Men's Baksetball Rolls In Exhibition
Nov. 8, 2003
SPOKANE, Wash. - Gonzaga University's men's basketball team used a balanced scoring attack and had a strong presence on the boards in defeating Northwest Sports 123-72 in the final tune-up prior to opening the regular season next Friday.
Erroll Knight and Tony Skinner, who both sat out last week's exhibition opener with knee injuries, each poured in 20 points to lead seven Bulldogs in double figures as head coach Mark Few again played every available player.
The Bulldogs broke from a 16-12 lead to go on a 20-8 run over a 10-minute span and virtually put the game away by halftime in taking a 59-35 intermission lead.
Northwest Sports, playing its second game in as many nights, could not match the speed or size of the Bulldogs, who held a 50-28 rebounding edge and had 13 steals to just two for the visitors.
Skinner, who came of age in last year's NCAA Tournament second-round loss to the University of Arizona, went 8-for-15 from the field and 4-for-9 from 3-point range in just 25 minutes. Knight, making his first appearance in a Bulldog uniform after sitting out last season following his transfer from the University of Washington, went 8-for-11 from the field in 23 minutes.
Richard Fox, who played just four minutes a week ago while also nursing a sore knee, played 20 minutes and had 19 points on a 6-for-10 night from the field. Veteran Cory Violette had 15 points and 11 rebounds for his second double-double in the exhibitions.
Blake Stepp, last year's West Coast Conference Player of the Year, had 10 points and 13 assists and he looked like he was in mid-season form in pushing the ball up court and running the offense.
Gonzaga's youngsters also got more valuable playing time in the exhibition. True freshman point guard Derek Raivio had 15 points, nine rebounds, a pair of assists and just two turnovers in 25 minutes. Redshirt freshman Sean Mallon, who had a double-double last weekend, had 10 points and five rebounds.
"I think people got a look tonight at the depth we have on this team," Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said. "When we get Ronny (Turiaf) back we'll be even deeper. The advantage that gives us is we can have a lot of different combinations and some real flexibility in how we can play."
Turiaf, sidelined throughout fall camp with a stress fracture, returned to practice on a limited basis this past week after being taken out of the walking boot. Adam Morrison, the true freshman from Spokane's Mead High who scored 29 points last week against Emporia State, joined him on the sidelines Saturday. Morrison sprained a wrist in practice last Sunday and was a game-day decision not to play on Saturday.
Northwest Sports got a team-high 18 points from Ryan Floyd, who is no stranger to Bulldog fans. Floyd was a member of Gonzaga's 1999 Elire Eight and 2000 Sweet 16 NCAA Tournament teams. He went 8-for-19 from the field, but a chilly 2-for-11 from 3-point range.
Former University of Washington player Donald Watts had 16 points for the visitors. Two other players with local ties - former Washington State University and 14-year NBA performer Craig Ehlo had 9 points and a team-high 9 rebounds, and Whitworth College graduate Greg Stern had 5 points.
The Bulldogs open the regular season Friday at Madison Square Garden against Saint Joseph's University in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic. The game marks the third straight year the two teams have met. The Bulldogs won at Saint Joe's two year's ago on Dan Dickau's shot at the buzzer, and the Hawks turned the tables last year as Jameer Nelson hit the game-winner at the end of overtime to snap Gonzaga's 29-game winning streak in The Kennel.
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