Bulldogs Sole WCC Champions
Feb. 25, 2005
By ANNE M. PETERSON
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - Ronny Turiaf had 14 points and 11 rebounds for his 24th career double-double and No. 12 Gonzaga clinched the West Coast Conference regular-season title for the fifth straight season with an 84-68 victory over Portland on Thursday night.
Adam Morrison added 22 points for Gonzaga (22-4, 13-2), which has won nine straight. It is the ninth time since 1994 that the Bulldogs have won the regular season conference championship.
Darren Cooper had 20 points for the Pilots (15-14, 4-10), who have dropped four straight and eight of their last 10 games. It was Portland's regular season finale.
The WCC tournament starts March 4 in Santa Clara, Calif., with the Bulldogs having a first-round bye as the top seed.
Although the Bulldogs fell slightly behind in the opening minutes, they easily controlled the game, shooting 50 percent from the floor and leading by as many as 19 points in the second half. The Pilots shot 42.9 percent.
Turiaf moved ahead of Jeff Brown on the school's career scoring list with 1,655 points. He now has 806 rebounds for his career, making him just the fourth Gonzaga player to reach 800 career rebounds.
Turiaf's lay-in made it 70-51 before Morrison hit a pair of free throws with about 5 minutes left for Gonzaga's widest margin.
Gonzaga sophomore guard Derek Raivio, whose father, Rick, played for Portland and is in the school's Hall of Fame, scored 12 points.
Gonzaga trailed by as many as four points in the first half. Down 19-18 after Portland's Andreas Gahlmann hit a jumper, Erroll Knight's 3-pointer sparked a 16-0 run that put the Bulldogs up 34-19.
Morrison already had 14 of his points at the half, and Gonzaga was ahead 38-25 before a sellout crowd at Chiles Center that included a large turnout of Bulldog fans.
Portland's Pooh Jeter, who has scored in double figures in 22 of 29 games this season, had 13 points.
Portland was without reserve center Dreshawn Vance, who was hurt last Thursday in the Pilots' 58-56 loss to San Francisco.
Earlier this season, the Bulldogs beat the Pilots 91-79 at home in Spokane.
Thursday night's game was the West Coast Conference finale for Gonzaga. The Bulldogs host Northern Colorado on Monday at 6 p.m. to finish the regular season.
The Bulldogs will play the 6 p.m. semifinal of the West Coast Conference Tournament next Sunday as the No. 1 seed, the tournament played at the Leavey Center on the Santa Clara campus. The Bulldogs will play either the fourth, fifth or eighth place team depending on results of games played Friday and Saturday. The tournament title will be played Monday, March 7, with the WCC's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament on the line.
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