Gonzaga Downs Santa Clara
Jan. 25, 2001
SPOKANE, Wash. - Gonzaga University overcame a poor shooting night from the field and survived with a 70-64 West Coast Conference men's basketball victory over Santa Clara University Thursday night in front of a sellout crowd of 4,000 in The Kennel.
The Bulldogs (13-5, 5-0) remained undefeated in WCC play with their seventh straight victory and for the time being have sole possession of first place, a half game ahead of 4-0 Pepperdine University who will play at the University of San Francisco Friday night. Santa Clara (11-9, 3-2) had a 3-game winning streak snapped in dropping their fifth straight game in The Kennel.
The Broncos, who blew a 14 point first-half lead last year in a 97-67 Bulldog win, were in position all night to escape with a win as the Bulldogs struggled from the field on the the boards. But the Broncos had an equally cold night from the field and were unable to capitalize on the opportunities presented. SCU held a 29-22 first-half rebounding lead, and finished with a 52-47 edge on the boards, just the third time this season the Bulldogs have been out-rebounded.
Gonzaga shot just 33.3 percent from the field in the first half, and point guard Dan Dickau went 0-for-6 from the field in the opening 20 minutes as the Bulldogs held a 29-27 advantage. Gonzaga, an uncharacteristic 1-for-17 for 5.9 percent from 3-point range for the game, went 0-for-10 from beyond the arc in the first half. SCU, meanwhile, hit just 31.4 percent of its first-half shots, including 3-for-12 from long range.
There were seven lead changes and six ties in the first half, the Bulldogs taking their biggest lead of the half with 9:49 to go when Zach Gourde's driving layup gave Gonzaga a 6-point advantage at 15-9. SCU followed with nine straight points for its largest lead of the half at 18-15.
For the second straight game, the Bulldogs won the game at the free throw line in the second half, hitting 22-of-33 second-half free throws to finish 31-of-51 for the game. SCU went 13-for-16 from the line in the second half to finish 15-for-21 in a game that featured 54 fouls and saw three Broncos and a Bulldog foul out.
Neither team heated up from the field in the second half, Gonzaga going 9-for-21 from the field for 42.9 percent and 1-for-7 from 3-point range. The Broncos went 10-of-37 from the field and 4-for-15 from 3-point range.
Gonzaga never trailed in the second half, taking a quick 7-point lead at 34-27 by scoring the first 5 points of the second half, three of them from the free throw stripe. The Bulldogs held their biggest lead of the night at 50-42 with 11:09 to play, but Gonzaga was unable to shake the Broncos.
Clinging to a 67-64 lead in the final minute, the Bulldogs held off the Broncos. Brian Jones missed a shot with :13 to play and the ball went out of bounds to the Bulldogs. Blake Stepp made 1-of-2 free throws with :12 to go to give Gonzaga a 68-64 lead, Jones missed a 3-pointer and Casey Calvary, who matched his career high with 29 points, grabbed the rebound. Dickau was fouled and hit both free throws with :03 to go to seal the victory.
The Bulldogs, who lost the services of starting forward Mark Spink to his fifth foul with 7:44 to go and only played five first-half minutes and two second-half minutes, got a strong inside game from Zach Gourde. Gourde scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for his first career double-double.
Calvary also became the all-time WCC shot blocker, rejecting three to break his first-place tie with the university of San Diego's Scott Thompson, both entering the night with 183.
Gonzaga returns to action Saturday against the University of San Diego at 7 p.m. The game is already a sellout, but can be viewed on GUTV, channel 15 on the AT&T Broadband cable system in Spokane. There will be no satellite feed of the game.
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