Gonzaga Tops IPFW 90-55 In Final Tune-up For Maui

Nov. 20, 2009

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SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Gonzaga University got its final tune-up prior to heading to the EA Sports Maui Invitational with a 90-55 non-conference men's basketball victory over IPFW Friday night at the sold out McCarthey Athletic Center.

Robert Sacre scored 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds and Matt Bouldin added 15 points and five rebounds to lead four Bulldogs in double figures.

The Bulldogs, rebounding from Tuesday's tough 75-71 setback at No. 2 Michigan State University, also got a career-high 14 points from point guard Demetri Goodson and 11 points from Steven Gray.

Gonzaga shot 62.7 percent for the game, including 64.0 percent in the first half in opening a 42-24 halftime advantage.

The Bulldogs pitched a shutout for 8:04 before IPFW, which missed its first 10 shots and had four blocked, scored its first points on a Zach Plackemeier layin, but by that time Gonzaga had a 13-0 lead as Bouldin and Goodson combined for the first nine points. Bouldin got five of them on a game-opening jumper and a trey. Sacre scored the next four points on a dunk and two free throws and Gonzaga had the 13-0 lead with 13:31 to go in the opening half.

The Mastodons, playing their second game in as many nights after losing at Washington State University on Thursday, got as close at seven at 20-13 on a 3-pointer by Nick Daniels with 8:40 to go in the half, but Gonzaga reeled off a 19-8 run over the next six minutes for a 39-21 advantage. The lead would grow to as many as 19 in the half.

IPFW, which shot just 30.8 percent for the game, tried to make things interesting in the second half by scoring the first six points of the second half to cut the Gonzaga margin to 42-30 with just 1:07 gone in the half. But following a Bulldog timeout the Zags came out and quickly pushed the lead to 20 points, 55-35, with 15:20 remaining. Elias Harris, held scoreless in the first half, had a pair of dunks in the 13-5 spurt for half of his eight second-half points.

The Bulldogs held a 49-35 rebounding edge as 13 players grabbed at least one rebound. Gonzaga had 18 turnovers, which was of a little concern to Few. But it only led to nine IPFW points while Gonzaga converted 17 Mastodon turnovers into 26 points.

Few praised the starters for setting the tone early.

"I thought again that first group came out with some energy on the defensive end. We were able to get up and get after them a little bit. I thought we got a pretty good effort out of everybody that got into the game. They are a different type of team. They spread you out with five guys. We tried to utilize our size at one end but tried not to make it a disadvantage at the other end because they were spreading it and attacking us with basically five guards out there," Few said.

But in the end, Few said he couldn't find much to be unhappy about.

"We shot 60 percent, held them to 30 and out-rebounded them by double digits," he analyzed. "It's hard to complain. I thought they never quit, they kept coming at us and are a real tough, hard-nosed scrappy sort of team. They had the fight they just weren't as big as Michigan State."

Few said Goodson is starting to play like he did a year ago when he came off the bench and provided the Bulldogs a spark. And he was glad to see him look to score more.

"We've been talking to him a lot about that (looking for his shot)," Few said of the sophomore. "I think he was looking to get us playing faster. He always made us faster when he got into the games last year. I think there's been a tendency to maybe try to slow down, but we've been trying to speed him up. He has two great wings running with him, he's got two great bigs playing with him. I think he got the message and he was back to pushing it. He's been phenomenal on on-ball defense. He's set the tone better than any guard we've had her on on-ball defense at the point of attack right at the start of every defensive attack."

Next up for the Bulldogs is Maui, where the Bulldogs face three games in three days. It's a challenge Few said his veteran teams easily adapted to, but with this year's young squad it may present more of a challenge.

"It presents a lot of challenges. You'll face three different styles of play, three different coaching philosophies and schemes, zones, different man-to-mans, different plays," Few said. " With our veteran type teams we've taken to Maui they've always been very easy to move from game to game. It will be a challenge with these guys because we don't have quite all of our offensive package in and we certainly don't have all of our defensive understanding in."

But Few said the Maui is still something he and his players look forward to.

"It's the greatest tournament out there. We've had a great history there. We've had a lot of memorable games and experiences there. For some of these kids it's their only opportunity to ever be on the island of Hawai'i," Few said. "And it's basketball in its purest sense. It's a tiny gym, you get 20 minutes to warm up, you get about five minutes in the locker room because they are exchanging teams and it takes all of the fluff out of it. It's just basketball. I think that's what makes it so unique."

Gonzaga plays the opening game of the EA Sports Maui Invitational Monday against the University of Colorado at noon Pacific time on ESPN. The University of Arizona and the University of Wisconsin are in the bracket with Gonzaga and Colorado, those winners and losers meeting Tuesday.



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