Pilots End Gonzaga's WCC Home Streak
Feb 20, 2003
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Freshman Eugene Jeter scored 18 points as Portland, which trails the West Coast Conference, upset first-place Gonzaga 72-68 Wednesday night.
The Pilots (10-15, 3-9) had lost 14 consecutive games to Gonzaga since a 1996 victory. The Bulldogs (19-7, 10-2) had won 21 consecutive conference home games. Combined with a New Year's Eve loss to Saint Joseph's, it's the first time since 1997 the Bulldogs have lost two games in The Kennel.
Gonzaga sophomore Ronny Turiaf had career highs of 29 points and 14 rebounds. Blake Stepp, battling a sinus illness, scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half but made a costly turnover after the Bulldogs had pulled within three in the final minute.
Portland led all the way after Turiaf tied the game at 2-2. The Pilots led by as many as 16 points in the first half before settling for a 36-28 halftime margin. Portland led 44-30 early in the second half before the Bulldogs made the first of several comeback runs.
Adam Quick scored 14 points for Portland, including two free throws for the final points with 2.5 seconds left.
Portland outshot Gonzaga 49 percent to 34 percent from the field, including 56 percent to 30 percent in the first half.
After trailing 31-15 in the first half, the Bulldogs cut the lead to eight at halftime at 36-28 as Turiaf scored nine points in a 13-5 Gonzaga spurt.
But the stubborn Pilots, who lost to the Bulldogs 70-67 in the Chiles Center in the first meeting this season, quickly got the lead back to 14 less than two minutes into the second half as Quick and Dustin Geddis each connected on 3-pointers in an 8-2 run.
Gonzaga cut the lead to 44-40 with 15:08 remaining as Tony Skinner drained a trey to cap a 10-0 Gonzaga surge. But the Bulldogs went the next 3:38 with just one point before Stepp's 3-pointer cut a 13-point Portland lead to 54-44 with 11:20 remaining.
The Pilots answered again, scoring the next six points to take a 60-44 lead with 7:59 to go, and the visitors still led 64-54 with 3:42 reamining. Gonzaga, however, had one last surge left.
A pair of Turiaf free throws - he was 13-for-16 from the free throw line - and a Stepp 3-pointer closed the gap to 64-59 with 2:51 remaining and put The Kennel crowd into a frenzy. A dunk by Turiaf following a defensive rebound by the Bulldogs made it a 3-point game with 1:57 left. Jeter responded with a layin, but Violette's layin made it a 66-63 game with 1:06 to go.
But following a missed 3-pointer by Don Wilson, Violette grabbed the rebound and Stepp's turnover followed, leading to a foul and a pair of Jeter free throws. Violette's tipin again cut the Portland margin to three at 68-65, the Pilots were fouled and Wilson converted both throws.
Stepp gave the Bulldogs one more breath of hope with a 26-foot 3-pointer from straightaway with three ticks of the clock left to make it a 70-68 game. Gonzaga was unable to steal the inbounds pass, was forced to foul and Quick converted both ends of the two-shot bonus for the final margin.
Gonzaga plays a rare late-season non-conference game Saturday in The Kennel when the University of Tulsa visits for the ESPN-sponsored Bracket Buster Saturday. The sold out game will be televised live on ESPN beginning at 9 p.m. PST.
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