Bulldogs Try To Stay Perfect In WCC Against USD

Jan. 30, 2009

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Men's Basketball Game Facts
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
TV: ESPN2
No. 20/25 GONZAGA UNIVERSITY BULLDOGS (15-4; 6-0 West Coast)
G -   2 Jeremy Pargo, 6-2, 220, Sr., Chicago, IL
       (9.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 5.7 assists, 1.2 steals)
G - 15 Matt Bouldin, 6-5, 224, Jr., Highlands Ranch, CO
       (13.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.2 assists, 1.5 steals)
G - 32 Steven Gray, 6-5, 208, So., Bainbridge, WA
       (10.8 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.5 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.4 blocks)
C -  42 Josh Heytvelt, 6-11, 260, Sr., Clarkston, WA
       (14.4 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 0.6 assists, 0.5 steals, 1.1 blocks)
F -   5 Austin Daye, 6-11, 200, So., Irvine, CA
       (13.6 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.1 assists, 0.8 steals, 2.3 blocks)
HEAD COACH:  Mark Few (University of Oregon, 1987)
GONZAGA RECORD:  251-64 (10th year - 20th at GU)  CAREER RECORD:  Same

UNIVERSITY OF SAN DIEGO TOREROS (12-9; 4-2 West Coast) G - 11 Trumaine Johnson, 6-2, 190, So., Houston, TX (12.6 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 3.2 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.3 blocks) G - 20 Matt Dorr, 6-4, 196, So., Spokane, WA (6.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.3 assists, 0.6 steals) G - 23 De'Jon Jackson, 6-2, 200, Jr., Fresno, CA (7.4 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.7 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.3 blocks) C - 21 Gyno Pomare, 6-8, 240, Sr., Oceanside, CA (14.5 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.1 assists, 1.2 steals, 1.2 blocks) F - 22 Rob Jones, 6-6, 230, So., San Francisco, CA (10.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.8 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.7 blocks) HEAD COACH: Bill Grier (Oregon, 1990) USD RECORD: 34-23 (2nd year) CAREER RECORD: Same GAMES PRIOR TO GONZAGA: None.

Game No. 21 - University of Portland
Thursday, February 5 - 8 p.m. PST
Chiles Center - Portland, OR
Radio: News Talk 1510 KGA (Spokane);
101.1 FM Rock `N' Roll's Greatest Hits (Spokane)
Pre-game show 30 minutes prior to tipoff
TV: ESPN2
UNIVERSITY OF PORTLAND PILOTS (14-7; 5-1 West Coast)
G -  15 Nik Raivio, 6-4, 200,k Jr., Vancouver, WA
      (16.0 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 2.4 assists, 1.5 steals)
G -  44 T. J. Campbell, 5-9, 190, Jr., Phoenix, AZ
      (10.6 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 4.8 assists, 1.4 steals)
C -   12 Robin Smeulders, 6-10, 240, Jr., Braunschweig, Germany
       (11.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.0 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.4 blocks)
F -    45 Kramer Knutson, 6-9, 245, So., Mesa, AZ
       (6.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 0.9 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.3 blocks)
F -     3 Ethan Niedermeyer, 6-6, 200, Jr., Lafayette, CA
       (6.0 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 1.2 assists, 0.7 steals)
HEAD COACH:  Eric Reveno (Stanford, 1989)
UP RECORD:  32-52 (3rd year)  CAREER RECORD:  Same.
GAMES PRIOR TO GONZAGA:  1/31/09 vs. Saint Mary's.
NOTE: Ranking is Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN.

Gonzaga University tries to remain undefeated in West Coast Conference play and alone in first place when the University of San Diego visits the McCarthey Athletic Center for a 3 p.m. matinee Saturday. It's "Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers Awareness Weekend" and all eight coaching staffs of WCC schools will wear sneakers with their suits. The Bulldogs come into the fray 6-0 in WCC action after a 69-62 win over previous WCC unbeaten Saint Mary's College Thursday. USD, meanwhile, enters the gamed 4-2 in WCC play and riding a two-game WCC losing streak after falling at the University of Portland 69-55 Thursday. The Toreros are in fourth place.

Patrick Mills and Saint Mary's College gave Gonzaga University all it could handle in the first half of Thursday night's widely anticipated showdown between the best teams in the West Coast Conference. But Mills had to leave the game with a right wrist injury just before halftime, and the Zags rallied for a 69-62 victory that broke the nation's longest winning streak at 15 games and gave them sole possession of first place in the league. Mills scored 18 points as the Gaels took a 39-33 halftime lead. With 3 minutes left in the half the sophomore guard sprained the wrist on his shooting hand when he tried to break his fall as went down to the court. His absence crippled the Gaels' offense as they scored only 23 points and shot just 33 percent in the second half. Matt Bouldin scored 17 points and Steven Gray added 14 as the Zags rallied for the win in front of a packed and frenzied house in the Kennel. Gonzaga had averaged winning margins of nearly 30 points in its five previous WCC wins. The Gaels shot 48 percent in the first half, including 6-of-8 from 3-point range by Mills. But they were just 10-of-30 in the second half, including two meaningless 3-pointers at the end. The Zags outscored the Gaels 13-6 in the opening minutes of the second half to take a 46-45 lead on Bouldin's driving layup. After Saint Mary's took a 48-46 lead, the Zags ripped off 12 straight points for a 58-48 lead with 7:49 left and that stood up the rest of the game. Gonzaga jumped to a 14-7 lead, but two 3-pointers by Mills brought the Gaels within 16-13. Simpson's dunk gave Saint Mary's a 20-19 lead. Mills hit three 3-pointers in the next 80 seconds to give Saint Mary's a 29-21 lead. Pargo added 11 points and Austin Daye had 10 for the Zags, who committed only two turnovers in the second 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.

Second-year University of San Diego head coach Bill Grier probably won't experience the same emotions as a year ago when he made his return to the McCarthey Athletic Center after 16 years as a Gonzaga University assistant, the last eight as associated head coach to Mark Few. Grier's first year at the helm is well documented, the Toreros in the West Coast Conference regular-season chase down to the final weekend and then downing Gonzaga in 69-62 in the title game of the WCC Tournament on the Toreros' home court. USD went on to upset the University of Connecticut in the first round of the NCAA Tournament before bowing out in the second round. Gonzaga won last year's home match-up 80-70 and took the regular-season re-match in San Diego 59-55.

Gonzaga University's loss to the University of San Diego in the West Coast Conference Tournament title game a year ago snapped the Bulldogs 13-game winning streak in the series. Gonzaga has still won 26 of the last 31 meetings. The Bulldogs have won nine straight against the Toreros in Spokane, including a WCC Tournament semifinal victory in 2006. The last Torero win in Spokane was 82-70 Feb. 17, 2000. USD has not won in four previous regular-season meetings or in the WCC Tournament game in the McCarthey Athletic Center.

Gonzaga University head coach Mark Few achieved his 250th win Jan. 24, 2009, at Loyola Marymount University. 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 251-64 entering Saturday's game.

Two more players should join the Gonzaga University 1,000-point club before the season is over. Junior Matt Bouldin has 958 points entering this Saturday's game and is averaging 11.3 ppg in his career. Senior Josh Heytvelt has 939 points and is averaging 11.7 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 59-3 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 (251-64) 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 119-13, 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.

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.

For the first time in West Coast Conference play and for the first time in the last seven games an opponent shot better than 40.0 percent against Gonzaga University when Saint Mary's College shot 41.0 percent on 25-of-61 Thursday. The streak began at the University of Tennessee when the Volunteers hit 36.3 percent. Loyola Marymount University went 16-for-64 from the field for 25.0 percent last Saturday, the best defensive effort by the Bulldogs since Jan. 4, 2001, when the 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 1,073 career points to surpass Jon Kinloch for 25th (1,971). Frank Walter is 24th (1,083). Pargo's 531 career assists make him the fourth member of the 500 club behind Matt Santangelo (668), Blake Stepp (640) and John Stockton (554). Pargo's 147 career steals have moved him past Geoff Goss and into fifth, 6 shy of passing Blake Stepp (152) for fourth.

Junior Matt Bouldin is on a pretty good seven-game stretch. He is 41-for-74 from the field for 55.4 percent, 15-for-33 from 3-point range for 45.5 percent, has 31 assists for 4.4 assists/game, has just 11 turnovers for a 2.8 assist/turnover ratio and has six steals. He has scored 117 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.

Austin Daye continued to pound the boards Thursday against Saint Mary's College with nine. Daye has grabbed 90 rebounds over the past 11 games for 8.2 rpg during that stretch. He has taken the team lead at 7.2 rpg. His 10 rebounds last Sautrday at Loyola Marymount University marked his seventh career double-digit rebounding effort. His career high 13 came last year against the University of Portland.

Jeremy Pargo has struggles lately, although his 11 points Thursday against Saint Mary's College was his first double-digit output since Jan. 15 against Santa Clara University. Over the last four games he is 11-for-32 from the field for 34.4 percent, has 12 assists for 3.0 assists/game, 10 turnovers for a 1.2 assist/turnover ratio and has seven steals. For the season he is shooting 44.9 percent from the field, is averaging 5.7 assists/game, has a 201 assist/turnover ration and is averaging 1.2 steals/game.

Micah Downs is averaging 9.6 ppg over his last five games, nearly a point higher than his 8.7 ppg for the season. He has scored 48 points over the last five games, including 15 points against the University of San Francisco Jan. 17 - his first double-digit game since Dec. 18 against Texas Southern University - and had 10 points at Loyola Marymount University.

Steven Gray is 10-for-18 for 55.6 percent from the field the last two games. He has scored 14 points in both contests after scoring a total of 10 points and going a combined 4-for-14 from the field in the previous two outings.

 

 

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