Morrison Burst Gives Bulldogs Win
Feb. 11, 2006
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Adam Morrison went to work when No. 5 Gonzaga needed him the most.
Morrison scored 12 of his 34 points in the final 3 minutes to help the Bulldogs hold off Stanford 80-76 on Saturday night.
Gonzaga (20-3) extended the nation's longest home winning streak to 36 games and won its 11th in a row overall. The Bulldogs also reached 20 wins for the ninth consecutive season.
Gonzaga led 67-66 when Morrison made a long 3-pointer to begin the 3-minute surge in which he outscored the entire Stanford team.
"It was my time to do something, I guess," Morrison said. "When it's clutch time at the end of the game, I know the ball's going to be in my hands."
Stanford (12-9) stayed close during a thrilling second half, but was undone by Gonzaga's strong free-throw shooting.
Chris Hernandez made a 3-pointer to cut Gonzaga's lead to 78-76 with 18 seconds left but Morrison made two free throws. Dan Grunfeld missed Stanford's final shot.
"That's what big-time players do," Hernandez said of Morrison. "They make shots and win the game for their team."
For Gonzaga, the rare nonconference game in February was a chance to step out of the lightly-regarded West Coast Conference, where they are 9-0, and beat a major conference opponent.
"It felt like an NCAA tournament game," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. "It felt like the whole world was focused on us."
Gonzaga trailed 43-38 at halftime, after shooting just 41 percent from the field while the Cardinal made 58 percent.
The Bulldogs bounced back in the second half, shooting 56 percent and holding Stanford to 9-of-29 shooting. Stanford also missed key free throws as the game wore on, making just 15-of-24 overall. Gonzaga made 21 of 26 foul shots.
The Cardinal, who were looking to increase their chances for making the postseason after a dismal start, lost their second straight game.
J.P. Batista added 24 points and eight rebounds for Gonzaga, and held Stanford's Matt Haryasz to 11 points, seven below his average. Hernandez led Stanford with 17 points, while Grunfeld had 16.
"If you are going to come in to a No. 5 team's gym, you are going to have to play pretty flawless and we weren't flawless," said Hernandez, who picked up his fourth foul with 13 minutes left and sat out for nearly 7 minutes. He played just 22 minutes in the game, but made five of eight 3-pointers.
"I wish they (officials) would have let our best player play the game," Stanford coach Trent Johnson said of Hernandez' fouls.
The Cardinal made nine of 19 3-pointers to stay close, while Gonzaga made just 5-of-20.
After trailing 43-38 at halftime, Gonzaga scored the first three baskets of the second half, with Pierre Marie Altidor-Cespedes' layup giving the Bulldogs their first lead of the game at 44-43.
Morrison hit a long 3-pointer for a 70-66 Gonzaga lead with 2:47 left, but picked up an intentional foul on the next possession. Hernandez made just one of two from the line, then had the ball swatted away by Morrison on the next possession.
Morrison finished 10-of-18 from the floor.
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