Bulldogs Try To Cap Perfect WCC Season On Road

Feb. 25, 2009

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Men's Basketball Game Facts
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
TV: ESPN2
No. 17/17 GONZAGA UNIVERSITY BULLDOGS (21-5; 12-0 West Coast)
G -   2 Jeremy Pargo, 6-2, 220, Sr., Chicago, IL
       (9.6 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 5.2 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 - 22 Micah Downs, 6-8, 194, Sr., Kirkland, WA
       (8.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 1.2 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.5 blocks)
C -  42 Josh Heytvelt, 6-11, 260, Sr., Clarkston, WA
       (15.0 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 0.6 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.9 blocks)
F -   5 Austin Daye, 6-11, 200, So., Irvine, CA
       (13.1 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.0 assists, 0.8 steals, 2.1 blocks)
HEAD COACH:  Mark Few (University of Oregon, 1987)
GONZAGA RECORD:  257-65 (10th year - 20th at GU)  CAREER RECORD:  Same

SANTA CLARA UNIVERSITY BRONCOS (14-15; 7-6 West Coast) G - 3 Calvin Johnson, 6-2, 200, Sr., Morton, TX (2.0 ppg, 0.8 rpg, 1.0 assists) G - 21 Kevin Foster, 6-2, 210, Fr., Katy, TX (14.4 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2.5 assists, 1.2 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, 13.7 rpg, 1.0 assists, 0.6 steals, 2.6 blocks) F - 15 Marc Trasolini, 6-9, 235, Fr., Vancouver, B.C. (5.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 0.5 assists, 0.4 steals, 1.4 blocks) HEAD COACH: Kerry Keating (Seton Hall, 1993) SCU RECORD: 29-30 (2nd year) CAREER RECORD: Same. GAMES PRIOR TO GONZAGA: None.

Game No. 28 - University of San Diego
Saturday, February 28 - 4:30 p.m. PST
Jenny Craig Pavilion - San Diego, 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
TV: ESPN2
UNIVERSITY OF SAN DIEGO TOREROS (14-14; 5-7 West Coast)
G -  20 Matt Dorr, 6-4, 196, So., Spokane, WA
      (6.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 2.4 assists, 0.6 steals)
G -  23 De'Jon Jackson, 6-2, 200, Jr., Fresno, CA
       (8.4 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 2.2 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.3 blocks)
C -   33 Clinton Houston, 6-7, 228, So., Dallas, TX
       (1.1 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 0.4 steals)
C -   21 Gyno Pomare, 6-8, 240, Sr., Oceanside, CA
       (14.0 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 0.9 assists, 1.0 steals, 1.1 blocks)
F -    22 Rob Jones, 6-6, 230, So., San Francisco, CA
        (9.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.5 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.7 blocks)
HEAD COACH:  Bill Grier (Oregon, 1990)
USD RECORD:  36-28 (2nd year)  CAREER RECORD:  Same
GAMES PRIOR TO GONZAGA:  2/26 vs. Portland.
NOTE: Ranking is Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN.

Gonzaga University goes on the road to try and wrap up its third undefeated West Coast Conference season in six seasons when the Bulldogs face Santa Clara University Thursday and the University of San Diego Saturday. The Zags take a 12-0 WCC record into their final regular-season road trip of the season.

In the current alignment of the West Coast Conference which has been in effect since the 1980-81 season, no team has gone undefeated three times in conference play. Pepperdine (1982 and 1992) and Gonzaga (2004 and 2006) have accomplished the feat twice. With two wins this week the Bulldogs will reach another milestone by becoming the first WCC team in the current alignment to have three unblemished conference marks.

There wasn't much drama in Gonzaga University's homestand last week. Josh Heytvelt had a career-high 28 points and 11 rebounds as Gonzaga routed Pepperdine University 92-58 on Saturday night. On Thursday, the Bulldogs blew out Loyola Marymount University 91-54. Matt Bouldin added 16 points for Gonzaga, which has already clinched the top seed in the conference tournament. Freshman Keion Bell scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead Pepperdine, which has lost 16 straight to Gonzaga dating to 2002. The Waves reached 20 losses for the fourth straight season. Micah Downs added 14 points and Jeremy Pargo 12 as the Bulldogs shot 57 percent despite making only five of 20 3-pointers. Gonzaga, which has the best field-goal defense in the nation, held Pepperdine to 34 percent shooting. The Bulldogs jumped to a 26-16 lead behind 10 points by Heytvelt. Gonzaga led 48-25 at halftime, behind 16 points each by Heytvelt and Matt Bouldin. Heytvelt scored four baskets early in the second as the Bulldogs made eight of their first nine shots to build a 64-34 lead.

With a 21-5 overall record, Gonzaga University has recorded 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.

Gonzaga University has been on fire from the field the last three games. After shooting a season-best 60.0 percent from the field (30-for-50) 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 and 56.9 percent (37-for-65) against Pepperdine University in last week's home sweep. That makes the Bulldogs 98-for-176 in the last three games for 55.7 percent.

Gonzaga University stood pat at No. 17 in this week's Associated Press Top 25 and moved up three spots to 17th in the USA Today/ESPN balloting following last week's home sweep of Loyola Marymount University and Pepperdine University. A week of upsets saw Pittsburgh move from fourth to first, the second time the Panthers had been atop the poll this season. The Bulldogs have been as high as fourth in both polls.

Last 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 had three assists last Saturday and moved ahead of former Gonzaga University great and probably soon-to-be NBA Hall of Famer John Stockton for third on the all-time Bulldog assists list at 557. Stockton retired from the NBA as its all-time leader in assists and steals. Pargo has 159 career steals to move into third ahead of Blake Stepp.

Senior Josh Heytvelt scored a career-high 28 points and grabbed 11 rebounds last Saturday against Pepperdine University for his 10th career double-double.

In the first meeting with Santa Clara University this season in Spokane, Austin Daye scored 20 points to lead five players in double figures as Gonzaga routed the Broncos 95-53. Matt Bouldin added 16 points, Steven Gray 15, Josh Heytvelt 11 and Jeremy Pargo 11 for Gonzaga, which put on a display of dunks and 3-pointers. John Bryant scored 12 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for SCU. It was his 12th double-double of the season. James Rahon added 14 points for the Broncos. The Broncos, who lost their previous four games by a total of 15 points, suffered easily their worst loss of the season. Gonzaga shot 55 percent in the game, dominated the rebounding 46-29, and forced the Broncos into 36 percent shooting and 17 turnovers.

Gonzaga University has won 19 straight West Coast Conference regular-season games. The last team to hand the Bulldogs a WCC defeat was Saint Mary's College 89-85 in overtime in Moraga last season. The Bulldogs went 13-1 last season in winning the WCC regular-season title by one game over the Gaels.

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 62-3 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 257-65 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 125-13, 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 was also a John R. Wooden Award Pre-Season Top 50 candidate, and along with teammate Josh Heytvelt was 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 last weekend and with it the No. 1 seed into the West Coast Conference Tournament March 6-9 at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Nev. The Bulldogs, as the top seed, will not play until the Sunday semifinal at 6:30 p.m. against the No. 4, No. 5 or No. 8 finisher. The No. 5 vs. No. 8 game will take place on Friday, with the winner facing No. 4 Saturday. That winner faces the Bulldogs in Sunday's first semifinal. The No. 2 finisher will play the No. 3, No. 6 or No. 7 seed in the 8:30 p.m. semifinal. No. 6 meets No. 7 on Friday with the winner facing No. 3 Saturday. That winner meets No. 2 in Sunday's second semifinal. The title game will be Monday at 6 p.m. with the winner receiving the automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.

The nine straight West Coast Conference regular-season titles by Gonzaga University marks 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 36.8 percent (559-for-1526) from the field. The Bulldogs held Loyola Marymount University to 31.7 percent and Pepperdine University to 33.9 percent from the field in last week's sweep. Gonzaga has held 18 opponents under 40.0 percent from the field this season. 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.

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, Loyola Marymount University 44-31 and Pepperdine University 41-37. Gonzaga has held a double-digit edge in rebounding nine times this season. Gonzaga is 16-1 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.

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.

Sophomore Austin Daye continues to climb up the all-time Gonzaga University blocked shots list. He now has 108 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, and junior Matt Bouldin and senior Josh Heytvelt became the 31st and 32nd members, respectively. Pargo has 1,146 career points to move past Zach Gourde (1,145) and into 21st. Heytvelt has 1,054 to tie Jarrod Davis for 28th and Bouldin has 1,051 for 30th. 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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