Bulldogs, Gaels Bring Ranking, Undefeated WCC Slate To Showdown

Jan. 28, 2009

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Men's Basketball Game Facts
Game No. 19 - Saint Mary's College
Thursday, January 29 - 8 p.m. PST
McCarthey Athletic Center - Spokane, WA
Radio: News Talk 1510 KGA (Spokane);
101.1 FM Rock `N' Roll's Greatest Hits (Spokane)
Pre-game show 30 minutes prior to tipoff
No. 20/25 GONZAGA UNIVERSITY BULLDOGS (14-4; 5-0 West Coast)
G -   2 Jeremy Pargo, 6-2, 220, Sr., Chicago, IL
       (9.2 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 6.0 assists, 1.2 steals)
G - 15 Matt Bouldin, 6-5, 224, Jr., Highlands Ranch, CO
       (13.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.2 assists, 1.6 steals)
G - 32 Steven Gray, 6-5, 208, So., Bainbridge, WA
       (10.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.6 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.4 blocks)
C -  42 Josh Heytvelt, 6-11, 260, Sr., Clarkston, WA
       (14.7 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 0.6 assists, 0.4 steals, 1.1 blocks)
F -   5 Austin Daye, 6-11, 200, So., Irvine, CA
       (13.8 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.1 assists, 0.9 steals, 2.2 blocks)
HEAD COACH:  Mark Few (University of Oregon, 1987)
GONZAGA RECORD:  250-64 (10th year - 20th at GU)  CAREER RECORD:  Same

No. 25/18 SAINT MARY'S COLLEGE GAELS (18-1; 5-0 West Coast) G - 3 Carlin Hughes, 6-2, 185, Sr., Perth Australia (8.6 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 3.4 assists, 1.2 steals) G - 13 Patrick Mills, 6-0, 175, So., Canberra, Australia (18.7 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 4.0 assists, 2.5 steals) C - 50 Omar Samhan, 6-11, 265, Jr., San Ramon, CA (13.9 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 1.7 assists, 0.5 steals, 2.2 blocks) F - 4 Ian O'Leary, 6-7, 220, Sr., Woodland, CA (6.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.1 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.4 blocks) F - 20 Diamon Simpson, 6-7, 230, Sr., Hayward, CA (12.8 ppg, 10.9 rpg, 0.8 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.9 blocks) HEAD COACH: Randy Bennett (UC San Diego, 1986) SMC RECORD: 145-91 (8th year) CAREER RECORD: Same GAMES PRIOR TO GONZAGA: None.

Game No. 20 - University of San Diego
Saturday, January 31 - 3 p.m. PST
McCarthey Athletic Center - Spokane, WA
Radio: News Talk 1510 KGA (Spokane);
101.1 FM Rock `N' Roll's Greatest Hits (Spokane)
Pre-game show 30 minutes prior to tipoff
G -   11 Trumaine Johnson, 6-2, 190, So., Houston, TX
       (12.9 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 3.0 assists, 1.6 steals, 0.4 blocks)
G -  20 Matt Dorr, 6-4, 196, So., Spokane, WA
      (6.4 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 2.3 assists, 0.6 steals)
G -  23 De'Jon Jackson, 6-2, 200, Jr., Fresno, CA
      (7.1 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.7 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.3 blocks)
C -   21 Gyno Pomare, 6-8, 240, Sr., Oceanside, CA
      (14.3 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.2 assists, 1.2 steals, 1.2 blocks)
F -    22 Rob Jones, 6-6, 230, So., San Francisco, CA
       (10.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.9 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.8 blocks)
HEAD COACH:  Bill Grier (Oregon, 1990)
USD RECORD:  34-22 (2nd year)  CAREER RECORD:  Same
GAMES PRIOR TO GONZAGA:  1/29 at Portland.
NOTE: Ranking is Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN.

The much-anticipated matchup is here, and both clubs held serve in setting up "Thursday Night Showdown" on ESPN2 between the only remaining undefeated teams in West Coast Conference play as Gonzaga University hosts Saint Mary's College at 8 p.m. Gonzaga did its part by running its overall record to 14-4 with a sweep over Pepperdine University and Loyola Marymount University on the road, while the Gaels went into San Diego and handed the University of San Diego its first setback in five WCC meetings in SMC's only game of the week last Thursday. USD visits Gonzaga Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m.

It's a big week of West Coast Conference basketball in the Pacific Northwest. While Gonzaga University tries to remain undefeated by hosting Saint Mary's College and the University of San Diego, those two schools also visit 4-1 University of Portland this weekend, the Pilots lone loss coming to the Bulldogs in the WCC opener in Spokane. Gonzaga can go a long way toward opening the gap on the rest of the conference over the next week as the Bulldogs visit Portland next Thursday prior to hosting the University of Memphis Feb. 7 for College Game Day on ESPN.

It took 55 years, 60 days for the first West Coast Conference game involving nationally-ranked West Coast Conference teams since the inception of the league Jan. 2, 1953. It will be just 334 days until the second such meeting. Last year Gonzaga University was ranked 24th by Associated Press and Saint Mary's College was ranked 25th by AP and 23rd by USA Today/ESPN when the two met at the McCarthey Athletic Center on March 1, 2008. The Bulldogs prevailed 88-76. Thursday the Bulldogs come in ranked 20th by AP and 25th by USA Today/ESPN while the Gaels enter the contest 25th in the AP balloting and 18th in the voting of the coaches. Gonzaga returned to the USA Today/ESPN Top 25 this week after a three-week absence, while SMC made its season debut in the AP poll this week. Prior to last year's GU-SMC meeting, the last time the Bulldogs had faced a ranked WCC opponents was Jan. 27, 1990, when Gonzaga met Loyola Marymount University featuring Bo Kimble and the late Hank Gathers, the Lions taking a 99-88 verdict in the old Kennel on the Gonzaga campus.

Gonzaga University head coach Mark Few achieved his 250th win last Saturday. Few, third-fastest coach in NCAA history to 200 wins in his 247h game, reached win No. 250 in his 314th career game as head coach. He is 250-64 entering Thursday's game.

Matt Bouldin hit five 3-pointers and scored 18 points to lead Gonzaga University to a 93-60 rout of Loyola Marymount last Saturday as the Bulldogs completed their Los Angeles swing with a sweep. The Bulldogs hit 12 3-pointers in winning their sixth straight game. A big part of the rout was their balanced scoring, with four Gonzaga players in double figures. Austin Daye had 14 points and grabbed a team-high 10 rebounds for Gonzaga. Steven Gray added 14 points and made four 3's and senior forward Josh Heytvelt finished with 15 points, six rebounds and four blocks. Micah Downs added 10 points and six rebounds off the bench. Freshman Kevin Young had 21 points and 12 rebounds for the Lions, who trailed 43-17 at halftime. Gonzaga dominated last-place LMU which was held to 26 percent shooting while the Bulldogs shot nearly 52 percent. Gonzaga also used its height advantage to control the glass with a 52-33 rebounding advantage. The Bulldogs led by as many as 38 points and never looked back after an 11-0 run early in the first half.

Gonzaga University finds itself back in both major polls this week, the Bulldogs moving up to 20th in the Associated Press Top 25 and re-entering the USA Today/ESPN voting of coaches at No. 25 after a three-week absence. Gonzaga was the only team to crack the USA Today/ESPN poll, replacing Baylor which fell out after being ranked 23rd last week. The Bulldogs have been as high as fourth in both polls this season.

The 12 treys by Gonzaga University at Loyola Marymount University last Saturday were a season high, the sixth double-digit 3-point output of the season. The Bulldogs hit 11 from beyond the arc against the University of Tennessee in the first meeting with the Volunteers in the title game of the Old Spice Classic and at home against Texas Southern University. The school - and West Coast Conference - record is 22 at home against the University of San Francisco Feb. 23, 1995.

Two more players should join the Gonzaga University 1,000-point club before the season is over. Junior Matt Bouldin has 941 points entering this Thursday's game and is averaging 11.2 ppg in his career. Senior Josh Heytvelt has 930 points and is averaging 11.8 ppg. At their current pace, both would be on target to hit the milestone when the Bulldogs host Loyola Marymount University Feb. 19 and Pepperdine University Feb. 21.

There's no place like home, and the McCarthey Athletic Center has become quite the home for the Bulldogs since it opened for the 2004-05 season. Gonzaga is 58-3 in the new facility, winning its first 38 games in the McCarthey Athletic Center. Santa Clara University halted the streak with an 84-73 victory Feb. 12, 2007. That loss also snapped a 50-game home winning streak for the Bulldogs, at the time the longest streak in the nation, as Gonzaga left the old Kennel with 12 straight home victories. Gonzaga's other losses were last season to Washington State University and this year's setback to Portland State University.

Head coach Mark Few picked up his 250th career victory Jan. 24, 2009, at Loyola Marymount University as he closes in on moving into second on the all-time Gonzaga University victories list. Few (250-64) is third on the all-time Gonzaga victories chart behind Hank Anderson (290-275 in 21 seasons) and Dan Fitzgerald (252-171 in 15 seasons). Few is the active winningest coach in West Coast Conference games at 118-13, moving ahead of Fitzgerald (112-88) on the all-time wins list. Carroll Williams, Santa Clara University (165-137) and Dick Davey, SCU (122-88) hold the top two spots.

Gonzaga University senior Jeremy Pargo is on the 2009 John R. Wooden Award Pre-Season Top 50 list, and he and teammate Josh Heytvelt have been named to the Naismith Trophy watch list as well. Pargo is eligible for the John R. Wooden All-American Team and Player of the Year Trophy, and he and Heytvelt are also in line for the Naismith Trophy as present by the Atlanta Tip-Off Club. Pargo, a native of Chicago, Ill., was also nominated for the Wooden Award a year ago, while Heytvelt was also a Naismith candidate last season. Pargo becomes the eighth Bulldog selected as a Wooden candidate. Adam Morrison was a 2006 John R. Wooden Top Five All-America selection, Dan Dickau was so honored in 2002 as Gonzaga's inaugural Wooden Award Top Five honoree, and Blake Stepp (2004) and Casey Calvary (2001) were named Wooden Award Top 10 All-Americans. Heytvelt, who hails from nearby Clarkston, Wash., becomes Gonzaga's first two-time Naismith nominee. Adam Morrison is the only other Bulldog to be nominated for the award in 2006. "Both players are very deserving of these nominations," Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said. "They have worked hard on and off the court to elevate their games to the national stage. They are as good as any player in the country at their respective positions."

Gonzaga University head coach Mark Few added two players to the Bulldog fold to letters-of-intent. Sam Dower, a 6-9, 220-pound left-handed senior center/forward from Osseo, Minn., High School and 6-5, 185-pound wing Mangisto "Manny" Arop will join GU next season. Dower averaged 22 ppg and 10 rpg per game in the month of July and 18 ppg and 9 rpg for this past AAU season, according to head coach Marquise Watts of Net Gain Sports, Dower's AAU club. Net Gain Sports won the Twin Cities Summer Classic, won the adidas 64 Gold Division in Las Vegas and went 3-2 in round-robin play in the Duel in the Desert in Phoenix, according to Watts. "He can score for a big guy. He's a lefty so that makes it harder to defend because most people aren't used to seeing a lefthander," Few said. "He can make a difference and is a unique post player. He had a good spring and a great summer." Watts said Dower has worked hard to improve his game. "Every day over the last two years he's gotten better. I don't think he's begun to scratch the surface. His inside-outside game, he can shoot the three and on the block he's a lefty with a great hook shot," Watts said. "He's athletic, he's working on putting on weight and he will fit in real well at Gonzaga." Dower didn't make the varsity team at Osseo until midway through his sophomore year. He averaged 2.5 ppg and 1.6 rpg then blossomed last season to average 13.4 ppg and 5.9 rpg. Last season he scored in double figures 23 times and had double-digit rebounds six times. The Orioles went 28-1, their lone setback 60-59 in the Region finals. He scored a career-high 23 points at Coon Rapids and grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds at Orono. He had several scholarship offers, among them the University of Minnesota, Marquette University and the University of Iowa. Arop, born in the Sudan, currently lives in Hamilton, Ontario, where he plays with Basketball Canada's National Elite Development Academy (NEDA) which is basically Canada's Junior National Team. His first name is pronounced Man-GEESE-toe, his last name pronounced "rop" (the "a" is silent) but he goes simply by Manny. He recently set a single-game scoring NEDA scoring record with 42 points, and this past summer played for Canada in the FIBA Americas Championship in Formosa, Argentina. He averaged 17.0 ppg to rank second, 10.2 rpg to rank third, shot 52.8 percent from the field on 23-for-58 and 87.5 percent from the line on 14-of-15 in the five tournament games as Canada placed fifth. He had 21 points and 9 rebounds against the U.S. in the tourney. "Manny is a high energy player with a great competitive streak," Few said. "His skill level is something to be excited about. He has a great opportunity to be effective for us at both ends of the court." His mother and four brothers left Sudan when he was 9-years-old and lived in Kenya prior to re-locating to Regina, Saskatchewan. Arop then spent a year in Edmonton, Alberta, before joining Basketball Canada's NEDA program, which is a year-round junior development camp.

Gonzaga University head coach Mark Few and wife Marcy gave birth to son Colt Walker Norman Few on New Year's Day, the couple's fourth child joining Austin James (A.J.), Joe and Julia.

Gonzaga leads the overall series with Saint Mary's 46-23 and the Bulldogs have won the last 13 meetings in Spokane. The last time the Gaels won at Gonzaga was 68-63 Jan. 21, 1995. SMC also won the return meeting in Moraga the following week for the last time the Gaels have posted back-to-back wins in the series. The Zags have won 29 of the last 34 meetings since those back-to-back setbacks, all five loses in Moraga.

Senior walk-on Andrew Sorenson is no more. No, he's still on the team. But the walk-on status was removed in the post-game speeches Jan. 17 following Gonzaga University's win over the University of San Francisco when he was put on scholarship. Assistant coach Tommy Lloyd, who runs Gonzaga's tryout program, got the honors from head coach Mark Few. "He deserves it," Lloyd said. "He works hard in practice, is a great team guy and is probably the fan favorite. We still had a scholarship to use, so we talked it over as a staff and decided Andrew should get it this semester." Sorenson, from Olympia, Wash., tried out in 2004-05 but did not make the team, then tried out again the following year and was give a spot on the roster.

Gonzaga University sophomore Robert Sacre continues to recover from a broken right foot suffered Dec. 5 in practice, the same foot he had a pin inserted in earlier this fall to help heal a non-displaced stress fracture. The newest fracture is in front of the previous stress fracture. Recent x-rays indicate the latest fracture is healing. He will undergo frequent x-rays to chart the healing progress. The Vancouver, British Columbia, native will be sidelined at least two more weeks.

Twice this season Gonzaga University has held opponents to less than 30.0 percent from the field, including last Saturday when Loyola Marymount University went 16-for-64 from the field for 25.0 percent. The University of Idaho hit 29.8 percent on 14-of-47 in the second game of the season. The defensive effort against the Lions was the best for the Bulldogs since Jan. 4, 2001, when the Bulldogs held Northwest College of Kirkland, Wash., to 24.6 percent on 14-of-57. The last time the Bulldogs were as good defensively against a NCAA Division I school was Nov. 26, 2000, at home against Eastern Washington University when the Eagles went 15-for-66 for 22.7 percent.

Gonzaga University senior Jeremy Pargo became the 30th member of the 1,000-point club for the Bulldogs against Portland State University and has also surpassed the 500-assists plateau. The native of Chicago now has 1,062 career points to surpass Bryce McPhee for 26th with 1,060. Jon Kinloch is 25th (1,971) and Frank Walter is 24th (1,083). Pargo's 528 career assists make him the fourth member of the 500 club behind Matt Santangelo (668), Blake Stepp (640) and John Stockton (554). Pargo's 145 career steals have moved him past Geoff Goss and into fifth, 8 shy of passing Blake Stepp (152) for fourth.

Austin Daye recorded his second straight double-double and fifth of his career with 14 points and 10 rebounds at Loyola Marymount University last Saturday. Daye has grabbed 81 rebounds over the past 10 games for 8.1 rpg during that stretch. He has taken the team lead at 7.1 rpg. Saturday's 10 rebounds were his seventh career double-digit rebounding effort. His career high 13 came last year against the University of Portland.

Junior Matt Bouldin is on a pretty good six-game stretch. He is 36-for-64 from the field for 56.3 percent, 15-for-31 from 3-point range for 48.4 percent, has 29 assists for 4.8 assists/game, has just nine turnovers for a 3.2 assist/turnover ratio and has six steals. He has scored 100 points for 16.7 ppg. He began his current tear with 26 points at the University of Tennessee, a game he went 11-for-20 from the field.

Josh Heytvelt has scored in double figures in nine of his last 10 games and his 25 points last Thursday at Pepperdine University were a season high, two shy of his career high set at Pepperdine in 2007. He's been hot from the field as well, going 18-for-31 the past two games for 58.1 percent.

Since being out rebound in five straight games, Gonzaga University has come back to win the battle of the boards in each of its last four games. The Bulldogs are at a +4.5 rebounding margin for the season, but are at +11.2 in five West Coast Conference games.

Will Foster grabbed a career-high six rebounds at Loyola Marymount University last Saturday. He had grabbed five boards three times in his career, two of them coming this season at home against Texas Southern University and the University of San Francisco. He has 32 rebounds this year, surpassing his career total of 27 entering the season.



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