Gonzaga Seeks To Claim WCC Title Outright Against Pepperdine

Feb. 20, 2009

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Men's Basketball Game Facts
Game No. 26 - Pepperdine University
Saturday, February 21 - 8:30 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. 17/20 GONZAGA UNIVERSITY BULLDOGS (20-5; 11-0 West Coast)
G -   2 Jeremy Pargo, 6-2, 220, Sr., Chicago, IL
       (9.5 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 5.3 assists, 1.3 steals)
G - 15 Matt Bouldin, 6-5, 224, Jr., Highlands Ranch, CO
       (13.2 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.1 assists, 1.4 steals)
G - 22 Micah Downs, 6-8, 194, Sr., Kirkland, WA
       (8.6 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1.2 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.5 blocks)
C -  42 Josh Heytvelt, 6-11, 260, Sr., Clarkston, WA
       (14.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 0.6 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.9 blocks)
F -   5 Austin Daye, 6-11, 200, So., Irvine, CA
       (13.4 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 0.9 assists, 0.8 steals, 2.0 blocks)
HEAD COACH:  Mark Few (University of Oregon, 1987)
GONZAGA RECORD:  256-65 (10th year - 20th at GU)  CAREER RECORD:  Same

PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY WAVES (8-15; 5-6 West Coast) G - 3 Keion Bell, 6-3, 180, Fr., Los Angeles, CA (12.7 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 2.2 assists, 1.6 steals) G - 31 Ryan Holmes, 6-1, 185, Sr., Phoenix, AZ (6.8 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 2.3 assists, 0.6 steals) C - 44 Corbin Moore, 6-10, 240, Fr., Cypress, CA (3.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 0.4 assists, 0.3 steals, 0.4 blocks) F - 15 Mychel Thompson, 6-7, 200, So., Ladera Ranch, CA (9.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 1.1 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.6 blocks) F - 32 Taylor Darby, 6-7, 210, Fr., San Marcos, CA (5.9 ppg, 6.6 rpg, 0.5 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.5 blocks) HEAD COACH: Tom Asbury (Wyoming, 1968) PEP RECORD: 133-78 (7th year) CAREER RECORD: 218-166 (13th year) GAMES PRIOR TO GONZAGA: None.

Game No. 27 - Santa Clara University
Thursday, February 26 - 8 p.m. PST
Leavey Center - Santa Clara, 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 -    3 Calvin Johnson, 6-2, 200, Sr., Morton, TX
       (2.1 ppg, 0.8 rpg, 1.0 assists)
G -  21 Kevin Foster, 6-2, 210, Fr., Katy, TX
       (14.2 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2.5 assists, 1.3 steals)
G -     1 James Rahon, 6-4, 195, Fr., Encinitas, CA
       (10.8 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 1.3 assists, 0.5 steals)
C -   54 John Bryant, 6-11, 275, Sr., San Pablo, CA
      (18.0 ppg, 13.8 rpg, 1.0 assists, 0.6 steals, 2.6 blocks)
F -  15 Marc Trasolini, 6-9, 235, Fr., Vancouver, B.C.
      (5.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 0.5 assists, 0.4 steals, 1.4 blocks)
HEAD COACH:  Kerry Keating (Seton Hall, 1993)
SCU RECORD:  29-29 (2nd year)  CAREER RECORD:  Same.
GAMES PRIOR TO GONZAGA:  2/21 at San Francisco.
NOTE: Ranking is Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN.

A ninth-straight West Coast Conference regular-season title, a 20-win season and the No. 1 seed into the WCC Tournament already locked up, Gonzaga University sets its sights on a couple of more goals when Pepperdine University visits Saturday for an 8:30 p.m. contest. The Bulldogs will be seeking to remain undefeated in WCC action after running their mark to 11-0 with Thursday's 91-54 victory over Loyola Marymount University. Gonzaga will also be seeking to claim sole possession of the WCC regular-season title, Gonzaga currently holding a 3-game lead over runner-up University of Portland with three to play.

Twelve consecutive 20-win seasons. Nine consecutive West Coast Conference titles. Gonzaga University reached both milestones with a 91-54 pounding of Loyola Marymount on Thursday. Steven Gray scored a career-high 23 points and Josh Heytvelt added 18 as Gonzaga earned the top seed in the league tournament and took another step toward a third undefeated WCC season in the past six. Gray came off the bench to make five of seven 3-pointers, all in his 21-point second half. Micah Downs added 16 points and Austin Daye 13 for Gonzaga, which out rebounded Loyola 44-31 and made 11 of 21 3-pointers. LMU came in as the worst shooting team in the nation at 34.8 percent, and made just 31 percent against the nation's top team in field goal defense (37.1 percent). The Lions were led by Kevin Young and Vernon Teel, with 13 points each. Gonzaga built a 17-2 lead in the first seven minutes as the Lions missed nine of its first 10 shots and committed five turnovers. The Bulldogs led 41-22 at halftime, after holding the Lions to 26 percent shooting. Gray scored 10 consecutive Gonzaga points early in the second half to help build a 56-29 lead. Nine different Gonzaga players scored as the team shot 50.8 percent, and made 18-of-21 free throws.

With Thursday's win Gonzaga University guaranteed itself the No. 1 seed and a berth in the semifinals in the West Coast Conference Tournament at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. The Bulldogs, who had no worse than the No. 2 seed and a semifinal berth already locked up, will play the 6:30 p.m. semifinal Sunday, March 8. The Bulldogs will face the No. 4, No. 5 or No. 8 seed. No. 5 plays No. 8 Friday, March 6, the winner plays No. 4 Saturday, March 7 and that winner faces the Bulldogs in the semifinals. The championship game is Monday, March 9 at 6 p.m. with the winner receiving the automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.

Gonzaga University moved up two spots to 17th in this week's Associated Press Top 25 and one spot to 20th in the USA Today/ESPN balloting following last week's sweep at Saint Mary's College and the University of San Francisco. 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 third straight week but suffered a loss to No. 4 University of Pittsburgh Monday night. The Bulldogs have been as high as fourth in both polls.

Matt Bouldin hit five 3-pointers and scored 18 points to lead Gonzaga University to a 93-60 rout of Loyola Marymount University in the first meeting between the teams this season in Los Angeles. The Bulldogs hit 12 3-pointers. 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.

Thursday's victory gave Gonzaga University a 12th-straight 20-win season. The Bulldogs hit the plateau for the 16th time in the last 18 years. Gonzaga head coach Mark Few has been a part of all 16 20-win seasons, including all 10 of his years as head coach.

Senior Jeremy Pargo tied former Gonzaga University great and probably soon-to-be NBA Hall of Famer John Stockton for fourth on the all-time Bulldog assists list at 554. Pargo had six assists Thursday against Loyola Marymount University to tie Stockton, who retired from the NBA as its all-time leader in assists and steals. Pargo has 157 career steals to move into third ahead of Blake Stepp.

Gonzaga University has been on fire from the field the last two games. After shooting a season-best 60.0 percent from the field (30-for-50) last Saturday at the University of San Francisco, the Bulldogs came back to shoot 50.8 percent (31-for-61) from the floor against Loyola Marymount University Thursday. That makes the Bulldogs 61-for-111 in the last two games for 55.0 percent. The Bulldog shot 65.0 percent in the first half at USF and 54.8 percent in the second half against LMU.

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 61-3 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 Feb. 5 at the University of Portland. Few, in his 10th season, is now 256-65 and moved ahead of Dan Fitzgerald (252-171 in 15 years). Hank Anderson (290-275 in 21 seasons) is the all-time leader. Few is the active winningest coach in West Coast Conference games at 124-13, moving ahead of Fitzgerald (112-88) on the all-time wins list. Few also moved ahead of Dick Davey of Santa Clara University (122-88) for second with Gonzaga's victory at the University of San Francisco Feb. 14. Carroll Williams, SCU (165-137) holds the top spot.

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 clinched its ninth straight West Coast Conference title Thursday, and will be looking for make it an outright title Saturday against Pepperdine University. The Bulldogs (11-0) hold a three-game (8-3) lead over the University of Portland with three to play, thus Gonzaga's magic number for the outright title is one - any Gonzaga win or any Portland loss. The nine straight titles mark the longest current streak in the nation and ranks tied for fourth all-time in the NCAA Division I ranks, the Bulldogs knotting the University of Kentucky. The Wildcats won nine straight Southeastern Conference crowns from 1944-52. UCLA's 13 Pacific-10 Conference titles from 1967-79 head the list.

Gonzaga University retained it spot as the top defensive field goal percentage team in the nation, opponents connecting on just 36.9 percent (538-for-1464) from the field. The Bulldogs held Loyola Marymount to 31.7 percent from the field Thursday, the 17th time this season an opponent has shot less than 40.0 percent. The Bulldogs held the University of Idaho to a season-low 29.8 percent (14-for-47). The 2002 team set the school record, holding opponents to 38.5 percent from the field. Pepperdine University is 317th out of 330 teams in field goal percentage, the Waves hitting just 38.9 percent from the field.

After being out rebounded in back-to-back games by double digits, Gonzaga University rebounded (no pun intended) to handle the University of San Francisco on the boards 35-25 last Saturday and Loyola Marymount University 44-31 Thursday. Gonzaga has held a double-digit edge in rebounding nine times this season. Gonzaga is 15-1 when out rebounding teams this year - the University of Arizona the lone exception when Gonzaga held a 36-30 edge in a 69-64 loss. The Bulldogs are 5-4 when losing the battle on the boards.

Gonzaga University had 10 blocks Thursday against Loyola Marymount University, the fourth time this season the Bulldogs have had 10 blocks, one shy of the school record 11 matched four times, the last against the University of Portland Feb. 24, 2005.

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. He has been cleared to begin individual workouts. 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 105 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 senior Jeremy Pargo became the 30th member of the 1,000-point club for the Bulldogs against Portland State University, and junior Matt Bouldin and senior Josh Heytvelt became the 31st and 32nd members, respectively. Pargo has 1,134 career points to move into 22nd. Zach Gourde is 21st with 1,145. Bouldin has 1,035 for 30th, just four points shy of passing John Rillie (1,038) for 29th. Heytvelt is at 1,026 for 31st. It's the first time since 2004 the Bulldogs have had three 1,000-point scorers on the court when Ronny Turiaf, Blake Stepp and Cory Violette accomplished the feat.



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