Bulldogs Hold Off Scrappy Montana, 88-70

Dec. 19, 1999

Box Score

By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS
Associated Press Writer

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Offensive rebounding and outside shooting lift No. 22 Gonzaga to victory.

Point guard Matt Santangelo scored 15 points, dished out nine assists and committed no turnovers as Gonzaga beat Montana 88-70 on Sunday.

"It was unemotional on our part," Santangelo said of Gonzaga's win, which relied on 3-point shooting against the scrappy Grizzlies. "They really wanted this game and it showed."

Indeed, Montana was within six points at 56-50 with 11:20 left in the game. But Gonzaga (7-2) clamped down defensively, holding Montana (3-6) to just eight points over nearly the next seven minutes, while building a 74-58 lead.

"That's when the damage was done," Montana coach Don Holst said. "They killed us on the offensive glass."

Gonzaga had 13 of its 19 offensive rebounds in the second half, while holding Montana to five in the half. "That's the game," Holst said.

In its first home game since Dec. 1, Gonzaga held a 43-29 rebounding edge.

The Bulldogs also revived their outside game, hitting 11-of-24 3-point attemptes.

Richie Frahm also scored 15 points for the Bulldogs, including 3-for-4 from 3-point range.

"It's good to see our shooters back," coach Mark Few said, as the Bulldogs had been averaging only 28 percent of their 3-pointers this season.

Few and Santangelo were both critical of the lapses that allowed Montana to stay close for much of the game.

"We didn't sustain our effort," Santangelo said.

The Bulldogs may have been distracted by finals week, a touch of the flu and the recent end of a lengthy road trip, Few said. "But we've got to show up and deliver," he said.

 

 

Few noted that Bulldogs have upcoming games against California, and then a tournament in Hawaii that could pit them against teams like Villanova, Wake Forest and Oregon.

"I'd like to see us take another step up the ladder," Few said.

Montana, which also lost to Gonzaga in the season opener for both teams in Missoula, trailed just 42-37 at halftime.

The second half began slowly, with a flurry of missed shots by both teams. But 3-pointers by Mike Nilson and Frahm helped Gonzaga build a 56-42 lead.

An 8-0 run - Dan Carter's layup, and 3-pointers by Jared Buckmaster and Mike Warhank - brought Montana to within 56-50 with 11:20 left. But that was the Grizzlies' last challenge. Frahm's 3-pointer capped a 7-0 run that rebuilt Gonzaga's lead to 63-50.

Gonzaga's defense then clamped down on the Grizzlies, who had trouble getting shots off as Gonzaga took a 74-58 lead. The Grizzlies shot just 37 percent in the second half.

Mark Spink added 13 points and Casey Calvary and Zach Gourde had 10 each for Gonzaga.

Matt Williams led Montana with 19 points and seven rebounds. Warhank had 17 and Buckmaster 13.

Gonzaga took control early in the game, making eight consecutive points for a 17-12 lead. Two free throws by Williams lifted Montana to a 23-22 lead with 8:51 left in the first half.

Gonzaga went on a 14-5 run, eight by Santangelo, for a 38-31 lead. Shane Christensen's steal and layup closed Montana to within 42-37 at halftime.

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