Gonzaga Breaks Game Open In Second Half
Nov. 15, 2008
SPOKANE, Wash. - Josh Heytvelt and Austin Daye both scored 15 points as nationally ranked Gonzaga University claimed an 83-52 victory over Montana State University Billings in their season opener on Saturday.
Then Bulldogs were ranked 10th by Associated Press and 11th by USA Today/ESPN in the pre-season polls.
Daye also grabbed 12 rebounds for his second career double-double, his first coming in his collegiate debut in last year's opener when he scored 20 points and hauled in 10 rebounds.
A senior forward, Heytvelt scored 11 points after halftime as the Bulldogs turned a five-point game into a blowout. He went 5-for-9 from the field and also hauled in eight rebounds, one better than his season-high all of last season.
Jeremy Pargo scored seven points but was more valuable with 10 assists, the fourth double-digit assist game of his career. He handed out 13 assists last year against Virginia Tech in the Great Alaska Shootout.
Gonzaga head coach was upbeat after the game.
"It was good first night for us. We did some good things tonight. I thought our rebounding has come along very well and we played another solid night on both ends of the floor," Few said. "Defensively we did some good things. We forced them into some long possessions with our pressure and that was good to see. We played solid team defense tonight."
The Bulldogs won the battle of the boards 44-31 and held the Yellowjackets to 32.7 percent from the field, including a 2-for-15 start as Gonzaga raced to a 19-point lead on two occasions in the first half, the last at 33-14 with 3:18 to go in the half.
But MSUB reeled off 14 straight points to close to within five at halftime at 33-28 - all 14 points coming from sharpshooter Michael Hall, a transfer from the University of Idaho who played in the McCarthey Athletic Center last season with the Vandals. He connected on three straight treys, hit a jumper, and then hit three free throws to complete the run.
Hall led all scorers with 24 points on an 8-for-17 night form the field that included a 5-for-12 effort from 3-point range.
"We have to give some credit to MSU Billings," Few said. "They stepped up and hit some good shots to keep it close with that run late in the first half. They found some good matchups and hit their shots."
The Yellowjackets are coached by first-year head coach George Pfeifer, who coached the past two seasons at Idaho.
The Bulldogs had nine of the 11 players who saw action in the contest score, a trend Few thinks fans may see a lot of this season.
"We have really worked on sharing the ball and we moved the ball around well tonight. Our depth will lead to a well-balanced scoresheet for us like you saw tonight."
Freshmen Grant Gibbs, a 6-4 guard from Marion, Iowa, and Andy Poling, a 6-11 forward from Portland, Ore., did not see action because they are planning to redshirt this season. Sophomore Robert Sacre, a 7-0 center, was also in street clothes as he continues his rehabilitation from foot surgery. Sacre got out of the boot earlier this week and is able to do some straight forward running and other conditioning drills, but is still expected to be held out of competition for another 10-14 days.
Gonzaga will be right back in action Tuesday when Idaho visits the sold out McCarthey Athletic Center for a 6 p.m. contest. The game will be televised on KHQ-TV/FSN and also be available on the radio at 1510 KGA and audio streamed on this website.
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