Bulldogs Win Showdown With Pepperdine
Jan. 12, 2003
SPOKANE, Wash. - Cory Violette scored 17 points and grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds and Blake Stepp added 16 points and 10 assists Sunday as Gonzaga University won its West Coast Conference men's basketball showdown with Pepperdine University 92-72 in front of a sellout crowd of 4,000 in The Kennel.
The Bulldogs (11-5, 2-0) took the first meeting between the pre-season favorites with a big first half and a strong inside game against the Waves (9-6, 1-1).
Gonzaga won its 17th straight home game in WCC play in sweeping the opening weekend of league action. The Bulldogs took an 85-73 win over Loyola Marymount University on Thursday.
The Bulldogs and Pepperdine, who have won or shared six of the last seven WCC regular-season titles and finished 1-2 in the regular season each of the past five years, had fans anticipating another classic showdown. But Gonzaga broke from a 21-17 lead with 10:59 to go in the opening half and went on a 20-2 spurt to open a 41-19 lead 5:02 before halftime.
Ronny Turiaf started what may have been the decisive run with a 3-point play as he converted a Stepp pass into a layup, was fouled and made the free throw. Josh Reisman and Tony Skinner hit back-to-back 3-pointers and then Skinner added another trey after a Zach Gourde free throw. A Gourde layin ended the run. Gonzaga maintained the 22-point lead into halftime, taking a 50-28 advantage to the lockerroom at the break.
The Bulldogs shot 61.8 percent from the field in the first half (21-for-34) while the Waves were a chilly 12-for-35 for 34.3 percent.
The second half was much the same story as Gonzaga built the lead to as many as 28 points twice, the first at 66-38 with 14:20 remaining and the last time at 68-40 with just under 14 minutes to play. The Waves never got the lead under 15 points in the second half, Gonzaga holding its smallest lead of the half at 80-65 with 4:04 to play.
Violette recorded his fifth double-double of the season and the 15th of his career, hitting 7-of-9 shots from the field, many of them high-percentage slam dunks. He also grabbed 6 of his 10 boards in the opeing half as Gonzaga used its inside dominance to open the early lead. Stepp followed Thursday's 21-point, 9-assist performance against LMU with 16 points and 10 assists on Sunday, the 10 assists his second best outing this season behind his school record 16 against Long Beach State.
Richard Fox complemented Violette inside with 12 points and 7 rebounds in just 18 minutes.
The Bulldogs finished the afternoon 34-of-62 from the field for 54.8 percent, including 9-of-25 from long range for 36.0 percent. Pepperdine heated up in the second half to shoot 51.6 percent and finish the day 28-of-66 for 42.4 percent. The Waves also converted 8-of-21 from 3-point range for 38.1 percent.
The Bulldogs won the battle of the boards 42-29, Gonzaga now 10-2 when holding the rebounding edge this season.
Gonzaga, 2-0 in WCC play for the seventh straight season, goes on the road this week for a Friday date at Saint Mary's College and a 1 p.m. Sunday matinee on Fox Sports at the University of San Francisco.
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