Gray Gets Bulldogs Off To Fast Start Against Southern

Nov. 12, 2010

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SPOKANE, Wash. - Steven Gray made five 3-pointers, handed out nine assists and scored 25 points to lead No. 12 Gonzaga to a 117-72 season-opening win over Southern University on Friday night in front of a sold out crowd of 6,000 at the McCarthey Athletic Center.

Gonzaga had six players score in double figures. Sam Dower scored 19 points, Elias Harris and Mathis Mönninghoff added 12 each, Robert Sacre contributed 11 and Kelly Olynyk finished with 10.

Madut Bol, son the late Manute Bol, led Southern with 12 points, while Julius Ingram, Patrick Coleman and Jameel Grace each scored nine. The Jaguars shot 41.1 percent from the field.

"It was a good start to the season. I thought we shot the ball extremely well," Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said. "Obviously, we rebounded the ball great and we were able to get a lot of guys in, get some good experience especially with the younger guys. We have a lot to improve on, but a good first game."

The Bulldogs led 56-30 at halftime and extended the lead to 91-50 with 7:57 remaining. Gonzaga emptied its bench, letting 12 players play in the game. Gonzaga's biggest lead was 48 points.

Gonzaga started slow, holding a 22-20 lead with 9:55 remaining in the first half. But an 18-0 Bulldog run expanded Gonzaga's lead from 29-25 with 6:08 to go in the opening half to 47-25 with 2:22 left on the way to a 56-30 halftime edge.

"We made some shots. We were finally able to string some stops together. They were shooting the ball pretty darn well themselves early," Few pointed out. "I thought for the most part we were contesting those shots. I thought it was just a matter of time until I thought if we could just keep making them hit shots over our hand that we would eventually get going and we did. We started making two or three threes in a row. That helped, too."

The Bulldogs hit 13 3-pointers, the most since going 13-for-22 against Santa Clara March 8, 2009.

Gonzaga used its taller lineup to wear down the Jaguars. Gonzaga started two 7-footers, Sacre and Olynyk, and controlled the paint by holding a 57-16 rebounding margin. Gonzaga made 13-of-22 treys and shot 54.2 percent (39-of-71) from the field.

Southern didn't have the size to battle Gonzaga in the paint with their tallest starter, Quinton Doggett, listed at 6-8.

With Gray the lone senior on the team, Few was pleased with his leadership as well as his stats line.

"He was great tonight. He showed some great leadership," Few noted. "Obviously, early when the game was still in the balance, he made some huge plays to get it going and break it open."

The Bulldogs also got a solid night from the freshman Mönninghoff. He went 4-for-4 from the field - all from 3-point range - while scoring 12 points in 16 minutes.

"That's kind of why we brought him over here," Few said of the latest German to join the Bulldogs. "He's been a little bit of a reluctant shooter in some of the scrimmages and things like that. We've been on him to be aggressive and that's what he's suppose to bring. It was nice to see to be quite honest. He's capable of doing that and when he's aggressive like that I think we are a better team."

Gonzaga and Southern have never faced each other although the programs are familiar with each other because Southern's athletic director, Greg LaFleur, is the father of Sacre, Gonzaga's center. LaFleur was a tight end in the NFL from 1981-86.

This was the first of three games in five days for Gonzaga. IUPUI comes to town on Sunday, followed by No. 25 San Diego State on Tuesday. Southern travels to Washington State on Saturday.



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