No. 21 Gonzaga Beats Hofstra In Season Opener
Nov 23, 2002
SPOKANE, Wash. - Gonzaga needed a wake-up call, and when 290-pound Omar Alston of Hofstra landed on top of a prone Zach Gourde in the first half, the Bulldogs got one.
"That was a whole lot of man," Gourde said after the 21st-ranked Bulldogs held off tenacious Hofstra for a 69-61 win Friday night in the season opener for both teams.
Hofstra outrebounded Gonzaga 41-38 and held the Bulldogs to 40 percent shooting, including 5-of-20 from 3-point range. The teams were tied with 11 minutes left in the game before Hofstra faded.
"They were more physical than we expected," said Gonzaga's Cory Violette, who had 17 points and eight rebounds. "They outplayed us."
Violette said being outrebounded was "an insult" for a team that was counting on its big men to carry the load in the post-Dan Dickau era.
"There are teams that are going to be bigger and stronger than these guys are," Violette said, including next week when the Bulldogs play in the Maui Invitational.
"We didn't match their physical play," said Gourde, who had 11 points. "We are big and strong and should outrebound a team like this."
Gonzaga coach Mark Few was more charitable, calling the game a "reality check" for a team that is facing high expectations this season. "It's nice to learn a lesson without losing," he said.
He acknowledged that some of the veterans might have subconsciously been waiting for Dickau, now a member of the NBA's Atlanta Hawks, to launch some 3-pointers to spark the team.
"Some might have thought he was going to fly in on a helicopter and deliver some big plays," Few said.
Hofstra coach Tom Pecora pointed to the 16 more free throws Gonzaga took as a key to the loss.
"Violette did a great job posting up," Pecora added.
Kenny Adeleke led Hofstra with 18 points and nine rebounds, while Woody Souffrant added 15.
Both teams had trouble shooting the ball in their season openers, but Hofstra stayed close in the first-ever meeting between the two teams.
Gonzaga led 38-28 early in the second half when Hofstra scored 11 straight points - including consecutive 3-pointers by Omar Alston and Mike Radziejewski - for a 39-38 lead.
Violette answered with a dunk and two jumpers to put the Bulldogs ahead 46-41. Consecutive 3-pointers by Radziejewski tied the score at 47 with 11:14 left in the game.
Kyle Bankhead's 3-pointer and two dunks from Violette highlighted a 12-2 Gonzaga run for a 59-49 lead. The Bulldogs held off the Pride in the remaining five minutes.
Ronny Turiaf added 17 points for Gonzaga, which has won 27 consecutive home games and is 46-1 at home over the past four years.
Hofstra played without last year's leading scorer, Rick Apodaca, and starter Wendell Gibson, both of whom were suspended for violating school rules.
Woody Souffrant, who had only four 3-pointers all last season, made three in the first 10 minutes as Hofstra grabbed a 20-16 lead. But Gonzaga went on a 16-6 run, with Blake Stepp's 3-pointer at the buzzer giving the Bulldogs a 32-26 halftime lead.
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