No. 9 Gonzaga Survives Scare In San Diego
Feb 9, 2002
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - Dan Dickau started the final nail into the coffin and Anthony Reason drove it the rest of the way in Saturday night as 9th ranked Gonzaga University survived a 77-76 scare from the University of San Diego in a West Coast Conference men's basketball game.
The seventh straight win for the Bulldogs (22-3, 9-1) and their 19th in the last 20 outings set the stage for what seems to be the battle for sole possession of first place next Saturday in front of a sold out Kennel and a national ESPN2 television audience. Gonzaga must take defeat Loyola Marymount University on Thursday and undefeated Pepperdine University (10-0) will try to keep its unblemished WCC record intact at the University of Portland to set up Saturday's re-match. Pepperdine won the first meeting 88-79 on Jan. 18
Dickau, who last season broke a 69-69 tie with a deep straightaway 3-pointer, hit a deadly trey from almost the same spot for a 74-70 lead with 1:01 remaining. Cory Violette, who finished with a career high 25 points and notched his seventh career double-double with 15 rebounds, made 1-of-2 free throws for a 75-70 lead with :33 to go.
But the Toreros (12-11, 4-6) weren't ready to give up.
Tom Lippold connected on a 3-pointer from the top of the circle with 24 ticks left to cut the Gonzaga lead to 75-73, and when Dickau missed the front end of a one-and-one with 17 seconds remaining the Toreros still had life. Laws came down court, hesitated beyond the 3-point line and then drove for a layin that rolled off the rim. Reason was fouled and went to the other end and sank both ends of the two-shot bonus to seal the victory.
The second half mirrored the opening 20 minutes as neither team held more than a seven-point lead (Gonzaga 55-48 and 57-50) and the lead changed hands five times.
The Toreros, who ended the first half with a 12-6 run to take a 38-37 halftime lead, went on a 6-2 spurt in the first 2:33 of the second half to build their biggest lead of the night at 44-39. The Bulldogs were whistle for four fouls in that stretch and USD converted 4-of-4 from the free throw line, the only field goal an Andre Laws jumper from the left baseline. Dickau, who scored 22 points, scored six straight as Gonzaga regained the lead. He drilled a 3-pointer from the tight top of the circle, then on his next trip down the floor drove the lane for a lean-in jumper was fouled and converted the free throw for the 3-point play and a 45-44 Gonzaga lead with 15:52 remaining.
A great defensive stop went for naught as USD regained possession after Laws' wild long-range shot as the shot clock was winding down, and Adamo took advantage with a basket to give USD the lead back at 46-45. Gonzaga ran off the next seven points as Ronny Turiaf got an easy back on a lob from Dickau, Violette hit a 10-foot pull-up jumper from the right side of the lane and Alex Hernandez made a big 3-pointer from the left corner in front of the Bulldog bench and Gonzaga led 52-46 nearing the midway point of the second half.
Ryan Hegerty ended the Gonzaga run with a layin off a perfect feed from Roy Morris, but Blake Stepp countered with his only 3-pointer in five attempts and his first basket of the night with 9:13 to go for a 55-48 lead, then Stepp tipped in his own miss the next time down for the 57-50 Gonzaga lead.
USD began another comeback when Matt Delzell, averaging 3.3 ppg and shooting just 18.2 percent from 3-point range in WCC play, made back-to-back 3-pointers for pull the Toreros within three at 57-56 with 6:44 to go. Gonzaga worked the lead back to 69-64 as Dickau made both ends of a one-and-one and Violette hit his third straight baseline jumper with 3:35 left.
The Toreros had one last surge remaining. After Blair made 1-of-2 free throws, Adamo connected on a 3-pointer from the left elbow and Delzell hit a 16-footer from the top of the circle to give USD a 70-69 lead, its last of the night.
Zach Gourde made a hook shot from the right block and Dickau followed with his lethal trey as the Bulldogs held off the hosts for the second straight season in the 2-year-old Jenny Craig Pavilion. Laws' desperation shot from just across mid court bounced around and fell through at the buzzer for a 3-pointer for the final margin. Gonzaga, which will open defense of its WCC Tournament title on this same floor beginning March 2, is now 5-0 in USD's new facility, including three wins over the Toreros. Gonzaga downed USD in last year's tournament semifinals.
The first half was a typical Gonzaga-San Diego heavyweight slugfest. The Bulldogs went on a 7-2 run after the teams traded baskets to open the game, but back-to- back 3-pointers by Lippold and Laws gave the Toreros a 10-9 and the battle was on.
With the inside game again clicking early - Gourde and Violette combined to score the first 13 points - the Bulldogs countered the outside arsenal of the Toreros that included five 3-pointers in their first eight baskets. USD was seventh in the WCC in 3-point field goal percentage entering the game. After the 9-4 Gonzaga lead there were 11 lead changes in the half and the Bulldogs twice had a 5-point bulge for the largest lead of the half.
San Diego made an 8-0 run late in the half to erase a 31-26 Gonzaga lead. Adamo drove the right side of the lane for a layin then followed with a spin move and a 10-foot jumper. Jason Blair converted a give-and-go down the lane, then Blair got a fast break layin to cap the 8-0 run for the 34-31 USD lead with 2:53 to go in the half.
Violette's layin off a lob pass from Germayne Forbes ended the USD spurt, but Laws answered with a spin move and jumper from the free throw line. Forbes' pair of free throws with 1.9 seconds to go sent the Bulldogs to the locker room trailing 38-37.
Violette (10 points) and Gourde (9) combined for more than half of Gonzaga's 37 first-half points. Violette was 5-for-9 from the field, Gourde 4-for-9. Dickau's 3-pointer from the right corner with 13:13 to go in the half broke the string of 13 straight Violette-Gourde points to open the game. He finished the half going 4-for-7 from the field, including 3-of-5 from the field as his first three baskets were from beyond the arc.
Gonzaga, which had shot 50.0 percent or better from the field in nine of its last 11 outings entering Saturday, was held to 45.2 percent by the Toreros. USD hit 45.9 percent.
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