No. 7 Gonzaga Downs Loyola Marymount, 82-64
March 2, 2002
By BERNIE WILSON
SAN DIEGO - Dan Dickau overcame a slow start by making two clutch shots midway through the second half that helped No. 7 Gonzaga beat Loyola Marymount 82-64 Saturday in the opening round of the West Coast Conference tournament at the Jenny Craig Pavilion.
Dickau finished with 17 points and Gonzaga (27-3), seeking its fourth straight conference tournament title and automatic NCAA berth, won its 12th straight game. The Lions (9-20) lost for the 15th straight time to Gonzaga.
The Bulldogs, the tournament's No. 2 seed, will face host and No. 5 seed San Diego at 6:30 p.m. Sunday in one semifinal. Top-seeded Pepperdine will face No. 6 seed Saint Mary's in the second semifinal following the Gonzaga-USD contest. San Diego topped No. 4 seed San Franciso 69-67, and SMC downed No. 3 seed Santa Clara 72-67 in overtime in other first-round games to earn semfinal berths. Under the re-seeding format, the highest remaining seed faces the lowest remaining seed, and the two middle seeds meet in the semifinals. The winner of the late first round game (Saint Mary's) is guaranteed the late semifinal.
Dickau, the WCC Player of the Year, scored just two points and played only 11 minutes in the first half. He committed consecutive fouls eight minutes into the game.
Dickau had just nine points by midway through the second half, when Loyola Marymount went on a 6-0 run. Andy Osborn made two straight hook shots to cut Gonzaga's lead to 52-46 with 10:05 to play.
On the Zags' next possession, Dickau made a left-handed shot as he flew through the lane. Gonzaga then made three 3-pointers in the span of a minute, a 25-footer by Dickau and two by Kyle Bankhead, for a 63-51 lead with 8:01 to play.
Gonzaga was 9-of-10 from the free throw line in the closing minutes, and
reserve Ronny Turiaf made three straight field goals in the final 50 seconds.
Gonzaga's two big men, Zach Gourde and Cory Violette, each scored 16 points and Violette had 10 rebounds for his ninth double-double of the season and his second straight against the Lions. Bankhead and Alex Hernandez each scored 11 points.
Greg Lakey scored 18 points and Kent Dennis had 10 for Loyola.
Lakey made Loyola Marymount's first three field goals while the rest of the Lions were a combined 0-for-16, including three straight shots that didn't even hit the rim. Dennis ended that streak when hit a 3-pointer.
"The game went pretty much like I envisioned. I knew LMU would come out playing tough," Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said. "They are a very physical team, and I think Steve (LMU head coach Aggers) understands our system because he was in our league, coached at Eastern Washington and is now at LMU. They did a nice job of making us adjust."
The Bulldogs finally got untracked after the slow start, going on a 10-0 run in a span of 2:12 to open a 14-4 lead. Hernandez, who came off the bench to provide an early offensive spark and finished with 11 points, got fouled on a second-effort putback attemp and made both free throws, Blake Stepp's skip pass found Gourde slashing to the basket for an easy layin and Dickau converted a pair of free throws for a 10-4 lead.
Hernandez drove the base line for a basket, then rebounded Dickau's missed 3-pointer and put it back to complete the 10-0 run.
But the Lions weren't done, cutting the lead to 19-15 with an 11-4 run. That's as close as the Lions would get in the first half. Gonzaga answered with an 11-4 run to go up 30-19 with 4:24 to go in the half. LMU got the lead under double didigts twice more in the half before the Bulldogs scored the final five points of the stanza - all from the free throw line - for a 37-23 halftime advantage.
Gonzaga still owned a 47-32 lead with 16:29 to go in the game, but the Lions went on a 14-5 spurt to cut the margin to 52-46 with 10:12 reamining. A 17-7 Gonzaga outburst in which Dickau scored seven points and Bankhead hit a pair of treys to up the lead to 69-53 with 5:22 to go all but ended the Lions' upset hopes.
"Kyle has been huge for us all year," Few said of the sophomore. "He's like a pinch hitter that comes into the game and allows us an opportunity to get Dan and Blake some rest. We don't drop off. Kyle can really hurt you from the 3-point line."
With his 17 points Dickau moved into 21st on the Gonzaga career scoring list with 1,048 points, moving him ahead of John Rillie (1,038 from 1993-95). His three assists give him 289 in his career, still eighth on the all-time list and five shy of surpassing the 293 of Jamie Dudley from 1990-93. Dickau also moved into fourth place on the WCC single-season 3-point list with 104, surpassing former LMU standout Terrell Lowery who had 103 in 1991.
Gonzaga will be making its fifth straight appearance in the WCC Tournament semifinals and its 10th trip overall to the semis. Gonzaga is seeking its fourth straight WCC title and with it the automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
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