Jesuit alum scores 45 in Gonzaga basketball game

Kyle Wiltjer scored 45 points for Gonzaga's highest-scoring game in 54 years

Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer, center, vies for the rebound between Pacific's Gabriel Aguirre, left, of Brazil, and T.J. Wallace during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stockton, Calif., Thursday,Feb. 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer, center, vies for the rebound between Pacific's Gabriel Aguirre, left, of Brazil, and T.J. Wallace during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Stockton, Calif., Thursday,Feb. 19, 2015. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

STOCKTON, Calif. (AP) — Kyle Wiltjer scored 45 points for Gonzaga’s highest-scoring game in 54 years and the third-ranked Bulldogs tied a school record with their 20th straight win, 86-74 over Pacific on Thursday night.

Gary Bell Jr. added 12 points as the Bulldogs (27-1, 15-0 West Coast Conference) used another strong shooting night to roll to a victory. Gonzaga, which leads the nation in shooting at 52.7 percent, made 60 percent of its shots, keyed by a 15-for-22 night by Wiltjer.

T.J Wallace scored 19 points, David Taylor added 18 and Ray Bowles had 13 for the Tigers (10-17, 2-13), who have lost eight straight games.

The Bulldogs struggled to pull away from the last-place Tigers after opening up a double-digit lead midway through the first half. Taylor hit three of his five 3-pointers early in the second half and Pacific got the deficit down to seven with just under 7 minutes left.

But Wiltjer hit a 3-pointer and a pair of layups to build the lead back to 11 as the Bulldogs cruised to maintain their perfect conference record.

Wiltjer scored 18 of Gonzaga’s 22 points during a 12-minute stretch in the second half. He hit a 3-pointer in the closing seconds to give him 45 points, the most by a Bulldogs player since Frank Burgess scored a school-record 52 on Jan. 26, 1961.

Wiltjer got started early, scoring nine points in the first 5 minutes, including seven straight during a 10-0 run that gave Gonzaga a 17-9 lead.

The Tigers managed to keep the deficit manageable by hitting six 3-pointers in the first half. But Wiltjer did not cool off a bit and his 3-pointer late in the half gave him 22 points and made it 45-35.

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