- Associated Press - Thursday, February 6, 2014

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Portland coach Eric Reveno was disappointed his team lost a chance to sweep the season series against No. 23 Gonzaga on Wednesday night.

But he was pleased that the Pilots managed to erase a 22-point first-half deficit and take the lead in the second half before succumbing 71-66.

“You have to be proud of that,” Reveno said. “I’ve had some other teams that came up here and did not come back like that.”

Portland held the Zags to 35 percent shooting in the second half to give themselves a chance to win.

It looked like the game might be over after the first half, when the Zags led 40-23 after hitting seven 3-pointers.

“They came out and the 3s just kind of buried us,” Reveno said.

Gonzaga coach Mark Few was surprisingly calm after the tense game.

“It was a great win,” Few said. “Especially when you have to dig yourself out of a hole in the second half.

“I’m proud of our guys,” he added.

David Stockton, Angel Nunez and Kevin Pangos all scored 13 points as Gonzaga avenged a January loss in Portland.

Sam Dower Jr. added 10 points for Gonzaga (21-3, 11-1 West Coast), which has a three-game lead over BYU and San Francisco in the conference and is seeking its 15th regular season title in the past 17 years.

Ryan Nicholas scored 15 points to lead Portland (13-11, 5-7), which was seeking its first victory in Spokane since 2003.

Gonzaga jumped to a big lead in the first half, but had one of its worst shooting droughts of the season in the second to allow Portland to overtake them. Three-point baskets by Stockton and Pangos and a flurry of free throws lifted the Zags to their seventh consecutive win.

“There was no sneaking up on Gonzaga today after our game down there,” Reveno said. “We knew we’d get their best shot.”

The score was tied at 5 when Gonzaga went on a 17-1 run, highlighted by two 3-pointers from Drew Barham, to take a 22-6 lead.

Story Continues →