team is feeling. Whatever I can
provide, whatever I can see, I can go out and that's my goal on
the court - to help the team in any way possible and stay on
that spark."



Pangos gave Gonzaga the lead for good at 38-36 on a 3-pointer
and the Bulldogs pulled away for their 23rd consecutive win
against Pepperdine, its longest streak against a conference
opponent.



Lorne Jackson led the Waves (8-6, 0-1) with 16 points and Jordan
Baker had 15.



Jackson kept the Waves in it for much of the second half. He
made consecutive baskets on a 3-pointer and a long 2-pointer
from the corner to get the Waves within 43-41, but Stockton
responded with a drive.



"I think he was the difference-maker in the game," Jackson said.
"He came out with a lot of energy, got a few steals in the first
half and he just got their offense running and going out in
transition."



Gonzaga appeared to grab momentum when Pepperdine turned it over
out of a timeout at 8:22. Mike Hart missed inside, sprawled to
collect his own rebound own and passed it out to Pangos for a
3-pointer for a 57-47 lead.



Jackson came back with a left-handed drive but the Waves
couldn't get much closer. Gonzaga made 25 of 29 free throw
attempts and shot 56 percent in the second half.



Gonzaga managed through a poor-shooting first half and took a
30-26 lead into halftime. The Bulldogs, ranked second nationally
in field goal percentage, shot 37.1 percent and 3 for 11 from
3-point range, relying on 14 points from their bench.



Few said he tried to prepare his team for a tough turnaround,
having come off a win at Oklahoma State on New Year's Eve that
gave the Bulldogs a 5-0 record against Big 12 competition. Did
it have an effect on the start?



"I'd like to say no because we talked about it and we addressed
this over and over again," Few said. "We had some
strange-looking plays at the start of it - hitting shoulders and
falling down. I think we had two or three blooper-like plays.
But basically Pepperdine was just outhustling us. They were more
physical than us, which is rare. We've been a physical team all
year."



Stockton put them in the lead at 23-21 with a driving layup and
a runner off a Pepperdine turnover. Gonzaga forced Pepperdine
into 11 first-half turnovers.



Gonzaga missed 11 of its first 14 shots and fell into a 14-6
deficit to start. Przemek Karnowski helped get it going with a
left-handed hook shot and a basket inside before Stockton made a
3-pointer. Hart's 3 gave Gonzaga its first lead at 19-18.



Jackson, Pepperdine's leading scorer, didn't start. Seven-foot
center Jan Maehlen started for the first time this season in
order to counter Gonzaga's size.



"That was our challenge," Pepperdine coach Marty Wilson said.
"We knew it was going to be a physical battle. They're big,
they're strong, they're physical and they force the refs to have
to make a call, and they did that tonight. That was the
difference in the second half."

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