No. 5 Gonzaga Out Duels San Diego In Overtime
March 5, 2006
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Mark Few has seen enough of San Diego this season.
"San Diego was a handful in the second half. They have been all year," the Gonzaga coach said after Adam Morrison scored 24 points to help the No. 5 Bulldogs (26-3) beat San Diego 96-92 in overtime in a semifinal game of the West Coast Conference tournament Sunday. "They shoot the ball extremely well. The best thing they do is really spread you out."
Nick Lewis had a game-high 26 points for fifth-seed San Diego (18-12), including a basket as time expired in regulation that tied the game at 85.
The Bulldogs survived an upset on free throws and three-point plays in the second half of the physical game, which sidelined Gonzaga center JP Batista. The senior forward suffered a mild knee sprain in the first half, and didn't start the second half.
Batista is questionable for the championship game Monday against No. 2 seed Loyola Marymount, Few said. The Lions advanced with a 66-63 win over Saint Mary's in Sunday's late semifinal.
"He got a knee into his thigh; right above it so his quad wasn't firing," Few said of Batista, who spent time riding a stationary bike. "We were worried that the ligament was a little unstable. It's a bruised quad."
Morrison said Batista's teammates accepted the fact that they might have to finish without their big man, but hoped for the best.
"We kind of knew he was going to come back. We were prepared to go without him,' Morrison said. "We were trying to weather the storm."
San Diego took advantage and used a 10-2 run to go up 51-50 at the 13:15 mark.
Batista returned midway through the period with a wrap on his left knee.
The Bulldogs were held without a field goal for more than 11 minutes during the second half, but hit 11-of-12 from the free throw line in that span.
Batista returned to score 21 points, including crucial free throws in overtime.
Derek Raivio added 21 points for the Bulldogs, including three 3-pointers as the teams traded long shots for much of the second half.
Morrison was held to one field goal in the second period, but was 8-for-9 from the line during that span and in overtime. Morrison was guarded by Corey Belser, who was hit with a technical after mixing it up with Morrison.
"He does what he always does, try to frustrate you," Morrison said of Belser. "But like I said before, I've never lost against him and I think he had six points and he's going to measure me on that status and I'm going to measure him on that status. He guards pretty good."
Belser praised Morrison's skills at drawing fouls.
"He knows how to get to the free throw line and he knows how to get people to foul him," Belser said.
Gonzaga was undefeated in conference play this season, posting a 14-0 record, including two victories over the Toreros.
Brandon Johnson had 19 points and Nir Cohen added 15 for San Diego before fouling out late in the game.
Gonzaga led 43-33 at the half behind Morrison and Batista.
San Diego coach Brad Holland said he was pleased with his team's play, despite the outcome.
"We fought through everything that was in front of us; the foul count, the crowd," he said. "Our kids just played a heck of a game."
The Toreros lost to Gonzaga 64-63 at home Jan. 21, then fell 75-59 at Gonzaga on Feb. 25.
They beat Pepperdine 85-72 in the first round, then San Francisco 62-59 to advance to the semifinals.
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