No. 20 Gonzaga Gets Past Utah

Nov 26, 2002

Final Stats | Video Highlights

By JIM O'CONNELL
AP Basketball Writer

LAHAINA, Hawaii - Even after his team's second win of the season, Ronny Turiaf couldn't get the first one out of his mind.

The sophomore scored a career-high 24 points in 24 minutes and No. 20 Gonzaga scored 19 straight points in the first half to take control in a 71-52 victory over Utah on Monday night in the opening round of the Maui Invitational.

The Bulldogs (2-0) advanced to Tuesday's semifinals against No. 19 Indiana, which beat Massachusetts 84-71.

Gonzaga opened the season with a 69-61 victory at home over Hofstra, a game the Bulldogs felt shouldn't have been so close with the Pride missing two starters and a key reserve.

"We were mad and sad after that first game and we made sure we tried very hard this game and we did," said Turiaf, a native of Martinique.

Utah (1-1) led 8-4 when Gonzaga went on the game-breaking run that started with a jumper by Scott Bankhead with 13:56 left in the first half and ended on a tip-in by Zach Gourde that made it 23-8 with 7:05 left.

Tim Drisdom hit a jumper with 6:47 left in the half that ended Utah's scoreless drought that lasted 8:47. The 6-foot-10 Turiaf then scored Gonzaga's next seven points as the Bulldogs went on to a 37-20 halftime lead.

Utah, which went 1-for-11 from the free-throw line in the first half, got to 44-33 on a basket by Richard Chaney with 13:47 to play, but Turiaf had seven free throws in a 9-2 run that had the Bulldogs back in control at 53-35 with 9:52 to play.

"This was a totally different team from our first time out when we were back on our heels and not aggressive," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. "They took the criticism from the staff and the torture of watching the film and came out like ourselves."

Turiaf, who had 23 points against Eastern Oregon last season, made 15 free throws, one off the school record accomplished four times by Frank Burgess between 1959 and 1961. Turiaf finished 15-for-16 from the line.

 

 

Bankhead had 10 points for Gonzaga, 33-for-43 from the free-throw line.

"As a team we work very hard on our free throws every practice," Turiaf said. "I wasn't looking to score, I just wanted to play hard and with energy. I don't know how I scored 24 points, it just happened."

Corey Violette, who had nine points for Gonzaga, wasn't surprised by his teammate's offensive outburst.

"He is the hardest guy to guard in practice," Violette said. "It's great to be able to have him, myself, Zach and Richard (Fox) up front to take the heat off each other. You can't stop all of us, that's hard to do."

Britton Johnsen led Utah, 5-for-18 from the line, with 15 points. The Utes had 21 turnovers.

"I don't know if the free throws were as bad for us as the way we were manhandled in the post and threw the ball away," Utah coach Rick Majerus said. "We have so many holes in the dike right now and post awareness and taking care of the ball have to be the most important."

The Bulldogs, whose 8.9 rebound advantage led the nation last season, only outrebounded the Utes 29-28.

Videos From
Ronny Turiaf scored 24 points as Gonzaga beat Utah 71-52.
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Majerus was impressed with everything about Gonzaga.

"I know a Top Ten team when I see one," he said. "They are physical and deep."

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