No. 22 Bulldogs Breeze By Monmouth, 79-54
Dec 29, 2001
By JIM O'CONNELL
WEST LONG BRANCH, N.J. - Gonzaga does the same things well on both sides of the country.
The 22nd-ranked Bulldogs played their usual aggressive defense, were dominant on the boards and relied on the leadership of Dan Dickau to beat Monmouth 79-54 Saturday night.
Gonzaga (11-2) was playing its first game in the Northeast since 1993, and the time change didn't rattle the Bulldogs at all as they won their eighth straight game.
Anthony Reason scored Gonzaga's first six points of the game, Dickau hit consecutive 3s and Reason scored on a rebound dunk as the Bulldogs went up 14-3 in the opening 4 1-2 minutes. They added a 7-0 run and were up 21-3 with 11:28 to play.
"We came out and were aggressive at both ends of the court which is what we're all about," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. "Anthony came out and got us going a little bit."
The Hawks (5-6) missed 10 of 11 shots and committed five turnovers in the opening run and were never closer than nine points as the Bulldogs went on to a 42-24 halftime lead. Dickau hit a 3-pointer to cap Gonzaga's 9-0 run to open the second half.
Dickau finished with 20 points and seven assists, while Reason had 10 points and 10 rebounds, the first double-double of the senior forward's career.
"We knew it was important to start well - always is," Reason said. "I was able to get to the offensive glass early and that made a difference."
Dwayne Byfield had 10 points for the Hawks, who have lost four of five and have lost their last two home games by an average of 26 points. Sacred Heart won here 96-69 on Dec. 16.
Rashaan Johnson, Monmouth's leading scorer at 18 points per game, was 1-for-9 from the field in the first half and finished 2-for-14 with six points.
"Rashaan has a couple of shots go in and out early and that could have been a big difference," Monmouth coach Dave Calloway said. "They were good and they were able to get the matchups they wanted."
One of those matchups was Reason, a small forward, against Johnson, a guard.
"He did a good job and they did a good job of keeping me from getting shots," Johnson said.
Gonzaga, which has won the West Coast Conference championship three of the last four years, added to its national-best rebounding differential of 13.6 per game by finishing with a 53-33 advantage on the boards.
Gonzaga is one of three programs to reach the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament each of the last three years - Duke and Michigan State are the others - but felt slighted by its seedings. The Bulldogs were a No. 12 last season, then beat Virginia and Indiana State before losing to Michigan State.
The Bulldogs' brief swing through the East - the last time they were in this part of the country was for a four-team tournament in Buffalo, N.Y., in 1993 - concludes Monday night at Saint Joseph's in Philadelphia.
The Bulldogs, who won their first-ever meeting with the Hawks last season, were the first nationally ranked team to visit Boylan Gym and drew a crowd of 2,500 - Monmouth's first sellout of the season.
"When I saw the local paper today and what a historical game this was for them with the ranked team and a sellout and all, I said, 'Uh, oh. What are we getting into?"' Few said. "I was really worried."
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