No. 8 Gonzaga Cruises To Eighth Straight Win
Feb 14, 2002
By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS
SPOKANE, Wash. - The first half was so slow that Gonzaga's Cory Violette said he almost fell asleep.
But Violette started the second half with a couple of dunks and then gave a dominating defensive performance as No. 8 Gonzaga pulled away from Loyola Marymount for a 72-51 victory on Thursday night.
Gonzaga (23-3, 10-1 West Coast Conference) won its eighth straight game and 25th in a row at home. They have beaten the Lions 14 consecutive times dating to 1996.
Loyola Marymount (9-16, 2-9), which has lost eight straight games, shot just 30 percent for the game, and made just 5 of 20 from 3-point range.
Violette scored 11 of his 15 points, had eight of his 15 rebounds and five of his six blocked shots in the second half.
But he admitted he was so frustrated by Loyola Marymount's deliberate slowdown offense in the first half that he ended up getting a technical for tangling with Andy Osborn of the Lions.
"I let them get in my head and I got a technical foul," Violette, a 6-foot-8 sophomore, said. "That got me pumped up."
In the second half, when it became clear the referees were not going to call a tight game, Violette broke loose.
"That's how we are in practice," Violette said. "We turned into a football team."
Violette, who scored 25 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in the previous game against San Diego, is not the person to rile, Gonzaga coach Mark Few said.
"Somebody ticked him off there," Few said. "He's not the kind of guy to tick off."
Loyola Marymount coach Steve Aggers said he had to try something different against a team that beat the Lions by 34 points earlier in the season. His team constantly worked the shot clock down to the final seconds before shooting, and managed to trail just 30-26 at halftime.
"I'm proud of the way we executed our game plan," Aggers said. "The only way we could beat them was to control the tempo."
It worked for a while.
Loyola Marymount trailed just 47-42 midway through the second half.
But Dan Dickau, who led Gonzaga with 23 points, hit a 3-pointer that started an 11-0 run and gave Gonzaga a 58-42 lead with 7:10 left. The Lions were scoreless for more than five minutes during the run, and never threatened again.
Aggers said the Lions were done in by poor shooting, especially a 7-for-29 performance (24 percent) in the second half. Gonzaga shot 57 percent in the second half.
Gonzaga's attention now turns to Pepperdine, which dealt the Bulldogs their last loss, on Jan. 18 at Malibu, Calif. The rematch is Saturday in Spokane in a key game in determining who wins the conference title and the top seeding in the tournament.
Violette scored five straight points for the Bulldogs before Dickau's 3-pointer gave them a 40-32 lead with 16 minutes left.
Kent Dennis, who led Loyola Marymount with 12 points, hit a 3-pointer to cut Gonzaga's lead to 47-42, the Lions' final threat.
Forward Greg Lakey, Loyola Marymount's leading scorer, was in foul trouble early and fouled out with 7:37 left in the game after scoring eight points.
In the first half, Dennis hit a 3-pointer to bring the Lions within 28-26, but Alex Hernandez put back a miss by Dickau to give Gonzaga a 30-26 halftime lead.
Gonzaga was 11-of-30 from the field in the first half (36 percent).
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