Bulldogs Home To Return To West Coast Conference Play

            SPOKANE, Wash. - Gonzaga University returns to West Coast Conference play this week after stepping outside the conference last New Year's Eve and gaining a 72-65 victory at Xavier University.

            Gonzaga will face Pepperdine University Thursday and Santa Clara University Saturday.

            The Bulldogs opened league play Dec. 28 with a 90-51 home rout over the University of Portland as the WCC opened played in December for the first time in its history.

            Sam Dower scored a season-high 20 points and had 10 rebounds in leading Gonzaga over Xavier University for perhaps the biggest win of the season for the Bulldogs. Xavier, ranked as high as eighth prior to a brawl against cross-town rival University of Cincinnati that left to several suspensions for both teams, was at full strength for the first time since the suspensions were handed down. The Zags were 8-of-19 from behind the 3-point arc - Xavier managed to make a mere 3-of-18 three's - and won the rebounding battle 44-31.

            Gonzaga enters Thursday's game with Pepperdine riding a season-high 6-game winning streak. The Bulldogs won five straight to open the season then suffered their only two losses to date in back-to-back games at the University of Illinois and home to Michigan State University.

            At the end of the 1993 season Gonzaga trailed Pepperdine 26-6 in their series dating back to 1965, but the Bulldogs enter Thursday's game with a 40-31 lead in the series following Gonzaga's sweep last season. As dominating as the Waves were from 1965-93, the Bulldogs have been as dominating since.

            The Bulldogs bring a 20-game winning streak against the Waves into Thursday's game, and Gonzaga has gone 34-5 in the last 15 seasons. Pepperdine's last win was 88-79 in Malibu, Calif., on Jan. 18, 2002. Gonzaga has won 14 straight in Spokane, last losing on its home court in 1998 when the Waves claimed a 65-64 victory. The 20-game winning streak is the Bulldogs longest current winning streak against a West Coast Conference team.



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