Bulldogs Try To Escape The Pit With A Win
Jan. 7, 2002
Gonzaga tries to claim a win at one of the toughest arenas to play in the country and extend its winning streak to 10 games Monday when it plays New Mexico at "The Pit" in Albuquerque.
The 18th-ranked Bulldogs (12-2) are 3-1 in true road contests this year, losing only at Illinois at the start of the season. They were successful in a two-game swing to the East Coast, winning games at Monmouth and St. Joseph's. After this game, Gonzaga will return home to Spokane, Wash., to begin defense of its West Coast Conference title.
Mark Few's team has been idle since an 83-80 victory at St. Joseph's on Dec. 31. Dan Dickau scored the Bulldogs' final nine points, including the game-winning 3-pointer with 3.6 seconds to play. Dickau finished with five 3-pointers and 25 points for Gonzaga, which appears primed to make a fourth consecutive NCAA tournament appearance.
"We feel we are as good as any team in the nation," said Bulldogs forward Cory Violette, who is averaging 11.1 points and a team-high 8.2 rebounds. "Coach Few is always saying life is too short not to play with a lot of confidence."
The Bulldogs are one of three teams to reach the "Sweet 16" in each of the last three NCAA tournaments, joining the Duke Blue Devils and Michigan State Spartans. Their current nine-game winning streak is their longest since last year's school-record 14-game run.
New Mexico (10-3) has an eight-game winning streak into this game and is in the seventh game of a 10-game homestand at "The Pit." The Lobos are 507-118 (.811) all-time there, including a 31-26 mark against ranked opponents.
The Lobos downed Northern Arizona 70-57 on Saturday behind 17 points from Ruben Douglas, who is averaging a team-high 15.9 points. New Mexico is averaging 76.5 points during its winning streak while holding opponents to 60.2 points per game.
Forward Jamaal Williams is averaging 8.8 points and 6.2 rebounds, ranking him first and second, respectively, among Mountain West Conference freshmen in those categories. He had 16 points and seven rebounds against the Lumberjacks.
"My confidence gets better every game because every game I come out and contribute more," said Williams, who hit 7 of 11 shots. "So the more I contribute, the more comfortable I feel out there."
New Mexico escaped with an 81-80 victory over Gonzaga last season at Spokane
Arena in Washington. Douglas hit a 10-footer with 4.4 seconds to play for
the winning points.
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