Bulldogs Open WCC Action On Road
Jan. 6, 2006
Game No. 14 - Saint Mary's Gaels
Sat., Jan. 7 - 8 p.m. PST
McKeon Pavilion - Moraga, CA
Radio: News Talk 1510 KGA (Spokane)
Pre-game show 30 minutes prior to tipoff
TV: ESPNU (Check local listings)
No. 8 GONZAGA UNIVERSITY BULLDOGS (10-3; 0-0 West Coast) G - 5 Derek Raivio, 6-3, 175, Jr., Vancouver, WA (12.9 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 2.8 assists, 1.1 steals) G - 4 Pierre Marie Altidor-Cespedes, 6-0, 181, So., Montreal, Quebec (3.8 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 2.2 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.3 blocks) C - 13 J.P. Batista, 6-9, 269, Sr., Olinda, Pernambuco, Brazil (19.7 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 1.5 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.7 blocks) F - 3 Adam Morrison, 6-8, 205, Jr., Spokane, WA (27.8 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 1.9 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.4 blocks) F - 32 Sean Mallon, 6-9, 218, Jr., Spokane, WA (6.6 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.0 assists, 0.3 blocks) HEAD COACH: Mark Few (University of Oregon, 1987) GONZAGA RECORD: 169-40 (7th year - 17th at GU) CAREER RECORD: Same
Mon., Jan. 9 - 9 p.m. PST
Leavey Center - Santa Clara, CA
Radio: News Talk 1510 KGA (Spokane)
TV: ESPN2 (Big Monday)
SANTA CLARA UNIVERSITY BRONCOS (7-5; 0-0 West Coast) G - 24 Calvin Johnson, 6-2, 200, Fr., Morton, TX (9.3 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.8 assists, 1.2 steals) G - 5 Brody Angley, 5-11, 185, So., Redding, CA (9.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 5.2 assists, 1.4 steals) C - 54 John Bryant, 6-10, 325, Fr., San Pablo, CA (7.1 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 0.4 assists, 2.1 steals, 0.8 blocks) F - 41 Travis Niesen, 6-7, 225, Sr., Mission Viejo, CA (20.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 1.3 assists, 0.3 steals, 0.8 blocks) F - 21 Mitch Henke, 6-7, 210, So., Minnetonka, MN (10.9 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.8 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.5 blocks) HEAD COACH: Dick Davey (Pacific, 1964) SCU RECORD: 224-169 (14th year) CAREER RECORD: Same GAMES PRIOR TO GONZAGA: 1/7 vs. Portland.
Gonzaga opens defense of its West Coast Conference title this week when the Bulldogs visit Saint Mary's on Saturday and Santa Clara University on Monday. The Bulldogs have won or shared seven of the last eight WCC regular-season crowns. The Bulldogs captured outright titles in 1998, '99, '01, '03, '04 and '05, and tied for the crown in '02. The only time since 1998 the Bulldogs have finished the season out of first was 2000 when Gonzaga went 11-3 and finished second.
Gonzaga went 14-0 in West Coast Conference play in 2004, the first team since Pepperdine in 1992 to run the regular-season table. The Bulldogs posted back-to-back 13-1 seasons in 2001-02.
Gonzaga has won nine straight West Coast Conference regular-season games. The Bulldogs lost 73-70 at San Francisco last season before running off nine straight to end the regular season.
After having its 17-game winning streak against Saint Mary's snapped with an 89-81 loss at McKeon Pavilion last season, Gonzaga brings a modest two-game winning streak against the Gaels into Saturday's contest. The Bulldogs took last season's regular-season re-match in Spokane 68-63 and then defeated the Gaels 80-67 in the West Coast Conference Tournament title game at Santa Clara. Gonzaga has won 25 of the last 28 meetings with Saint Mary's. The Gaels haven't won two straight against Gonzaga since sweeping the 1995 regular-season series.
Gonzaga and Saint Mary's have met in each of the last two West Coast Conference Tournament championship games. The Bulldogs won 84-71 in 2004 and 80-67 last season, both games at Santa Clara.
If games were played "on paper" then Gonzaga might have won the first meeting with Saint Mary's last season. In last year's meeting at McKeon Pavilion the Bulldogs had more field goals (28-26), more free throws (22-21) and more rebounds (35-24) than the Gaels. But the Gaels went on a rampage from 3-point range, connecting on 16-of-27 while Gonzaga was 3-for-11and that was the difference in SMC's 89-81 victory.
Saint Mary's hit 16 3-pointers in the McKeon Pavilion game with Gonzaga last season, the most treys against the Bulldogs since Washington State went 18-for-37 on Dec. 7, 2002, in Gonzaga's 110-104 overtime victory in Pullman. It was the most 3-pointers against Gonzaga in regulation since Santa Clara went 15-for-28 on March 5, 2001, in the title game of the West Coast Conference Tournament in San Diego, Calif., a game won by the Bulldogs 80-77. Saint Joseph's drilled a McCarthey Athletic Center record 15 treys (15-for-32) last Saturday for the most long-range bombs against the Bulldogs since Saint Mary's last season.
With a Feb. 11 non-conference home game remaining on the schedule when Stanford visits the McCarthey Athletic Center, Gonzaga has won 43 of its last 44 non-conference home games. The lone setback in that stretch was to Saint Joseph's on Dec. 31, 2002, in overtime as Jameer Nelson's layin with :08 left gave the Hawks a 79-78 victory. Gonzaga's current non-conference home winning streak stands at 17 since that setback to SJU. The visit by the Cardinal will be for ESPN's College Game Day presentation, a first for the Bulldogs.
J.P. Batista scored a career-high 32 points and equaled his career high with 15 rebounds in Gonzaga's win over Saint Joseph's on New Year's Eve for his seventh career double-double.
Once again Gonzaga has two players sitting atop individual categories according to the latest NCAA Division I statistics. Gonzaga's Adam Morrison sits atop the NCAA Division I scoring race through games of Monday with his 27.8 ppg. And Derek Raivio is the top free throw shooter at 93,9 percent.
Gonzaga junior Adam Morrison has been named the West Coast Conference Player of the Month for December after helping lead the Bulldogs to a No. 8 national ranking and seeing himself lead the NCAA in scoring. The 6-8 product of Spokane's Mead High averaged 28.3 ppg for the month in helping the Zags to a 6-2 record, the lone losses at then No. 18 Washington and at No. 4 Memphis. Morrison also added 5.9 rebounds per game to go along with 2.3 assists per game and 1.0 steals per game. He shot a solid 50 percent from the field (74-148), and knocked down 37.8 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc (14-37). Morrison, considered by many to be in a two-man race with Duke's J.J. Redick for national Player of the Year honors, started the month with a memorable performance versus in-state rival Washington, dropping in 43 points in a 99-95 setback. It was the second time this season he has scored 43 points, the other in a classic 109-triple-overtime win over Michigan State at the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational. His 43 points are the NCAA Division I single-game best this season. Against the Huskies Morrison connected on an astounding 18-of-29 (62.1 percent) shots from the field. Another memorable moment came against Oklahoma State at The Battle in Seattle at KeyArena, when Morrison poured in a game-high 25 points, including a three-pointer with just 2.5 seconds remaining in regulation to lift the Zags to a 64-62 win.
Gonzaga has trailed in the second half in each of its last five victories - Oklahoma State in The Battle in Seattle, Virginia at home, Eastern Washington in the Spokane Arena, at Saint Louis and Saint Joseph's.
Derek Raivio missed his first free throw of the game Dec. 17 against Virginia, snapping his consecutive made streak at 28, including a perfect 20-for-20 this season prior to the miss. He's 31-for-33 for 93.9 percent this season. He tied the school record a year ago with 41 consecutive free throws. Raivio is a career 90.5 percent free throw shooter, connecting on 143-of-158 attempts, to sit atop the Gonzaga career percentage chart.
Gonzaga has taken over the NCAA Division I lead for home-court winning streak after last Saturday's win over Saint Joseph's gave the Bulldogs their 30th straight home victory. Gonzaga took over the top spot when Washington had its 32-game streak snapped against Washington last Saturday. The 30-game streak is the second-longest in school history. The longest streak in Gonzaga history is 34 games from Dec. 1, 1992-Jan. 3, 1995, which was the second-longest streak in the country at the time. Gonzaga also had a 29-game streak Feb. 19, 2000-Dec. 20, 2002 that Saint Joseph's ended on Dec. 31, 2002. Illinois will try to match the Bulldogs with 29 straight home victories Friday when they host Tennessee-Martin.
Gonzaga got back into the free throw groove with a 21-for-26 night at Memphis and followed that with a 31-for-43 effort New Year's Eve against Saint Joseph's. The Bulldogs led the NCAA Division I ranks in free throw percentage earlier this season, fell to fifth after a two-game stretch where they hit just 29-of-41 attempts and have now jumped back to second at 80.0 percent (252-for-315). Saint Joseph's leads the country at 80.8 percent.
Some players are starting to enter - or close to cracking - the Gonzaga career charts. Derek Raivio's 125 career 3-point field goals and his 282 attempts are both ninth. Adam Morrison's 489 career field goals have surpassed Doug Spradley (462) for 10th, and his 246 free throws are within striking distance of the Top 10 and Casey Calvary's 289 career makes. Raivio is approaching the Top 10 for assists, his 211 just 73 shy of Jeff Condill and 10th.
Junior Adam Morrison went 12-for-12 from the free throw line against Memphis, marking the 16th time a Bulldog has gone at least 10-for-10 from the line in a game. J.P. Batista also accomplished the feat this season when he went 10-for-10 against Michigan State in the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational. Frank Burgess (March 3, 1961 against Idaho) and Geoff Goss (Jan. 6, 1993, against Idaho State) each went 15-for-15 for the most makes among those who have been perfect from the line in a game. Morrison followed his 12-for-12 against Memphis with a 13-for-14 afternoon against Saint Joseph's.
Gonzaga has not lost back-to-back games since the 2002-03 season when the Bulldogs lost Dec. 28, 2002, against Stanford 81-71 in the Pete Newell Challenge in Oakland, Calif., and Dec. 31, 2002, at home to Saint Joseph's 79-78 in overtime. Gonzaga has played 94 games since that Saint Joseph's loss without losing back-to-back games.
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