SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) Graham Ike scored 20 points, Anton Watson added 15 and No. 24 Gonzaga beat Pepperdine 86-60 on Thursday night in their West Coast Conference opener for its 46th straight win over the Waves.

Gonzaga (10-4, 1-0 WCC) has won all 25 conference openers under coach Mark Few, the last four coming against Pepperdine (7-9, 0-1).

Five Bulldogs scored in double figures including Nolan Hickman, who had 14 points. Hickman led the Zags with four 3-pointers and Gonzaga shot 42.1% on 3s after struggling badly from deep lately.

Ryan Nembhard finished with 10 points and seven assists, and drained his first 3-pointer in a month.

“It was about time,” Nembhard said. “I’m consistent with my work, always the same routine, but it was good to see them fall. Just got to keep being confident in my shot.”

Gonzaga had dropped three of its last five, including last week's home loss to San Diego State, and came into this one with its AP Top 25 ranking in jeopardy. The Bulldogs have made 142 consecutive appearances in the Top 25 poll since 2016.

But the Zags had an easy night against Pepperdine.

“It’s good to get back to winning. We don’t like losing. We don’t lose much around here, so this one felt good,” Few said. “Great to see the players take to heart what we’ve been working on.”

Gonzaga seized control early with a 15-2 run. Nembhard and Hickman buried 3s as part of a 13-1 spurt later in the half and the Bulldogs led 45-27 at the break.

“I think we came out with a bunch of energy. The defense and the effort were really good tonight,” Few said. “We were active, connected, physical around the rim. Those were things that we slipped up on the other night.”

Gonzaga stayed hot into the second half, making eight straight shots over a three-minute span, including 3s from Watson and Nembhard, to give the Zags a 74-43 lead with 7:55 to play.

Braden Huff added 11 points off the bench for Gonzaga.

Houston Mallette led Pepperdine with 15 points but shot just 2 of 9. Michael Ajayi added 14.

"We’re just getting some of our better players back and so we’re excited to start playing together, learning how to do that,” Pepperdine coach Lorenzo Romar said. “Gonzaga is arguably the top team in the conference. This was a great test to see where we are.”


Pepperdine: Dropped its conference opener for the fifth consecutive season. The Waves had won two straight but are 0-4 on the road.

Gonzaga: Nembhard knocked down a pair of 3s as Gonzaga finished 8 of 19 from behind the arc. Nembhard had not hit a 3 since Dec. 5, missing 16 in a row going into the game.


Pepperdine will be at home against Santa Clara on Saturday.

Gonzaga will host San Diego on Saturday.


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