No. 6 Gonzaga Powers Past Portland State, 89-80

Nov. 30, 2005

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SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Coach Mark Few thinks all the compliments given to Gonzaga after two wins in the Maui Invitational have hurt his team.

The sixth-ranked Bulldogs looked flat and needed 34 points from Adam Morrison to hold off a late surge by unheralded Portland State and beat the Vikings 89-80 on Wednesday night.

"I'd appreciate it if you'd quit praising them so much," Few said in his postgame news conference. "People tell us how good we are and we just drop off.

"Right now they don't handle praise very well."

The Bulldogs (4-1) appeared to headed toward a rout when they went up by more than 20 points midway through the second half. But Portland State (3-3) closed to within eight points in the final minutes before they had to resort to fouling.

Gonzaga continued its fine free throw shooting, making 12 of 13 in the final two minutes, for its 26th consecutive win at home.

Few is concerned that his team keeps playing to the level of its opponent.

"We can be really good," Few said. "Yet we need to understand that we need to give a lot better effort than we gave tonight."

That will be especially true when the Bulldogs travel to Seattle for Sunday's showdown with No. 18 Washington.

"That's a huge game," said Morrison, who made 14 of 20 field goals to lead all scorers. J.P. Batista added 21 points and nine rebounds, and Sean Mallon added 10 points and 10 rebounds for Gonzaga.

Point guard Derek Raivio fouled out with five points, and drew criticism from Few for picking up early fouls.

"Derek played frustrated tonight," Few said.

Morrison was critical of himself for only grabbing three rebounds, and said the Zags "got soft" late in the game.

"If we try to play like that against UW, we'll get beat by 30," Morrison said.

 

 

Portland State guard Ryan Sommer scored 18 points, while Jake Schroeder added 16 and Juma Kamara had 15, including 5-of-6 from 3-point range.

"Ryan did a great job," Portland State coach Ken Bone said.

Bone challenged his team during a second-half timeout when they were down by 20 with 10 minutes left.

"I thought they responded pretty well," Bone said.

He was especially pleased at a 39-32 rebound advantage over Gonzaga.

"Our guys are a little smaller, a little less athletic and really scraped on the boards and did a nice job down there," Bone said.

Gonzaga came out flat in its first game since losing to No. 3 Connecticut in the championship game of the Maui Invitational. The Bulldogs led by only three points early in the second half before Morrison scored 15 points in the first 12 minutes to widen the margin.

Portland State has lost nine straight to Gonzaga, including last year's inaugural game in the McCarthey Athletic Center. Gonzaga has never lost in the new building.

The Bulldogs made just 3-of-15 from 3-point range, but outscored Portland State 36-12 in the paint. The Vikings made 13-of-23 3-pointers to stay close.

Portland State made the first three baskets of the second half, two by Scott Morrison, to close to within 41-38.

But a string of seven straight points by Batista, and a layup by Adam Morrison, gave the Bulldogs a 54-43 lead.

Morrison scored seven points over a two-minute period, on two layups and a 3-pointer, for a 75-55 advantage.

But Portland State fought back, and Josh Neeley's 3-pointer capped a 13-2 run that cut the Bulldogs' lead to 77-68 with 3:29 left.

Jeremy Pargo's free throw broke a five-minute scoring drought for Gonzaga, which held a 78-70 lead with 1:38 left.

Portland State was forced to foul and the Bulldogs made 12 of 13 free throws for the win.

Portland State used a stout defense to stay close in the first half, when they trailed just 41-32. The Vikings shot just 37 percent from the field in the half, but made 5-of-11 3-pointers to stay in the game. Gonzaga connected on just 1-of-10 from 3-point range in the first half.

Gonzaga has won 39 of its past 40 nonconference games at home.

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