Bulldogs Take Undefeated WCC Mark On Road

Feb. 11, 2009

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Men's Basketball Game Facts
Game No. 23 - Saint Mary's College
Thursday, February 12 - 8 p.m. PST
McKeon Pavilion - Moraga, CA
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. 19/21 GONZAGA UNIVERSITY BULLDOGS (17-5; 8-0 West Coast)
G -   2 Jeremy Pargo, 6-2, 220, Sr., Chicago, IL
       (9.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 5.4 assists, 1.4 steals)
G - 15 Matt Bouldin, 6-5, 224, Jr., Highlands Ranch, CO
       (13.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 3.1 assists, 1.5 steals)
G - 32 Steven Gray, 6-5, 208, So., Bainbridge, WA
       (10.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.5 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.4 blocks)
C -  42 Josh Heytvelt, 6-11, 260, Sr., Clarkston, WA
       (14.2 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 0.6 assists, 0.5 steals, 1.0 blocks)
F -   5 Austin Daye, 6-11, 200, So., Irvine, CA
       (13.4 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.0 assists, 0.7 steals, 2.2 blocks)
HEAD COACH:  Mark Few (University of Oregon, 1987)
GONZAGA RECORD:  253-65 (10th year - 20th at GU)  CAREER RECORD:  Same

SAINT MARY'S COLLEGE GAELS (19-4; 6-3 West Coast) G - 3 Carlin Hughes, 6-2, 185, Sr., Perth Australia (7.9 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 3.5 assists, 1.2 steals) G - 32 Mickey McDonnell, 6-0, 175, Mesa, AZ (4.9 ppg, 1.2 rpg, 2.0 assists, 0.6 steals) C - 50 Omar Samhan, 6-11, 265, Jr., San Ramon, CA (13.6 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 1.7 assists, 0.4 steals, 2.0 blocks) F - 4 Ian O'Leary, 6-7, 220, Sr., Woodland, CA (5.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.0 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.3 blocks) F - 20 Diamon Simpson, 6-7, 230, Sr., Hayward, CA (13.4 ppg, 10.4 rpg, 0.7 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.7 blocks) HEAD COACH: Randy Bennett (UC San Diego, 1986) SMC RECORD: 146-94 (8th year) CAREER RECORD: Same GAMES PRIOR TO GONZAGA: None.

Game No. 24 - University of San Francisco
Saturday, February 14 - 8 p.m. PST
War Memorial Gym - San Francisco, CA
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 -     1 Kwame Vaughn, 6-3, 195, Fr., Oakland, CA
       (9.7 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.5 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.6 blocks)
G -  10 Manny Quezada, 6-2, 185, Sr., New York, NY
       (10.6 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 3.0 assists, 0.8 steals)
C -  00 Hyman Taylor, 6-9, 245, Jr., Ft. Lauderdale, FL
       (1.9 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 0.3 steals, 0.4 blocks)
F -   33 Dior Lowhorn, 6-7, 230, Jr., San Francisco, CA
       (20.0 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 0.7 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.6 blocks)
F -     2 Blake Wallace, 6-6, 220, Jr., Irvine, CA
        (8.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.0 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.5 blocks)
HEAD COACH:  Rex Walters (Kansas, 1993)
USF RECORD:  9-15 (1st year)  CAREER RECORD:  40-48 (3rd  year)
GAMES PRIOR TO GONZAGA:  2/12 vs. Portland.

NOTE: Ranking is Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN.

Gonzaga University returns to West Coast Conference play this weekend after taking a Saturday hiatus outside of league play last Saturday for College GameDay on ESPN. Gonzaga is undefeated at 8-0 in WCC play and brings a two-game lead over the University of Portland (6-2) into Thursday's game at Saint Mary's College. The Gaels are 6-3 in WCC play and have lost two of their last three outings since suffering a 69-62 setback at Gonzaga as the teams will meet each other twice in a span of two weeks.

With a sweep this week at Saint Mary's College and the University of San Francisco, Gonzaga University is all but assured no worse than second place and a spot in the West Coast Conference Tournament semifinals. The top two finishers in the WCC are seeded into the semifinals, meaning the top two teams need just two wins to claim the tourney title and automatic NCAA Tournament berth. A sweep would give Gonzaga no worse than a 4-game lead over SMC, the University of San Diego and Santa Clara University, the latter two teams each 5-4 heading into this week's play. The Bulldogs still have games at SCU and USD awaiting the final weekend of WCC play. Gonzaga holds a two-game lead over the University of Portland, but the Bulldogs have already swept the Pilots this season and a win Thursday would give Gonzaga a sweep of the Gaels, thus earning Gonzaga the tiebreaker over both schools.

The University of Memphis dominated Gonzaga 68-50 in an ESPN College GameDay contest last Saturday at the Spokane Arena. Memphis ran out to a 26-point lead in the second half, and only a late rally by Gonzaga made the game seem competitive. Gonzaga was held to a season low in scoring, and shot only 36 percent while committing 15 turnovers. Tyreke Evans scored 22 points and Robert Dozier added 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Tigers. The Memphis defense hounded Gonzaga's best shooters. Leading scorer Josh Heytvelt scored 11 points. Matt Bouldin scored just six points, seven below his average. Jeremy Pargo scored two points and had four assists, but five turnovers. Micah Downs came off the bench to score 13 points for Gonzaga. Memphis has won four in a row against Gonzaga. Memphis led 60-34 with about eight minutes left but suddenly went cold and the Zags scored 13 straight points to cut their deficit to 60-47 with 3:29 left. Memphis was scoreless for seven minutes before Evans' jumper made it 62-47 with 1:48 left.

Gonzaga University dropped one spot to 19th in this week's Associated Press Top 25 and three spots to No. 21 in the USA Today/ESPN balloting following last Saturday's loss to No. 14/15 University of Memphis. The University of Connecticut, which handed the Bulldogs an 88-83 overtime loss in The Battle in Seattle Dec. 20, remained No. 1 for the second straight week. UConn is the fifth team to hold the top spot this season. The Bulldogs have been as high as fourth in both polls this season.

Junior Matt Bouldin is one point shy of becoming the 31st member of the Gonzaga University 1,000-point club. Bouldin scored 6 points last Saturday against the University of Memphis, leaving him with 999 career points. Senior Josh Heytvelt has 978 points and is averaging 11.8 ppg for his career.

In the first meeting between Gonzaga University and Saint Mary's College this season at the McCarthey Athletic Center, Patrick Mills and the Gaels gave the Bulldogs all it could handle in the first half of the widely anticipated showdown between then-undefeated 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. 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. 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. 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. The Zags, who committed only two turnovers in the second half.

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 60-3 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.

Gonzaga University head coach Mark Few moved into second place on the school's all-time winningest coaches list with the Bulldogs victory at the University of Portland. Few, in his 10th season, is now 253-65 and moved ahead of Dan Fitzgerald (252-171 in 15 years). Few picked up his 250th career victory Jan. 24, 2009, at Loyola Marymount University. Hank Anderson (290-275 in 21 seasons) is the all-time leader. Few is the active winningest coach in West Coast Conference games at 121-13, 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 up for another post-season award, the Chicago, Ill., native one of 17 finalists for the Bob Cousy Award sponsored by The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, in conjunction with The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. The award is presented annually to the nation's top collegiate point guard. The 17 finalists were chosen from a pool of over 60 top candidates from NCAA Division I, II and III institutions across the country. The 2009 Finalists were selected by screening committees comprised of media members representing all three divisions of collegiate basketball. In addition to Pargo, the other finalists are Sheron Collins University, Kansas; Darren Collison, UCLA; Stephen Curry, Davidson; Toney Douglas, Florida State; Levance Fields, Pittsburgh; Jonny Flynn, Syracuse; Dominic James, Marquette; Ty Lawson, North Carolina; Eric Maynor, Virginia Commonwealth; Patrick Mills, St. Mary's; AJ Price, Connecticut, and Jeff Teague, Wake Forest. Pargo is also a John R. Wooden Award Pre-Season Top 50 candidate, and along with teammate Josh Heytvelt is a Naismith Trophy Top 30 candidate.

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 University leads the overall series with Saint Mary's College 47-23 following a 69-62 win in the first meeting this season, the 14th straight home win for the Bulldogs over the Gaels. Gonzaga has dropped its last two trips to Saint Mary's, 89-85 in overtime last season and 80-75 in 2007. The last time the Gaels won back-to-back meetings with Gonzaga was 1995 won SMC downed Gonzaga 68-63 in Spokane and won the return meeting in Moraga the following week. The Zags have won 30 of the last 35 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 weekly x-rays to chart the healing progress. The Vancouver, British Columbia, native will be sidelined indefinitely.

Sophomore Austin Daye continues to climb up the all-time Gonzaga University blocked shots list. He now has 102 to move past Tim Ruff (1981-85) for third. Ronny Turiaf (2002-05) is second with 179 and Casey Calvary (1998-01) sits atop the list with 207.

Gonzaga University's 23 first-half points against the University of Memphis was the fewest points for the Bulldogs this season and was the lowest halftime total for the Bulldog since trailing Washington State University 28-19 Dec. 5, 2007. The 18-point deficit was the largest margin of defeat for Gonzaga in Spokane since suffering an 80-56 setback to Pepperdine University Feb. 9, 1991.

The University of Memphis out rebounded Gonzaga University 39-25 last Saturday, the second lowest rebounding total for the Bulldogs this season. Gonzaga lost the battle of the boards 50-26 in the first meeting against the University of Tennessee this season in the Old Spice Classic championship game won by the Bulldogs. The 25 boards were the lowest total for Gonzaga since grabbing 24 rebounds last year in an 87-82 double-overtime win at Santa Clara University.

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 1,107 career points to move into 24th. Jack Curran is 23rd with 1,121. Pargo's 540 career assists make him the fourth member of the 500 club behind Matt Santangelo (668), Blake Stepp (640) and John Stockton (554). Pargo's 154 career steals have moved him past Blake Stepp (152) for fourth.

Junior Matt Bouldin was the West Coast Conference Player of the Month for January. The junior from Highlands Ranch, Colo., averaged 16.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 3.9 assists/game and had a 2.4 assist/turnover ratio as Gonzaga went 8-0 for month, including a 7-0 WCC start. He shot 52.5 percent from the field (42-for-80) and 44.1 percent from 3-point range (15-for-34). Bouldin matched his career high with 26 points in 89-79 overtime win at Tennessee, going 11-for-20 from the field as Gonzaga snapped Tennessee's 37-game home winning streak which was the longest in the nation at the time as the Bulldogs defeated the Vols for the second time this season. Tennessee was ranked 15th by Associated Press and 25th by USA Today/ESPN in the second meeting. He set a career high with 10 assists and had his first career points-assists double-double with 14 points at Pepperdine. He had 17 points and 4 rebounds in the 69-62 win over Saint Mary's in the showdown of WCC undefeated teams.



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