No. 5 Gonzaga Runs The WCC Table

Feb. 27, 2006

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SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - With the score tied in the closing seconds and the nation's leading scorer handling the ball, everyone in the McCarthey Athletic Center figured Adam Morrison would take the final shot.

Instead, Morrison, who was double-teamed, whipped the ball to Pierre Marie Altidor-Cespedes, who averages four points per game, 25 less than the man who made the pass.

Altidor-Cespedes hit a 3-pointer with 1 second left to lift No. 5 Gonzaga to a 75-72 victory over San Francisco on Monday night, preserving the Bulldogs' second undefeated run through the West Coast Conference in three years.

Morrison scored half of his 34 points over the final 11:43 as the Bulldogs (25-3, 14-0) overcame an eight-point deficit to win their 16th straight game, tying No. 7 George Washington for the longest streak in the nation. The Bulldogs won their 38th consecutive home game, easily the longest such streak in the nation and a school record.

"Coach expected they might double-team Adam, so he told the wings to spot up," said Altidor-Cespedes, a sophomore from Montreal.

"It felt good," he said of the game-winner. "I was hoping it would go in."

It was the first game-winning shot of his career, Altidor-Cespedes said.

"There was no doubt when it left his hands it was going in," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said.

Morrison, who was 10-of-22 from the field and 13-of-16 from the free throw line, said it was the first time he assisted on a game-winner.

"I saw Armondo (Surratt) come right at me," Morrison said. "I saw Pierre, and I gave it up to him."

Jason Wallace-Carter of San Francisco missed a long jumper at the buzzer.

Jerome Gumbs had 20 points and Surratt added 19 for San Francisco (11-16, 7-7).

The game was tied 11 times and had 11 lead changes.

After the score was tied at 38 at halftime, San Francisco built a 62-54 lead with 9 minutes left.

 

 

Then Morrison scored 10 points over the next 3 1/2 minutes, with his 3-pointer giving Gonzaga a 66-64 lead with 5:14 left.

The Dons came right back, with Surratt converting a three-point play and Gumbs hitting a 3-pointer from the corner for a 70-68 lead with 4:12 left. Morrison tied it for the Zags with 3:06 left.

Neither team scored for the next 2 1/2 minutes, and Gonzaga got the ball with 34 seconds left after Erroll Knight blocked Surratt's layup attempt.

After a timeout, J.P. Batista hit a spinning layup with 25 seconds left for a 72-70 Gonzaga lead. Gumbs made a layup to tie the game and Gonzaga called a timeout with 9.7 seconds left.

Altidor-Cespedes, who made all three of his 3-point attempts to finish with nine points, took the pass from Morrison and buried the game winner.

The Zags shot 58 percent in the second half, and made 18 of 23 free throws in the game, compared to 3-of-7 from the line for the Dons.

"I thought we played them evenly everywhere except the free throw line," San Francisco coach Jessie Evans said. "We were not awed by anything."

Gumbs said he made Morrison work for his points, but the Zags also got 17 points and 11 rebounds from Batista.

"They've got a two-headed monster over there, no doubt," Gumbs said.

The Bulldogs host the WCC tournament for the first time, starting this Thursday. They have won 23 consecutive conference games dating to last season, when they lost at San Francisco.

Gonzaga is 40-2 in the WCC the past three seasons, with both losses last year. The last team other than Gonzaga to go undefeated in the conference was Pepperdine in 1982 and 1992.

Gonzaga has not lost at home since Feb. 19, 2003, to Portland. Hofstra is second in the country with 20 straight home wins.

Morrison, a junior, has 1,747 points and moved past Ronny Turiaf's 1,723 for fourth place on Gonzaga's career list.

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