Men's Hoops Rallies To Down Eastern Washington, 84-74 In OT
Dec 4, 2001
SPOKANE, Wash - It wasn't the Sweet Sixteen, but 16's were definitely wild Tuesday night at The Kennel.
Gonzaga University (6-2), its 16-game home winning streak in jeopardy, rallied from a 16-point halftime deficit to defeat Eastern Washington University for the 16th straight time 84-74 in overtime.
The Bulldogs quickly cut into the EWU (4-3) lead to start the second half, running the first 12 points to cut a 45-29 EWU halftime lead to 45-41. Cory Violette, who posted his second career double-double in three games with 16 points and 12 rebounds, started the second half with a pair of free throws. Back-to-back jumpers by Dan Dickau, who lead all scorers with 22 points, and Blake Stepp, who came off the bench for 10 points, sheared the lead to 10 at 45-35 with 17:29 remaining. The Bulldogs finally got the lead back to single digits when Zach Gourde got a lay-up.
Ronny Turiaf made a pair of free throws and Gourde got another lay-up to cut the lead to 45-41 with 14:43 left.
But the Eagles pushed the lead back to eight when Quinto hit another trey, then connected on 1-of-2 free throws 20 seconds later for a 49-41 EWU lead. The Eagles still lead 61-53 with 6:55 remaining when Chris Hester made a pair of free throws.
But Gonzaga made one final run. Dickau made two free throws, Stepp hit 1-of-2 from the line and Dickau got a lay-up to cut the EWU margin to 61-58 with 4:47 to go. Gourde's dunk and a Gourde lay-up on a pinpoint pass from Dickau gave Gonzaga its first lead since 13-12 at 62-61 with 2:13 remaining.
But the Eagles, whose last win in this series was on The Kennel floor in 1990, came back to regain the lead on Keith Browne's 3-pointer with 1:47 remaining. Another Gourde layin tied the game at 64 with 88 ticks showing on the lock. Dickau gave the lead back to the Bulldogs when he was fouled on the drive and made a pair of free throws for a 66-64 lead, but once again the Eagles fought back and got a layin from Lewis for a 66-66 game with 50 seconds remaining and EWU's Alvin Snow grabbed the rebound. But a Stepp steal off a Lewis turnover thwarted EWU's chance for a game-winning shot.
In the OT the Bulldogs drew first blood when Stepp was fouled by Snow on a 3-point attempt. The sophomore, who returned to action after missing the previous two games with a sprained ankle, made all three free throws to put the Bulldogs up 69-66 just nine seconds into the extra session.
Dickau's jumper following a Hester jumper pushed the GU lead back to thee at 71-68. Another Dickau jumper gave Gonzaga a 73-69 advantage after the Eagles' Browne had made 1-of-2 from the free throw line. Alex Hernandez made a pair of throws to up the lead to 75-69 with 2:22 to go.
A Gourde dunk following a Jason Humbert free throw gave Gonzaga a 77-70 lead and the Bulldogs were never threatened for the final 1:35. Gonzaga, which finished 33-of-41 from the free throw line, hit 7-of-8 in the final 36 seconds to seal the win.
The Eagles used a familiar Gonzaga weapon - the long bomb - to open up the huge lead, connecting on 7-of-11 3-pointers in the first half. Marco Quinto paced the first-half onslaught with 9 points, including 3-for-3 from beyond the arc. Jason Lewis contributed 8 first-half points, going 3-for-6 from the field and 2-for-4 from 3-point land. The Eagles were a red-hot 16-for-26 for 61.5 percent from the field in the first half and 6-of-6 from the free throw line. But EWU managed just 2-of-11 from 3-point range in the second half and went 7-of-27 from the field for 25.9 percent in the final 20 minutes.
Gonzaga, meanwhile, survived a shaky 9-for-22 from the field in the first half to go 12-for-24 in the second half. The Bulldogs struggled from 3-point range all night, finishing 3-for-13 for the game, including 1-for-8 in the second half. For the second straight game the Bulldogs had a strong night from the free throw line. After going 20-for-23 against Portland State University last Saturday, Gonzaga went 33-of-41 from the stripe on Tuesday. The Bulldogs went 12-for-14 in the second half and 12-for-13 in the OT.
The Bulldogs won't have any time to savor their thrilling comeback victory. Gonzaga meets Fresno State University Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at The Forum in Los Angeles in the first half of the Loud Records Fab Four Classic doubleheader. West Coast Conference foe Pepperdine University will meet the University of Southern California in the late game. Both games will be telecast on most Fox Sports Net affiliates on the West Coast.
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