Gonzaga vs. Santa Clara final score: Bulldogs grind out the win to open WCC play

William Mancebo

Playing without Sam Dower, Gonzaga got all it could handle from Santa Clara.

Conference play has started on the West Coast, which usually means it's time for Gonzaga to go on a prolonged winning streak.

But although the No. 24 Bulldogs pulled out a 74-60 win over Santa Clara Saturday night, it looked for a while like that to-be-expected winning streak might have had to wait. Gonzaga led by five at the half and could not shake the Broncos until the final minutes. In fact, the Bulldogs held just a three-point lead at the under-8 media timeout of the second half.

The game may have felt too close for comfort for those in Spokane, but Gonzaga was playing without center Sam Dower. The big man is averaging 13.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per contest, but was not available because of a back injury.

Przemek Karnowski was solid in Dower's absence. The center tallied 10 points and eight rebounds for Gonzaga, while Kevin Pangos led the Bulldogs' backcourt attack with 17 points.

Brandon Clark had 22 points to lead Santa Clara.

The Bulldogs next face San Francisco in a home game on Monday night.

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