Bulldogs Lose Overtime Heartbreaker To Hawks

Dec 31, 2002

Box Score

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Jameer Nelson scored a career-high 34 points, including the game-winner with eight seconds remaining in overtime, as Saint Joseph's snapped Gonzaga's 29-game home winning streak 79-78 on Tuesday night in front of a sellout crowd of 4,000 in The Kennel.

Held to just 10 points in the first half, Nelson opened the second half with four points in the first minute of play. The junior All-Atlantic-10 Conference guard missed a three-point shot at the end of regulation.

The Hawks (8-1) bounced back from their first loss - Saturday in Stockton, Calif., against Pacific.

Gonzaga (8-5) ended Saint Joseph's 14-game home winning streak in Philadelphia one year ago - also on New Year's Eve - when Dan Dickau nailed a 3-pointer from the right corner with 4.0 seconds to play.

Cory Violette scored 19 points and grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds to lead the Bulldogs. The junior from Boise, Idaho, tied the game with 37.4 seconds remaining in regulation to force the extra period. His double-double was his fourth of the season and the 14th of his career.

Richard Fox gave the Bulldogs a 78-77 lead with a layup with :20 remaining in overtime. The Hawks came down, and Nelson drove the right lane from the top of the circle for a twisting layin. The Bulldogs had one final chance for the victory, Fox getting the ball near the left side of the free throw line and putting up a shot that drew iron but failed to fall. Blake Stepp had tried to come off a screen for a shot, but the Hawks defense picked him up and he threw the pass to Fox.

Gonzaga had battled from a 69-59 deficit with 5:10 remaining to draw even at 69. Kyle Bankhead began the rally with a trey from the left corner, Ronny Turiaf got a dunk following a Stepp steal and Stepp hit a 3-pointer to pull the Bulldogs to within 69-67 with 4:01 to go. Turiaf's two free throws with 2:57 remaining drew the Bulldogs even.



Nelson's 3-pointer gave SJU a 72-69 lead, Stepp made 1-of-2 from the line and Violette, who struggled with an 11-for-17 night from the line, hit two pressure free throws with 37 ticks left for the tie.

After a Gonzaga timeout, Nelson came down and took a 3-pointer with :08 to go, but Violette grabbed the rebound and the game went into overtime as the Bulldogs didn't have enough time to push the ball up court for a shot.

In the extra session Stepp's 3-pointer just 25 seconds into OT gave Gonzaga the lead. Fox made 1-of-2 free throws fop a 76-73 lead with 3:54 remaining, but Gonzaga missed three shots and had a pair of turnovers in its next two possessions.

Back-to-back layins by Nelson put SJU ahead 77-76 before the hectic final 20 seconds.

The last time the Bulldogs lost a home contest was Feb. 17, 2000, when San Diego took an 82-70 victory. The Bulldogs began their winning streak two days later with a 93-66 win over Saint Mary's. The last non-conference home loss for the Bulldogs was Dec. 14, 1996, in a 67-63 overtime loss to Montana.

Gonzaga will get its final tune-up prior to entering West Coast Conference play Thursday when the Bulldogs travel to Portland to meet Portland State in a 7 p.m. contest at Memorial Coliseum. Gonzaga begins WCC play Jan. 9 when Loyola Marymount comes to town, followed by a Jan. 12 invasion by Pepperdine.

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