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Kevin Pangos impressing as Gonzaga Bulldogs’ leader: Eh Game NCAA basketball roundup

Kevin Pangos (USA Today Sports)Kevin Pangos' recent trip to Maui was for business not pleasure but you can bet that he left the island extremely pleased with himself and his play.

Pangos and the Gonzaga Bulldogs took part in this year's Maui Invitational and the junior guard from Holland Landing, Ont. put on a show. He exploded for 34 points and was 7-of-8 from three in the Zags' 91-81 win over Arkansas, drawing attention and applause from those watching in the arena and on TV.

Even in the Bulldogs' only loss this season, a 84-79 defeat to Dayton in the first game of the tournament in Maui, Pangos scored 27 points and made 13-of-14 free throw attempts. Through seven games, he's averaging 22 points per game.

With fellow Canadian Kelly Olynyk now playing in the NBA, Pangos has become the focal point of Gonzaga's offence. He's a knockdown long-distance shooter, shooting 49.1% from three-point land this year, but he's much more than just a threat on the catch-and-shoot.

Pangos can create his own shot, excels at getting to the hoop on the pick-and-roll, and is a deft facilitator. When he has the ball in his hands, good things happen.

Gonzaga is the model for the successful mid-major program. They're back in the national conversation this year, currently ranked No. 11 in the AP Top 25, and Pangos is going to make sure they stay relevant deep into March.

EH GAME NCAA BASKETBALL ROUNDUP:

1) Boston College sophomore guard Olivier Hanlan is developing into a big-time scorer. Last season's ACC freshman of the year, Hanlan was named co-ACC player of the week along with Duke's Jabari Parker after scoring 38 points in a 82-79 win over Florida Atlantic. He's averaging 21.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 3.3 assists per game and has been a bright spot on a struggling Eagles squad.

2) Giving the opportunity to step up for St. Bonaventure, Matthew Wright has done just that. The fourth-year senior is the leading scorer for the Bonnies at 18.9 points per game and poured in a career high 32 points in a 83-71 win over Southern Illinois.

3) Nik Stauskas has scored 20-plus points in five straight games, including a game-high 26 in No. 22 Michigan's 82-80 OT win over Florida State. Stauskas is shooting 47.4% from three-point range this season and averaging three makes from beyond the arc per game. He was named the tournament MVP at this past week's Puerto Rico Tip-Off.

4) In his role off the bench for No. 18 Baylor, Brady Heslip is matching Stauskas' three made threes per game pace but in limited minutes. He scored 14 points in a 93-77 win over Chaminade and 12 points in a 74-67 loss to Syracuse at the Maui Invitational this past week.

5) Since coming back from a knee injury that forced him to miss No. 17 Iowa State's first two games, Melvin Ejim has been a force for the Cyclones. The senior forward averaged 18 points and 7.3 rebounds in three Iowa State wins, including a 22-point, 9-rebound performance against top-25 ranked Michigan.

6) When Daniel Mullings scores in double-figures, success has followed for New Mexico State. Mullins has 10 or more points in seven of eight games this season, all wins for the 7-1 Aggies.

7) Operating as Baylor's primary ball-handler, Kenny Chery is averaging 5.1 assists per game to go with 12 points and 2.3 rebounds. This is Chery's first season in Waco, TX, after transferring to Baylor after spending two years at State Fair Community College.

8) Khem Birch is developing a reputation as a beast on the boards and a force protecting the rim. The 6-9 power forward from Montreal has taken down double-digit rebounds in four of five games this year, including performances of 17 and 14 and is averaging a ridiculous 5.1 blocks per game. He has two games with eight blocks so far this season.

9) Nick Wiggins continues to be a reliable option off the bench for 7-0 Wichita State. He's averaging 7.6 points and 2.7 rebounds in 17 minutes for the Shockers.

10) Andrew Wiggins has only played two games since the big showcase against Duke. He scored 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds in No. 2 Kansas' 86-66 win over Iona and followed that up with 16 points and seven rebounds in a 88-58 win over Towson.

For daily updates on the Canadians playing in the NCAA check out Hasan's Alanam's 2013-2014 stat tracker.

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