Bulldog Can Clinch WCC Title
Feb. 10, 2004
Game No. 22 - San Francisco
Thurs., Feb. 12 - 8 p.m.
Memorial Gym - San Francisco, CA
Radio: News Talk 1510 KGA (Spokane)
Pre-game show 30 minutes prior to tipoff
No. 7 GONZAGA UNIVERSITY BULLDOGS (19-2; 9-0 West Coast Conference) G - 10 Blake Stepp, 6-4, 194, Sr., Eugene, OR (15.0 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 7.4 assists, 1.3 steals) G - 20 Kyle Bankhead, 6-0, 195, Sr., Walla Walla, WA (5.9 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2.5 assists, 1.5 steals) C - 33 Cory Violette, 6-8, 265, Sr., Boise, ID (13.9 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 1.0 assists, 1.0 steals, 1.0 blocks) F - 22 Erroll Knight, 6-6, 212, So., Seattle, WA (7.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.6 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.4 blocks) F - 1 Ronny Turiaf, 6-10, 243, Jr., Le Robert, Martinique (15.8 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 1.7 assists, 0.6 steals, 1.8 blocks) HEAD COACH: Mark Few (University of Oregon, 1987) GONZAGA RECORD: 124-31 (5th year - 15th at GU) CAREER RECORD: Same
Sat., Feb. 14 - 7 p.m.
McKeon Pavilion - Moraga, CA
Radio: News Talk 1510 KGA (Spokane)
Pre-game show 30 minutes prior to tipoff
TV: PAX-TV (Spokane); CSTV (DirecTV Subscribers)
SAINT MARY'S COLLEGE GAELS (14-9; 5-3 West Coast Conference) G - 11 Paul Marigney, 6-3, 190, Jr., Oakland, CA (15.3 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.5 assists, 0.8 steals) G - 21 Tyler Herr, 6-5, 195, Sr., Gilbert, AZ (7.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.1 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.3 blocks) G - 32 Jonathan Sanders, 6-7, 215, Jr., Denver, CO (6.7 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 2.7 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.4 blocks) F - 14 Daniel Kickert, 6-10, 250, So., Melbourne, Australia (15.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 0.6 assists, 0.3 steals, 0.6 blocks) F - 00 Chase Poole, 6-8, 225, Sr., Austin, TX (4.8 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 0.8 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.9 blocks) HEAD COACH: Randy Bennett (UC-San Diego, 1986) SMC RECORD: 38-44 (3rd year) CAREER RECORD: Same. GAMES PRIOR TO GONZAGA: Feb. 12 vs. Portland.BULLDOGS START 9-0: Gonzaga University has started West Coast Conference play 9-0 for the third time in head coach Mark Few's five years at the helm. The Bulldogs have a chance to clinch their eighth West Coast Conference regular-season title this week with a pair of victories. The Bulldogs are at the University of San Francisco on Thursday and at Saint Mary's College on Saturday. SMC is 5-3 in the WCC as Gonzaga is at least four up in the loss column on the rest of the WCC field.
BULLDOGS VS. DONS: Gonzaga University leads the overall series with the University of San Francisco 31-19, has won 12 straight including this year's 92-50 win in The Kennel and has taken 18 of the last 20 meetings. Gonzaga has won six straight at Memorial Gym. The last time USF won at home was 71-70 in 1997. The last USF win in the series was 80-67 at Santa Clara University in the championship game of the 1998 West Coast Conference Tournament. GU head coach Mark Few is 9-0 against USF.
QUICKEST TO 20: Aiming for their 11th 20-win season in their NCAA Division I history - all since 1992 - Gonzaga University can get to 20 wins quicker than any other team in school history with a win Thursday. The 2002 squad, which finished a school-best 29-4, reached 20 wins in 23 games. Three other squads have hit the 20-win plateau in the 25th game. This year's team has a chance to do it in the 22nd game Thursday at the University of San Francisco.
ZAGS WHEN RANKED: Gonzaga is 54-10 when nationally ranked, including a perfect 22-0 at home with this season's victories over the University of Idaho, Denver University, Washington State University, the University of Montana, the University of San Francisco, Saint Mary's College, Pepperdine University and Loyola Marymount University at The Kennel. The mark includes games against teams in both the Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN Top 25 polls.
WINNING STREAK: Riding a 12-game winning streak, Gonzaga University can equal the longest winning streak in school history with a pair of victories this week. The Bulldogs ran off 14 straight victories from Jan. 19-March 14, 2002, and from Jan. 4-Feb. 22, 2001. Gonzaga also strung together 12 straight wins from Nov. 29, 2001-Jan. 18, 2002.
VIOLETTE DOUBLES UP: Senior Cory Violette recorded the 23rd double-double of his career with 13 points and 11 rebounds last Thursday against Pepperdine University. It was his third double-double of the season and his second in West Coast Conference play this year. He moved into third in career rebounds with 788, passing Greg Sten (783, 1971-73).
STEPPIN' TO THE LINE: Senior Blake Stepp has gone 31-for-33 from the free throw line in the last eight games - and that includes two 0-for-0 nights. He made both attempts at Loyola Marymount University, was 7-for-8 against Saint Mary's College, 10-for-10 at the University of Portland, 2-for-2 at the University of San Diego, 4-for-4 last Saturday at Santa Clara University and 6-7 against Pepperdine University. He had a streak of 23 straight made snapped last Thursday. For the season he's 53-for-64 for 82.8 percent.
NOW THERE ARE THREE: Blake Stepp, Ronny Turiaf and Cory Violette are all members of the Gonzaga University 1,000-point club. Turiaf joined the club with 19 points against Saint Mary's College and now has 1,081 for 22nd. He needs three to pass Frank Walter (1,083, 1947-50). Stepp was already a member entering the season and has 1,532 for seventh, 15 away from Jerry Vermillion (1952-55). Violette reached the milestone against Washington State University and has 1,195 career points for 15th. He needs 31 to catch Bill Wilson (1962-64).
SINCE YOU ASKED: The last West Coast Conference team to run the table was Pepperdine University in 1992 when the Waves went 14-0 to beat Santa Clara University by five games. Three teams have gone undefeated in WCC play under the current league alignment, which came into being for the 1980-81 season when Seattle University left the league.
FOR THREE: Blake Stepp and Kyle Bankhead continue to climb on Gonzaga University's all-time 3-point list. Stepp has moved past Matt Santangelo (1996-00) with 265. Bankhead has 154 treys for seventh. Richie Frahm, currently with the Seattle Sonics, is the career leader with 280 from 1996-00. Stepp is also the all-time 3-point attempt leader with 675, surpassing Richie Frahm (662, 1997-00).
FROM THE LINE: Ronny Turiaf and Blake Stepp each moved into the Gonzaga University Top 10 for free throws made last season. Turiaf is now 3rd with 415 after his 4-for-6 effort last Saturday against Loyola Marymount University. Stepp has 351 for sixth. Turiaf and Stepp each tied Frank Burgess' single-game record of 16 free throws made in a game last season. Turiaf did its against Indiana University in the Maui Invitational when he went 16-for-18, then matched the mark again when he went 16-for-22 against the University of Cincinnati in the NCAA Tournament First Round. Stepp went 16-for-20 against the University of Washington to get his piece of the record.
BLOCK IT: Ronny Turiaf continues to move up the blocked shots list at Gonzaga University with 112 as he has passed Tim Ruff (99, 1981-85) for second. Turiaf had a streak of at least one block in 18 straight games snapped last Thursday. Casey Calvary (1998-01) is the all-time leader with 207.
20 OR BUST: Gonzaga University is tied for 11th in consecutive 20-win seasons with six. The University of Arizona leads the way with 16, followed by the University of Kansas with 14 and the University of Kentucky with 13. Gonzaga is tied with the University of Connecticut, Oklahoma State University, the University of Oklahoma and Syracuse University.
BULLDOGS AND THE KENNEL: The Kennel, home of Gonzaga University's Bulldogs, has gained the reputation as one of the toughest courts in the country, the Bulldogs losing a 29-game home winning streak Dec. 31, 2002, that ranked third longest in the country. In the last 12 seasons the Bulldogs are 147-10 at home for a nifty 93.6 winning percentage. Gonzaga went 10-2 at home in 2003, the first time the Bulldogs lost two home games in a season since 1997. Gonzaga was 13-0 at home in 2002, winning by an average of 24.6 ppg. The Bulldogs went 12-0 at home in 2001, winning by an average of 24.7 ppg. GU is 55-3 in The Kennel over the past five seasons. The 2000 squad was 10-1, and the 1999 Bulldogs completed a 10-0 season in The Kennel, winning by an average of 31.9 ppg. The Bulldogs also posted undefeated home campaigns in 1993 (13-0) and 1994 (14-0), and suffered just one home setback in 1996 and 1998. The Bulldogs put together a 34-game home-court-winning streak from 1992-95, which at the time was the country's second-longest active streak.
DEPTH: Gonzaga University's depth is reflected in the fact 10 players are averaging double-digit minutes. Senior Blake Stepp leads the way with 34.8 minutes/game, followed by senior Cory Violette at 29.0 and junior Ronny Turiaf at 27.4. Senior Kyle Bankhead (24.1), freshman Adam Morrison (21.6) and senior Tony Skinner (20.6) also average better than 20 minutes/game, giving the Bulldogs six players with more than 20 minutes/game.
THEFT: While Blake Stepp is known for his scoring and assists, he continues to move up Gonzaga's career steals chart. He has 143 to move past Geoff Goss (139, 1991-94) and into third. John Stockton is the leader with 262 from 1981-84.
BULLDOGS SIGN THREE: Gonzaga University signed three players to letters-of-intent during the early November signing period. Josh Heytvelt, a 6-10 forward from Clarkston, Wash.; David Pendergraft, a 6-5 guard from Brewster, Wash., and Pierre Marie Altidor-Cespedes, a 6-1 combination guard from Montreal, Canada, will join the Bulldogs in the fall. The signings were not unexpected as all three had made verbal commitments to attend Gonzaga, Pendergraft making his verbal following his sophomore season. Heytvelt is a two-time All-State 3A selection, averaged 20.1 ppg last year as a junior. Pendergraft averaged 24.5 ppg and 10.0 rpg last season as a junior, helping the Bears to a 28-0 record and Washington State Class A title. Altidor-Cespedes was rated as the third best two-guard at the ABCD camp in 2003 held in upstate New York. He was recruited by most of the Big East schools as well as Florida.
NEW ZEALANDER ENROLLS: Calum (Cal-um) MacLeod, a 7-0, 220-pound center from Wellington, New Zealand, joined Gonzaga University's men's basketball team earlier this week. The newest Bulldog arrived in Spokane on Monday night, was in the classroom Tuesday with the start of second-semester classes and was at Wednesday's practice getting acclimated to major college basketball. He will redshirt this season and have four years of eligibility remaining beginning with the 2004-05 season. MacLeod has been playing for the New Zealand Junior National Team, the Tall Blacks. The team, so named because of their black jersey, most recently played in the Oceanic Games qualifying tournament for the Junior World Championships. New Zealand lost to Australia, which features University of Utah 6-10 freshman Andrew Bogut.
SINGLE DIGITS: Only Gonzaga University, the University of Florida and Duke University have lost less than 10 games in each of the past five seasons. Gonzaga has posted marks of 29-4, 26-7, 26-9 28-7 and 24-9, respectively, in that stretch. The last time Gonzaga hit double-digits in the "L" column was 1998 with a 20-10 campaign. Current head coach Mark Few has never had 10 or more losses in his four years as a head coach. Duke went 25-7 and Florida 25-8 last season.
THREE OR BUST: Gonzaga University has extended its streak of consecutive games with a 3-pointer to 352. The last time the Bulldogs failed to hit a trey was Jan. 27, 1993, when the Bulldogs went 0-for-5 at home against Portland.
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