Zags Down Eastern Washington For 22nd Straight Time
Dec. 28, 2009
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Freshman Elias Harris scored 22 points as Gonzaga pounded Eastern Washington 94-52 on Monday, rebounding from a 35-point loss to No. 7 Duke that was their worst since 1990.
Four other players scored in double figures for Gonzaga (9-3), which fell out of the Top 25 this week despite not playing a game. They lost to Duke 76-41 on Dec. 19 at Madison Square Garden.
Eastern Washington (4-10) has lost 22 straight to its Spokane County neighbor, dating to 1990 and 30 of the last 31. It was the most lop-sided GU victory in the series since Dec. 11, 1993, when the Zags posted a 99-54 home win. The Eagles, who haven't won in the series since Jan. 8, 1990, have had trouble scoring during a five-game losing streak, all on the road.
Glen Dean led the Eagles with 13 points. They shot just 28 percent in the game and were outrebounded 56-35.
This game was close for the first five minutes. The Zags broke away, scoring 13 unanswered points for a 21-8 lead with 11:46 left, and poured it on as the Eagles buried themselves with turnovers.
Gonzaga head coach Mark Few was pleased with the effort of his team.
"Very happy. Obviously we had a bad taste in our mouth over Christmas. To be able to get back, compete again and just play I think was very important. We came out and competed at a high level. There weren't any things we did poorly. I think we did everything well with the exception of maybe at the free throw line," Few said of dominating the game. The Bulldogs were 15-for-29 from the free throw line for just 51.7 percent.
After scoring just 41 against Duke, the Zags led 53-25 at halftime. They made 59 percent of their shots, including 7-of-12 3-pointers, in the first half. Eastern Washington made just 30 percent and committed 16 turnovers in the first half.
It was more of the same in the second half, as Gonzaga held a 75-36 lead with 10 minutes left despite mostly playing its reserves.
Harris made 9-of-11 shots and added seven rebounds.
Matt Bouldin, Gonzaga's leading scorer at 15 points per game, still seemed a little off since accidentally butting heads with a player for Augustana, Ill., on Dec. 9. Bouldin sat out the win over Davidson and scored just four points against Duke. He scored 11 points on 4-of-9 shooting and picked up four fouls in this game.
Few said Bouldin's game seems back.
"He's been back playing. He's got enough practices under him. It was tough to sit that amount of time and get thrown into such a high-level game back there in New York," Few noted. "He's back. He's got his legs back under him and I think he's comfortable again with how fast the game is going and I thought he played well tonight."
The Zags are 67-4 in the McCarthey Athletic Center since it opened in 2004, including a loss to Wake Forest this season.
The Bulldogs had five players in double figures after not having anybody hit double-digits against Duke.
"I thought we got great efforts out of a lot of people. Elias was great and I loved his energy on the boards. He was dialed in from the start. Manny (Arop) gave us a lot of minutes. They tried to play off Meech (Demetri Goodson) and not guard him and I thought he gave us some really good minutes. He kept the ball moving and attacked when he needed to and we ended up having one of our better offensive performances because of that," Few said.
Gonzaga hosts Oklahoma on New Year's Eve at 7 p.m. in the Spokane Arena, then plays Illinois at the United Center in Chicago on Saturday.
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