Bulldog Men Seek Title Outright

Feb. 22, 2005

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Men's Basketball Game Facts
Game No. 26 - Portland
Thurs., Feb. 24 - 8 p.m. PST
Chiles Center - Portland, OR
Radio: News Talk 1510 KGA (Spokane)
Pre-game show 30 minutes prior to tipoff
TV: ESPN2
No. 12 GONZAGA UNIVERSITY BULLDOGS (20-4; 10-2 West Coast Conference)
G -   5 Derek Raivio, 6-3, 168, So., Vancouver, WA
       (13.6 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 5.2 assists, 1.7 steals)
G - 22 Erroll Knight, 6-7, 211, Jr., Seattle, WA
       (6.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.2 assists, 0.7 steals)
C -   1 Ronny Turiaf, 6-10, 249, Sr., Le Robert, Martinique
       (16.4 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 1.6 assists, 0.3 steals, 1.7 blocks)
F -    3 Adam Morrison, 6-8, 205, So., Spokane, WA
       (18.1 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.5 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.3 blocks)
F -  13 J.P. Batista, 6-9, 269, Jr., Pernambuco, Brazil
       (12.0 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.0 assists, 0.7 steals)
HEAD COACH:  Mark Few (University of Oregon, 1987)
GONZAGA RECORD:  154-36 (6th year - 16th at GU)  CAREER RECORD:  Same

UNIVERSITY OF PORTLAND PILOTS (15-12; 4-8 West Coast Conference) G - 1 Darren Cooper, 6-3, 190, Jr., Portland, OR (10.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 2.2 assists, 1.2 steals) G - 4 Donald Wilson, 6-4, 20-0, Jr., Los Angeles, CA (8.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 1.8 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.3 blocks) G - 11 Pooh Jeter, 5-10, 175, Jr., Gardena, CA (15.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 3.2 assists, 1.8 steals) C - 10 Andreas Gahlmann, 6-8, 235, Sr., Zurich, Switzerland (2.7 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 0.3 assists, 0.3 steals, 0.3 blocks) F - 45 Ben Sullivan, 6-10, 230, So., Lake Oswego, OR (8.5 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.0 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.8 blocks) HEAD COACH: Michael Holton (UCLA, 1992) UP RECORD: 43-71 (4th year) CAREER RECORD: Same GAMES PRIOR TO GONZAGA: None.

Game No. 27 - Northern Colorado
Mon., Feb. 28 - 6 p.m. PST
McCarthey Athletic Center - Spokane, WA
Radio: News Talk 1510 KGA (Spokane)
Pre-game show 30 minutes prior to tipoff
TV: KHQ; FSN

UNIVERSITY OF NORTHERN COLORADO BEARS (7-18; Division I Independent)
G - 11 Sean Nolen, 6-0, 188, Sr., Aurora, CO
      (9.2 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 3.0 assists, 0.8 steals)
G - 12 Jared Lewis, 6-1, 163, Fr., Denver, CO
      (1.7 ppg, 0.9 rpg, 0.9 assists, 0.3)
G - 43 Parish Brockman, 6-2, 213, Sr., Denver, CO
      (3.9 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 0.5 assists, 0.3 steals)
C -  41 Kirk Archibeque, 6-9, 242, Fr., Cortez, CO
      (11.5 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.3 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.7 blocks)
F -  24 James Randle, 6-7, 211, Sr., Lemoore, CA
      (6.4 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.0 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.6 blocks)
HEAD COACH:  Craig Rasmuson (Ashland, 1990)
UNC RECORD:  57-102 (6th year)  CAREER RECORD:  123-168 (11th year)
GAMES PRIOR TO GONZAGA:  2/22 vs. Colorado College; 2/26 at Utah Valley State.

Gonzaga will seek to win the West Coast Conference title outright Thursday when the Bulldogs play their WCC regular-season finale at Portland. The Bulldogs clinched no worse than a tie for their fifth straight WCC regular-season crown - and their ninth since 1994 - with a 75-73 win over San Francisco on Saturday. Adam Morrison's fade away 15-footer from the left wing with .6 seconds left provided the margin of victory. J.P. Batista had given Gonzaga a 73-72 lead with a pair of free throws with :49 left, but Johnny Dukes of the Dons tied the game when he made the second of two free throws with :28 remaining. The Bulldogs called timeout with :21 left to set up the game-winning play.

Adam Morrison's game-winning basket on Saturday gave him a career-high 28 points, breaking his previous best of 26 reached three times this season in back-to-back games against Illinois and Washington, and again against Pepperdine. He went 12-for-20 from the field against San Francisco, both numbers career highs.

Gonzaga University's men's basketball team is assured of being the No. 1 seed in the upcoming West Coast Conference Tournament, the Bulldogs winning any tiebreaker formula with Saint Mary's College. The Bulldogs are 11-2 in the WCC while SMC is 9-3 heading into the final week of WCC action. Gonzaga plays at the University of Portland on Thursday in an 8 p.m. game on ESPN2, a win giving the Bulldogs their fifth straight title outright. SMC plays at the University of San Diego and the University of San Francisco this Thursday and Saturday, respectively. Since Gonzaga and Saint Mary's split their season series, the tiebreaker would come down to how each team did against other teams in descending order of finish in the WCC standings. Since Santa Clara University would finish ahead of the University of San Francisco if Gonzaga and SMC tie, the Bulldogs win the tiebreaker based on their two wins over SCU while the Broncos beat SMC twice this season. The Gaels and USF end the regular season on Saturday. If Gonzaga loses to Portland on Thursday and SMC wins both games, it would mean SMC would beat USF which would assure the Broncos finishing higher than USF, giving the tiebreaker to Gonzaga. SCU holds a two-game lead over USF heading into this weekend, meaning SCU would have to lose twice and USF would have to win twice for those two to tie. But in that scenario it means USF would beat SMC which would give the outright WCC title to Gonzaga even if the Bulldogs lose at Portland because the Bulldogs would finish 11-3 while SMC could finish no better than 10-4.

With the No. 1 seed wrapped up, Gonzaga will play in the 6 p.m. semifinal of the West Coast Conference Tournament on March 6 at the Leavey Center on the Santa Clara campus. The game will be televised by ESPN2. The Bulldogs will play either the fourth, fifth or eighth-place team in the WCC in the semifinals. No. 5 meets No. 8 in Friday's first round with the winner meeting No. 4 on Saturday for the right to face Gonzaga on Sunday. The WCC Tournament title game will be Monday, March 7, at 9 p.m. on ESPN. At stake is the league's automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament.

Gonzaga (21-4) has recorded 20 victories for the eighth straight year and for the 12th time in the last 14 years. Gonzaga's first 20-win season in the NCAA Division I ranks was 1992 when the Bulldogs went 20-10 and advanced to their inaugural WCC Tournament championship game, losing to Pepperdine 73-70. Head coach Mark Few has never failed to produce a 20-win season and with 154 career victories is averaging 25.7 wins/season.

Gonzaga jumped one spot to 12th in the Associated Press Top 25 this week, and remained 16th for the second week in the USA TODAY/ESPN balloting.

Ronny Turiaf continues to move up the Gonzaga career charts. He is fifth on the all-time scoring list with 1,641 points, six shy of passing Jeff Brown for fifth. He has 795 career rebounds for fourth, and is looking to become the fourth player in Gonzaga history with 800 career rebounds. Cory Violette is currently third with 880 career boards. His 611 career free throws made are already a career record and his 162 career blocks rank second.

Gonzaga head coach Mark Few is the only NCAA Division I head coach with a minimum of five years head coaching experience who has a career winning percentage of 80.0 percent or better. Few is 154-36 in his sixth year on the Gonzaga bench for a winning percentage of .81052. North Carolina's Roy Williams is right behind Few at .79965 percent with a career record of 459-115.

Gonzaga senior Ronny Turiaf is a John R. Wooden Award and Naismith Trophy Mid-Season Top 30 selection. It marks the sixth time in the last seven years the Bulldogs have had a Mid-Season Top 30 candidate, including Turiaf last season. The Top 10 Wooden All-America Team will be announced on March 29, and the Top Five All-Americans will gather April 9 in Los Angeles where one will receive the Wooden Award Trophy as the most outstanding collegiate basketball player of the year. Dan Dickau was Gonzaga's only Top 5 All-American in 2002, while Casey Calvary was Gonzaga's inaugural Top 10 All-American in 2001. Blake Stepp was a Top 10 selection last season for the Bulldogs. Turiaf was also a finalist for the Naismith Trophy last season. The Naismith is presented by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. Four finalists will be announced in March, with the trophy presentation in April.

Ronny Turiaf and Adam Morrison have each been named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) District 14 first team, the Bulldogs joining Stanford with two first-team selections. Chris Hernandez and Dan Grunfeld of the Cardinal, and Nate Robinson of Washington round out the first team. Dan Kickert, Saint Mary's; Tre Simmons, Washington; David Lucas, Oregon State; John Cox, San Francisco, and Christian Maraker, Pacific, were named to the second team. Turiaf and Hernandez are first-team repeaters from a year ago.

Junior J.P. Batista has grabbed 78 rebounds over the last 10 games for an average of 7.8 rpg over that span. That's nearly 2.0 rpg more than his season average of 5.9 rpg. Included in that total are two double-digit games, including a career high 15 against Santa Clara.

Erroll Knight's scoring has been in spurts this season. After collecting just one double-digit game in his first five appearances after missing the first five games of the season with a hand injury, he scored in double digits in four straight games. Then he went the next six games with just 18 points, but in the last four games has scored 35 points and had two more double-digit nights. He's also grabbed 34 rebounds in the last six games for a 5.7 rpg average, exactly one rebound-per-game more than he's averaging for the season. He had a career-high 11 rebounds at Pepperdine.

Think the West Coast Conference isn't tougher this year? Gonzaga went 14-0 last year with an average winning margin of 18.1 ppg and the closest regular-season WCC game was a 10-point victory over Portland, 79-69. This year the Bulldogs have won 11 games by an average of 10.4 ppg with five wins being decided by seven or fewer points.

BULLDOGS VS. PILOTS: Gonzaga University travels to the University of Portland to bring the curtain down on the West Coast Conference regular-season Thursday at 8 p.m. in a game televised on ESPN2. Gonzaga leads the all-time series 74-65 dating back to the 1959 season, the Bulldogs first season of NCAA Division I competition. Portland joined the WCC for the 1976-77 season and Gonzaga followed for the 1979-80 season. Since Gonzaga joined the WCC the Bulldogs hold a 40-15 edge in the series. Portland last defeated the Bulldogs in Spokane during the 2003 season, Gonzaga then running off 17 straight WCC regular-season victories prior to losing at Saint Mary's College earlier this season. That Portland win also snapped a 14-game Gonzaga win streak in the series. The Bulldogs have won 27 of the last 33 meetings.

NATIONAL LEADERS: Sophomore guard Derek Raivio finds himself ranked in the Top 10 in two national categories this week. The Vancouver, Wash., native is fourth in 3-point field goal percentage at 48.1 percent (65-for-135) and seventh in free throw percentage at 91.4 percent (85-for-93). Salim Stoudamire of the University of Arizona is first in 3-point field goal percentage at 56.0, and Blake Ahearn of Southwest Missouri State University is first in free throw percentage at 95.8 percent. Raivio, who earlier this year tied the Gonzaga consecutive made record of 41, currently has a modest streak of 17 since missing a second-half free throw against Santa Clara University. Included in his current streak is a 12-for-12 night against the University of San Diego last Thursday.

BACK-TO-BACK LOSSES: Gonzaga has not lost back-to-back games since the 2002-03 season when the Bulldogs lost Dec. 28, 2002, against Stanford 81-71 in the Pete Newell Challenge in Oakland, Calif., and Dec. 31, 2002, at home to Saint Joseph's 79-78 in overtime. Gonzaga has played 74 games since that Saint Joseph's loss without losing back-to-back games.

BULLDOGS WHEN RANKED: Gonzaga is 82-15 when ranked, including 19-4 this season. The Bulldogs are 36-0 at home when ranked, 31-6 away and 15-9 on a neutral court.

TURIAF IN RARE COMPANY: With 1,641 career points and 795 career rebounds, Gonzaga University senior Ronny Turiaf has become just the third member of the 1,500 points/700 rebounds club. Jerry Vermillion (1952-55) was the first with 1,547 points and 1,670 rebounds. Casey Calvary (1998-01) finished with 1,509 points and 757 rebounds. Turiaf is just the 10th Bulldog to score 1,500 points and is the sixth to grab 700 rebounds.

YOU CAN CALL ME: There has been much debate on television, on the radio and in the print media this season over the pronunciation of Gonzaga University sophomore Derek Raivio's last name. While the sophomore from Vancouver, Wash., insists he doesn't care, the correct pronunciation is rye-VEE-oh. All of last season and through the early part of this season everyone has gone with rav-EE-oh.

HOME, SWEET HOME: Gonzaga University has a 24-game home winning streak that is second in the NCAA Division I ranks through games of Monday. Oklahoma State University leads the way with a 28-game streak. Air Force had a 24-game streak snapped last Saturday.

 

 

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