Bulldogs Open WCC Play
Jan. 4, 2005
Game No. 13 - Santa Clara
Thurs., Jan. 6 - 8 p.m. PST
Leavey Center - Santa Clara, CA
Radio: News Talk 1510 KGA (Spokane)
Pre-game show 30 minutes prior to tipoff
No. 11 GONZAGA UNIVERSITY BULLDOGS (10-2; 0-0 West Coast Conference) G - 5 Derek Raivio, 6-3, 168, So., Vancouver, WA (11.0 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 5.6 assists, 1.9 steals) G - 22 Erroll Knight, 6-7, 211, Jr., Seattle, WA (7.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.4 assists, 0.5 steals) C - 1 Ronny Turiaf, 6-10, 249, Sr., Le Robert, Martinique (19.0 ppg, 9.1 rpg, 1.6 assists, 1.3 blocks) F - 3 Adam Morrison, 6-8, 205, So., Spokane, WA (19.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 2.7 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.3 blocks) F - 32 Sean Mallon, 6-9, 218, So., Spokane, WA (10.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.2 assists, 0.3 steals, 0.6 blocks) HEAD COACH: Mark Few (University of Oregon, 1987) GONZAGA RECORD: 143-34 (6th year - 16th at GU) CAREER RECORD: Same
Sat., Jan. 8 - 7 p.m. PST
McKeon Pavilion - Moraga, CA
Radio: News Talk 1510 KGA (Spokane)
Pre-game show 30 minutes prior to tipoff
SAINT MARY'S COLLEGE GAELS (11-4; 0-0 West Coast Conference) G - 2 E.J. Rowland, 6-2, 190, Sr., Salinas, CA (11.1 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 3.8 assists, 1.3 steals) G - 21 Jason Walberg, 6-4, 190, Jr., Fresno, CA (5.8 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 0.9 assists, 0.9 steals) F - 14 Daniel Kickert, 6-10, 240, Jr., Melbourne, Australia (14.3 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 1.3 assists, 0.9 blocks) F - 32 Jonathan Sanders, 6-7, 215, Sr., Denver, CO (9.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.9 assists, 0.3 steals, 0.7 blocks) F - 11 Paul Marigney, 6-3, 195, Sr., Oakland, CA (11.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 1.7 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.7 blocks) HEAD COACH: Randy Bennett (UC San Diego, 1986) SMC RECORD: 54-51 (4th year) CAREER RECORD: Same GAMES PRIOR TO GONZAGA: 1/4 vs. Brigham Young.
Gonzaga opens defense of its West Coast Conference regular-season and WCC Tournament titles this week when the Bulldogs hit the road for games Thursday at Santa Clara University and Saturday at Saint Mary's College. Gonzaga has won or shared seven of the last nine regular-season crowns, and has captured five of the last six WCC Tournament titles. The Bulldogs have made six straight NCAA Tournament appearances.
Gonzaga became the first team since the 1992 Pepperdine squad to run the table in West Coast Conference play a year ago, going 14-0 in capturing its fourth straight regular-season crown. The previous best WCC regular-season record for the Bulldogs was 13-1 in both 2001 and 2002. The 2002 team tied with Pepperdine for the title after the teams split the regular-season series, the Waves winning the coin toss for the No. 1 seed into the WCC Tournament.
It wasn't "unanimous" like last year, but Gonzaga is once again the pre-season choice of the West Coast Conference coaches to claim the regular-season crown. The Bulldogs received five first-place votes and 60 points to edge Saint Mary's with three first-place nods and 56 points. Last season the Bulldogs received seven first-place votes. Pepperdine was picked third with 51 points, followed by Santa Clara, San Francisco, San Diego, Loyola Marymount and Portland.
Gonzaga University junior forward J.P. Batista and University of San Diego forward Corey Belser have been named West Coast Conference men's basketball Co-Players of the Week. Batista scored a career-high 18 points in the Bulldogs win over third-ranked and previously undefeated Oklahoma State University, then recorded his first career double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds in the Bulldogs 63-61 near-miss at the University of Missouri. For the week he averaged 17.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg and hit 72.2 percent of his shots on 16-for-22 from the field. For his effort against OSU he was named the MVP of the Bill Russell Game of the Touchstone Energy All-College Classic played at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City, Okla.
This week's polls showed Gonzaga making yet another move in both of the major polls. The Bulldogs moved up one more notch to 11th in the Associated Press rankings, and jumped four spots in the USA Today/ESPN ranking to 17th.
The Top 10 teams in both the Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN Top 25 polls this week have a combined eight losses - and Gonzaga is responsible for two of them. Oklahoma State is 9-1 overall and ranked 7th in AP and 6th in USA Today/ESPN, while 9-2 Georgia Tech is 9th in AP and 10th in USA Today/ESPN. Gonzaga downed Georgia Tech 85-73 in the Las Vegas Showdown and OSU 78-75 in the Touchstone Energy All-College Classic in Oklahoma City, Okla. Both OSU and GT were ranked third and undefeated at the time they lost to GU. Not to be forgotten is the fact cross-state rival Washington is 12-1 and ranked 12th by AP and 14th by USA Today/ESPN and the Huskies lone loss is to - you guessed it - Gonzaga. The Bulldogs took a 99-87 win Dec. 1 in the Battle of the Dogs in Spokane.
Senior Ronny Turiaf has not grabbed fewer than five rebounds in any game this season and has four double-digit rebounding nights to his credit including a career-high 14 against Massachusetts.
Adam Morrison has been hot from the field of late. He's 32-for-53 from the field over the last four games for 60.4 percent. For the season he's connected on 89-for-173 for 51.4 percent. He's just 12-for-42 from 3-point range for 28.6 percent, which means he's 77-for-131 from inside the 3-point arc for 58.9 percent.
True freshman Pierre Marie Altidor-Cespedes had just 17 assists through the first seven games this season, including a season-high 6 against Idaho. But in his last five games spanning 70 minutes he's dished out 17 assists. His assist-to-turnover ratio is a team-high 2.83 among the regulars, meaning for every 2.83 assists he commits just one turnover. Derek Raivio is second at 2.68 assists/turnovers.
Derek Raivio is gaining more and more confidence in his game. He inherited the point-guard reigns from two-time West Coast Conference Player of the Year Blake Stepp. Raivio is averaging 5.58 assists/game. Over the past six games he's had 22 assists and eight turnovers for a 2.75 assist/turnover ratio.
J.P. Batista has also been on a shooting tear lately for Gonzaga. In his last five games he's 23-for-32 from the field for 71.9 percent. In his last two games he's 16-for-22 for 72.7 percent. His breakout game was against Oklahoma State when he hit his first eight shots and finished 8-for-9 with a career-high 18 points in the upset of the No. 3 Cowboys. He came back to go 8-for-13 with 17 points in the 63-61 setback at Missouri,
Erroll Knight, who missed the first five games of the season with a sprained right thumb, has started the last five games for the Bulldogs. In those five starts he's 17-for-33 from the field for 51.5 percent and is averaging 8.6 ppg.
Three Gonzaga players are ranked in the latest NCAA statistics through games of Monday. Adam Morrison is 32nd in scoring at 19.2 ppg, Ronny Turiaf is 36th in rebounding at 9.1 rpg and Derek Raivio is 36th in assists with 5.6 assists/game.
As a team Gonzaga is shooting 50.8 percent from the field to rank 14th in the latest NCAA statistics through games of Monday. The Bulldogs are also turning the ball over just 12.2 times/game to rank 10th in fewest miscues per game. Gonzaga's free throw percentage of 74.4 percent ranks 23rd.
Although Gonzaga's depth has been challenged this season with the early-season injury to Erroll Knight and the season-ending knee injury to Nathan Doudney, the Bulldogs still go eight deep. Eight currently active players are averaging double-digit minutes, paced by the 35.4 minutes/game of Adam Morrison, the 35.2 by Derek Raivio and the 31.4 by Ronny Turiaf. Erroll Knight (24.4), Sean Mallon (24.0), J.P. Batista (21.6), Pierre Marie Altidor-Cespedes (18.0) and David Pendergraft (10.0) also average double-digit minutes. Doudney was averaging 19.9 minutes/game when his season ended.
Gonzaga is 71-13 when ranked, including 8-2 this season. The Bulldogs are 29-0 at home when ranked, 27-4 away and 15-9 on a neutral court.
Gonzaga junior guard Nathan Doudney will be sidelined for the remainder of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. He was injured early in the second half of the Dec. 7 game at WSU.
BULLDOGS VS. BRONCOS: Gonzaga University returns to the site of last year's West Coast Conference Tournament to open defense of its WCC regular-season and tournament crowns at the Leavey Center on the Santa Clara University campus. The Bulldogs captured a hard-fought 63-61 WCC Tournament semifinal victory over the Broncos last March, Ronny Turiaf's tip-in with 5.1 seconds remaining providing the margin of victory. Gonzaga downed Saint Mary's College the following night to earn the title. The Bulldogs have won eight straight against the Broncos and lead the all-time series 30-29. Gonzaga has won four straight against SCU at the Leavey Center, the last loss at SCU coming during the 2001 season in the first year of the newly-renovated Leavey Center from what was known as Toso Pavilion.
WHAT SOPHOMORE JINX? Don't try to tell Gonzaga University's sophomore trio of Adam Morrison, Sean Mallon and Derek Raivio there's supposed to be a sophomore jinx. The trio is averaging 31.6 minutes/game, 13.6 ppg, 4.8 rpg and 3.1 assists/game. They are shooting a combined 50.1 percent from the field (174-347), 42.6 percent from 3-point range (43-for-101) and 76.2 percent from the free throw line (99-for-130).
YOU CAN CALL ME:There has been much debate on television, on the radio and in the print media this season over the pronunciation of Gonzaga University sophomore Derek Raivio's last name. While the sophomore from Vancouver, Wash., insists he doesn't care, the correct pronunciation is rye-VEE-oh. All of last season and through the early part of this season everyone has gone with rav-EE-oh.
HOME, SWEET HOME: Gonzaga University has a modest 17-game home winning streak that ranks tied for sixth with Southern Illinois University in the NCAA Division I ranks through games of Tuesday. Wisconsin leads the way with a 36-game streak, followed by Oklahoma State University and Western Michigan University at 22.
BATTLE OF THE BOARDS: After losing the battle of the boards in back-to-back games for the first time this season, Gonzaga University came back to out rebound the University of Missouri 43-33 last Friday in the 63-61 setback. It was just the fifth time in the last three seasons the Bulldogs have won the battle of the boards but lost the game - University of Illinois earlier this year (+14 in an 89-72 loss), Saint Joseph's University last year (+15 in a 73-66 loss), the University of Wyoming in 2003 (+2 in a 74-66 loss) and Illinois in the 2003 season opener (+10 in a 76-58 loss). Gonzaga has out-rebounded nine opponents this season and drew even with the University of Montana at 35 rebounds each.
THREE BALL: Gonzaga University has extended its streak of consecutive games with a 3-pointer to 373. The last time the Bulldogs failed to hit a trey was Jan. 27, 1993, when the Bulldogs went 0-for-5 at home against Portland.
ON A ROLL: Since starting the 2003 season 8-5, Gonzaga University is 54-9. Gonzaga put together a 9-game winning streak and went 16-4 down the stretch following that 8-5 start, last year's club went 28-3 and this year's team is off to a 10-2 start.
TOUGH SCHEDULE: Oklahoma State University was the third Top 5 team and the fourth Top 25 team Gonzaga University has played this season. The Bulldogs played current No. 1 University of Illinois when they were ranked fifth, then No. 14 University of Washington and then No. 3 Georgia Tech. Gonzaga is 3-1 against Top 25 teams this season, the lone loss to Illinois.
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