Bulldogs Visit Portland Trying To Stay Atop WCC
Feb. 23, 2008
Game No. 28 - Portland
Monday, February 25 - 8 p.m.
Chiles Center - Portland, OR
Radio: News Talk 1510 KGA (Spokane)
Pre-game show 30 minutes prior to tipoff
TV: ESPN2 (Big Monday)
Saturday, March 1 - 5 p.m.
McCarthey Athletic Center - Spokane, WA
Radio: News Talk 1510 KGA (Spokane)
Pre-game show 30 minutes prior to tipoff
TV: KHQ-TV (Spokane); FSN (check local listings)
No. 23/20 SAINT MARY'S COLLEGE GAELS (23-3, 10-1 West Coast) G - 13 Patrick Mills, 6-0, 175, Fr., Canberra, Australia (15.2 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 3.6 assists, 1.9 steals) G - 24 Todd Golden, 6-3, 180, Sr., Phoenix, AR (7.1 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 3.0 assists, 0.9 steals) C - 50 Omar Samhan, 6-11, 265, So., San Ramon, CA (11.5 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 1.2 assists, 0.5 steals, 1.5 blocks) F - 20 Diamon Simpson, 6-7, 230, Jr., Hayward, CA (12.3 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 0.9 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.7 blocks) F - 4 Ian O'Leary, 6-7, 220, Jr., Woodland, CA (8.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 0.8 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.5 blocks) HEAD COACH: Randy Bennett (UC San Diego, 1986) SMC RECORD: 125-86 (7th year) CAREER RECORD: Same. GAMES PRIOR TO GONZAGA: 2/23 vs. Kent State; 2/25 vs. San Diego.
Gonzaga University takes to the road for the final time in the regular season when the Bulldogs head to Pacific Northwest rival University of Portland for an 8 p.m. Big Monday showdown on ESPN2. The Bulldogs are in a West Coast Conference tie for first place with Saint Mary's College, both schools at 10-1. Gonzaga and the Gaels are on course for a potential winner-take-all match-up next Saturday in Spokane. But first the Bulldogs must dispose of the Pilots and the Gaels have to down the University of San Diego (8-2) Monday to set up the much-anticipated tilt. SMC steps out of WCC play to host Kent State University Saturday in an ESPN Bracket Buster contest.
Matt Bouldin scored 13 points, including a key late basket, to lead Gonzaga University to a 59-55 win over the University of San Diego last Monday. The Bulldogs won for the 13th straight time against the Toreros since losing in 2003 West Coast Conference Tournament finals at San Diego. San Diego had its seven-game win streak snapped as its top two scorers struggled. Brandon Johnson was 2-for-15 from the field and finished with eight points and Gyno Pomare scored four points. Trumaine Johnson led the Toreros with 17 points, all in the second half, including 5-for-7 from 3-point range in the second half. Gonzaga, which led 25-20 at halftime, took a 35-26 lead nearly six minutes into the second half as David Pendergraft scored eight of the Bulldogs' first 10 points of the second half. Pendergraft finished with 10 points. Gonzaga never trailed in the game but San Diego closed to 54-52 on Danny Brown's 3-point shot with 1:13 left. Bouldin scored on a reverse lay-up off a pinpoint pass from Jeremy Pargo with 29.9 seconds left to give Gonzaga a 56-52 lead.
In the first meeting this season between Gonzaga University and the University of Portland, David Pendergraft and Josh Heytvelt combined for 27 first-half points and Gonzaga never trailed after the opening minutes of a 79-41 victory. Austin Daye's 19 points and 13 rebounds led the Bulldogs, who had the game in hand after Pendergraft scored 14 of his 15 points in the opening half. Sherrard Watson had 11 points for the Pilots who have lost nine in a row to Gonzaga. After Pendergraft and Heytvelt staked the Zags to a 39-22 halftime lead, Portland managed to close to within 39-29 on Robin Smeulders' jump hook with 16 minutes left. But Gonzaga responded, outscoring Portland 27-2 and holding the Pilots without a field goal over the next 8:05 to open a 66-31 lead. With Portland leading 7-5 early, Gonzaga used a 14-3 burst, capped by Micah Downs' 3-pointer with eight minutes left in the first half, to open a 19-10 lead. Gonzaga held the Pilots to 1-of-11 shooting and forced five turnovers in that stretch. Portland got as close as seven points twice, the last time at 25-18 with 5:22 left on a tough drive by Nik Raivio - the younger brother of former Gonzaga standout Derek Raivio. Heytvelt scored all 13 of his points in the first half for Gonzaga. Raivio, Portland's leading scorer at 12.4 points per game, was held to six points on 2-of-9 shooting. As a team, Portland managed just 14-of-53 from the floor.
With a 21-6 record, Gonzaga University has won 20 games for the 11th straight season and for the 14th time in the last 15 seasons. Gonzaga (10-1) has also hit double-digit wins in West Coast Conference play for the 11th straight year and for the 12th time in the last 13 campaigns.
Think Gonzaga University hasn't played a tough schedule? The combined record of the teams who have handed the Bulldogs their six losses is 126-29 for a winning percentage of 81.3 percent. No. 1 University of Memphis (26-0) leads the way as four of the six teams have already won 20 or more games through contests of Friday.
It's time to start checking the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) as the second half of West Coast Conference action winds down and teams start eyeing the WCC Tournament and subsequent NCAA Tournament berths. Gonzaga enters Monday's game with an RPI of 34 through games of last Thursday. The Bulldogs strength of schedule is 89. Of the other two schools in the WCC title hunt with the Bulldogs, Saint Mary's College has an RPI of 26 and a SOS of 163, while the University of San Diego has an RPI of 114 and a SOS of 99. The West Coast Conference is 13th in the conference RPI, but the WCC is ranked second in the non-conference strength of schedule.
Gonzaga University had its stretch of 50 percent shooting snapped at the University of San Diego, the Bulldogs shooting 40.4 percent from the field after having shot 50 percent or better in each of the previous five games. The 40.4 percent was the lowest for Gonzaga in 14 games since shooting 39.3 percent against the University of Tennessee.
The 59 points Gonzaga University scored at the University of San Diego was the first time the Bulldogs had scored less than 80 points in its last six games. In the five games prior to USD Gonzaga had scored 439 points and averaged 87.8 ppg in that stretch. The only other time Gonzaga scored less than 60 points this season was in a 51-47 home loss to Washington State University.
Gonzaga University has extended its streak of consecutive games with a 3-pointer to 486. The last time the Bulldogs failed to hit a trey was Jan. 27, 1993, going 0-for-5 at home against Portland. UNLV holds the all-time streak of 668 entering this season.
Junior Jeremy Pargo is in the Top 10 on the Gonzaga University career charts for assists and steals. His 394 career assists rank fourth behind Matt Santangelo (668), Blake Stepp (640) and John Stockton (554). The Gonzaga co-captain is seventh in career steals with 119. Pargo also has 813 career points as he bids to become the 30th Bulldog to reach the 1,000-point plateau.
Senior Abdullahi Kuso, with six blocks against the University of San Diego last Monday, has 71 career blocks for eighth on the all-time Gonzaga University charts. He needs two more to move ahead of Paul Rogers for seventh.
Gonzaga University is in search of its 10th straight trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs current streak of nine straight appearances ranks the Bulldogs tied for sixth for consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances with the University of Florida, University of Texas and University of Wisconsin.
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 50-2 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.
There might be some magic in that No. 5 jersey freshman Austin Daye is wearing - especially when it comes to the free throw line. Daye is 78-for-85 for 91.8 percent from the stripe this season. He was ranked fourth nationally through games of last Thursday when the latest rankings were compiled. Derek Raivio, who wore No. 5 throughout his Gonzaga career, is one of the most prolific free throw shooters in NCAA history. He finished his career hitting 92.7 percent from the line and holds the top three single-season percentage marks in school history. Raivio went 148-for-154 for 96.1 percent to lead the NCAA Division I ranks in percentage a year ago and ranks second all-time on the NCAA single-season list. For his career he went 343-for-370 for 92.7 percent to rank second in the NCAA based on a minimum of 300 free throws made and 2.5 free throws made/game. Raivio set the Gonzaga record of 56 consecutive free throws. Daye had 29 straight makes this season.
Head coach Mark Few picked up his 225th career victory Jan. 19 against the University of San Diego. With 232 victories, Few 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 110-13 and fourth on the all-time WCC wins list behind Carroll Williams, Santa Clara University (165-137), Dick Davey, SCU (122-88) and Fitzgerald (112-88).
Gonzaga University has a +13.3 scoring margin overall this season, and a +19.4 scoring margin in West Coast Conference play. Gonzaga is averaging 77.2 ppg overall and 82.9 percent in conference action. However, Saint Mary's leads in scoring margin in both categories among WCC schools, holding a +15.5 margin overall and +19.9 in WCC play.
Gonzaga University men's basketball coach Mark Few added three players to his charges for the 2008-09 season with the signing of three players to letters-of-intent. Andy Poling, 6-11, 230-pound forward from Westview High in Portland, Ore.; Grant Gibbs, 6-5, 190-pound guard from Linn-Mar High in Marion, Iowa, and Demetri Goodson, 6-0, 175-pound guard from Klein Collins High in Spring, Texas, outside of Houston, made their intentions official to become Bulldogs on the first day of national letter-of-intent signing day. All three had previously made verbal commitments. Poling averaged 13.9 ppg last season to rank fifth in the Metro League in scoring while leading the Wildcats to a 21-8 overall record and 8-2 second-place Metro League finish. He was named honorable mention All-State 6A in Westview's first season in the newly-created State 6A classification. He was also voted first-team All-Metro League for the Wildcats, ranked seventh in the state heading into the State 6A Tournament where they lost their first two games. Poling was rated one of the 20 best centers in the country by one scouring service. Gibbs averaged 15.0 ppg, 5.0 assists and 5.0 rpg as Linn-Mar captured the Iowa State 4A title last spring. He had 10 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists in the quarterfinal win over Sioux City North; 20 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 7 steals in the semifinal victory over Urbandale, and scored 15 points, grabbed 8 rebounds, and had a pair of assists and steals in the title game against Bettendorf to cap a 24-1 season. He finished third in tournament scoring with 45 points and tied for fourth with 21 rebounds in earning All-Tournament honors. Goodson helped lead Klein Collins to the Region 2 title game last season while averaging 16.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg and 7.0 assists/game. He was an All-State 5A selection, the largest classification in Texas. Goodson was rated as high as the 135th best player in the country by one scouting service.
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