Bulldogs Play LMU In WCC Tournament Opener
Feb. 26, 2002
Game No. 30 - Loyola Marymount Lions
Saturday, March 2 - Noon PST
West Coast Conference Tournament
Jenny Craig Pavilion - San Diego, CA
Radio: News Talk AM 1510 KGA - Pre-game show at 11:45 a.m. PST
No. 7 GONZAGA UNIVERSITY BULLDOGS (26-3, 13-1 West Coast Conference)
LOYOLA MARYMOUNT UNIVERSITY LIONS (9-19, 2-12 West Coast Conference)
BULLDOGS IN NOON OPENER: Gonzaga University and Loyola Marymount University get the honors to open the West Coast Conference Tournament Saturday at the Jenny Craig Pavilion on the University of San Diego campus. The No. 2 seed Bulldogs, losers of a coin flip with regular-season co-champion Pepperdine University for the top seed, will face the No. 7 Lions at noon as the Bulldogs seek a fourth straight WCC Tournament crown. Pepperdine will meet No. 8 University of Portland following the Gonzaga-LMU opener. Host and No. 5 seed University of San Diego will face No. 4 University of San Francisco at 6 p.m., and the first round concludes with No. 3 Santa Clara University battling Bay Area rival and No. 6 seed Saint Mary's College.
RE-SEED FOR SEMIFINALS: The West Coast Conference will re-seed for Sunday's semifinals. The highest remaining seed will face the lowest remaining seed in one semifinal, and the two middle seeds square off in the other semifinal. Semifinal action starts at 5:30 p.m., with the winner of Saturday's late first-round game automatically placed in Sunday's late semifinal. The championship game, to be nationally televised on ESPN, will be Monday at 9 p.m.
BULLDOGS 7TH IN BOTH POLLS: For the third straight week the pollsters agree as both the Associated Press and USA TODAY/ESPN Top 25 ranked Gonzaga University seventh. It's the highest ranking ever for GU, who moved the seventh spot a week ago. It's the 12th straight week for the GU in the AP rankings since cracking the list Dec. 12 at No. 25, the longest consecutive run by the Bulldogs in school history. Gonzaga had a 7-week appearance from Nov. 8-Dec. 12, 1999. Gonzaga is in the USA TODAY/ESPN poll for the 10th straight week, entering the poll 24th on Dec. 16. This is the highest ranking since the University of San Francisco was ranked seventh on Feb. 2, 1982. The Dons were ranked as high as sixth during the 1981-82 season and were in the Top 10 for six weeks during that season.
BULLDOGS TIE WCC WINS MARK: With a 13-1 record, Gonzaga University tied its West Coast Conference wins record of 13 set last season when the Bulldogs won the regular-season title with a 13-1 mark. The Bulldogs went 12-2 in 1999 and 1994, the latter the Bulldogs' first regular-season WCC crown. Gonzaga has won or shared five regular-season titles since 1994 including three of the last four. The Bulldogs have won four WCC Tournament titles including the last three.
BULLDOGS VS. LIONS: Bill Clinton was just beginning his second term in office the last time Gonzaga University lost to Loyola Marymount University. The Bulldogs have won 14 straight in the series and lead the overall series 38-18. Gonzaga swept both meetings this season, 94-60 in Los Angeles and 72-51 in the re-match in The Kennel. The last time the Lions prevailed was Feb. 2, 1996, in Gersten Pavilion 83-69. Gonzaga has won 20 of the last 22 meetings with LMU dating back to the 1993 campaign.
GU-LMU IN TOURNEY: Saturday's West Coast Conference Tournament opener between Gonzaga University and Loyola Marymount University will be the fifth tournament meeting between the teams. They enter Saturday's fray having split four previous meetings. The last time they met in the tournament was 1998 in a first-round matchup, the top-seeded Bulldogs escaping with a 79-78 overtime victory over the No. 8 Lions on Matt Santangelo's 3-pointer at the buzzer.
SEEKING FOURTH STRAIGHT: Gonzaga University is seeking its fourth straight West Coast Conference Tournament crown. The Bulldogs became the first team to win three straight with last year's title, although Loyola Marymount was awarded the 1990 automatic berth following the second-round death of LMU star Hank Gathers in that year's tournament. LMU had captured the tourney in 1988 and 1989. Pepperdine University (1991-92) joins Gonzaga and LMU as the only other school to win at least two straight WCC Tournament crowns.
NO. 2 SEED IN TOURNEY: The No. 2 seed has won the West Coast Conference Tournament three times. Gonzaga University was the last team to do it in 2000, topping No. 1 Pepperdine University 69-65 in overtime in the only championship game meeting of the top two seeds in the 15-year history of the event. The No. 2 seed has lost in the title game twice, Gonzaga the last to do so in 1996 in a 76-68 setback to No. 5 seed University of Portland. The Bulldogs, a four seed in 1995, defeated No. 2 seed Portland 80-67 for their inaugural WCC Tournament title.
BULLDOGS IN WCC TOURNAMENT: Gonzaga University brings a 20-11 record in West Coast Conference Tournament play into Saturday's first round game against Loyola Marymount University. The Bulldogs lost their first five games in the tournament, and are 20-6 over the past 10 years. Gonzaga's inaugural WCC Tournament win was a 61-48 verdict over the University of San Diego in the 1992 tourney at the University of Portland. The Bulldogs have won four titles been in seven title games and have reached the semifinals nine times.
POUNDING THE BOARDS: Gonzaga University was +31 on the boards last week in road victories over the University of San Francisco and Saint Mary's College. Although official NCAA Statistics weren't to be released until later in the week, last week's effort put Gonzaga's rebounding margin at +9.4, which should be good enough to vault Gonzaga back to the top of the NCAA Division I leaders. The Bulldogs were third last week behind Stanford University and the University of Dayton. However, Dayton slipped to +9.1 and Stanford fell to +8.4 through games of last Saturday. Gonzaga has out rebounded its last five opponents since Santa Clara University out rebounded Gonzaga 32-25, just the seventh time in 29 games the Bulldogs have been out rebounded - 30-29 at home against Saint Mary's College, 47-33 at Pepperdine University (the only time Gonzaga has been out rebounded by double digits), 41-33 at home against Santa Clara University, 31-26 against Marquette University in the title game of the Great Alaska Shootout, 39-36 at home against Washington State University and 35-31 at Saint Joseph's University the others. Gonzaga has held the edge in 22 of 29 outings and has grabbed 50 or more rebounds four times this season - 53 at home against the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 50 at the University of Washington, 51 at home against Eastern Oregon University and 53 against Monmouth University. Cory Violette's career-high 20 rebounds against Fresno State University is tied for the 11th highest single-game total this season in NCAA Division I ranks.
THE 1,000 POINT PLATEAU: Senior guard Dan Dickau (1,031) reached the 1,000-point plateau and junior forward Zach Gourde (942) is closing in on it in their Gonzaga University careers. Dickau has become the 23rd Bulldog to score 1,000 points and he currently ranks 22nd on the all-time Bulldog scoring list. Counting his two seasons at the University of Washington, Dickau has 1,196 career points.
BROOKS OUT: Junior guard Winston Brooks, sidelined since Jan. 6 with a broken right wrist, will not return this season. It was hoped Brooks, who played in the first 14 games with one start, would be able to return by the end of the regular season. But recent x-rays showed the break has not completely healed. He has been in a cast eight weeks, and the original diagnosis was it would take 10-12 weeks to heal. Brooks, a transfer from nearby North Idaho College, was averaging 18.9 minutes/game as a backup to point guard Dan Dickau.
HOST HAS NEVER WON... The host team has never won the West Coast Conference Tournament in 15 years, and only twice has the host advanced to the title game. Santa Clara University, which has hosted the tournament eight times, lost to Gonzaga University in 1999 and to Loyola Marymount University in 1988.
...WHILE TOP SEED HAS DONE BETTER: The top seed in the West Coast Conference Tournament has done a little better than the host, advancing to the championship game eight times and coming away with five titles. Gonzaga won the title in 1999 and 2001 as the No. 1 seed, Pepperdine won back-to-back crowns in 1991-92 as the top seed and Loyola Marymount University was the No. 1 seed in its title run in 1988. No. 1 Pepperdine University fell to Gonzaga in the 2000 championship game, No. 1 Gonzaga lost to the University of San Francisco in 1998 and No. 1 Pepperdine lost to Santa Clara University in 1993.
ELITE COMPANY: Gonzaga University is one of just three schools to advance to the Sweet Sixteen each of the past three seasons. Michigan State University and Duke University are the other two. Duke and MSU appeared in their fourth straight Sweet Sixteen in 2001. Since the bracket expanded to 64 teams in 1985, there have been 18 occasions where teams have had runs of three years or more into the Sweet Sixteen. The University of North Carolina leads the way with a 9-year stretch from 1985-93, followed by Duke with a 7-year run from 1986-92.
BULLDOGS AND THE KENNEL: The Kennel, home of Gonzaga University's Bulldogs, has gained the reputation as one of the toughest courts in the country. In the last 10 seasons the Bulldogs are 128-9 at home for a nifty 93.4 winning percentage after capping a 13-0 home season this year and winning by an average of 24.6 ppg. The Bulldogs went 12-0 at home in 2001, winning by an average of 24.7 ppg. GU is 45-1 in The Kennel over the past four seasons. The 2000 squad was 10-1, and the 1999 Bulldogs completed a 10-0 season in The Kennel, winning by an average of 31.9 ppg. The Bulldogs also posted undefeated home campaigns in 1993 (13-0) and 1994 (14-0), and suffered just one home setback in 1996 and 1998. The Bulldogs put together a 34-game home-court-winning streak from 1992-95, which at the time was the country's second-longest active streak. Gonzaga takes a 26-game home winning streak into next season, the current streak ranking third. Brigham Young University holds the top spot with 35 victories.
BEST START EVER: With a 26-3 record this season, Gonzaga University is off to its best start since joining the NCAA Division I ranks for the 1958-59 season. The 1966-67 campaign saw the Bulldogs start 14-2 prior to dropping three straight and ending the season 19-6. The 1998-99 squad and last year's team were 23-6 after 29 games.
FEW'S THREE-YEAR RUN: Gonzaga University head coach Mark Few probably never thought life as a head coach would be so "sweet." But in his first two seasons as head coach the Bulldogs have advanced to the NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen, one of only two NCAA Division I head coaches to accomplish that feat since the bracket expanded to 64 teams in 1985. Gonzaga, defending national champion Duke University and 2000 national champion Michigan State University are the only three schools to reach the Sweet Sixteen each of the past three seasons. Few was an assistant coach on Gonzaga's run to the 1999 Elite Eight. Few's 2-year record of 52-16 places him among elite company for second-year head coaches. His 2-year total of 52 wins has him tied for third for second-year coaches with Dan Monson, his predecessor at Gonzaga, and Ben Carnevale of the University of North Carolina (1945-46). His 78 wins in his three seasons (78-19) rank third on the list of victories for third-year NCAA Division I head coaches, moving ahead of Roy Williams of the University of Kansas who won 76 games from 1989-91.
FEW NAISMITH FINALIST: Third-year Gonzaga University head coach Mark Few is one of 20 finalists for the Naismith College Basketball Coach of the Year as selected by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. The award will be presented April 5 in Atlanta. For a complete list of finalists visit the Gonzaga web site at http://www.gozags.com.
BULLDOGS HIT 20 WINS AGAIN: Gonzaga University (25-3) has hit the 20-win plateau this season the quickest in school history. The Bulldogs have now won 20 or more games in each of the past five seasons and in eight of the last nine campaigns. The Bulldogs went 26-7 record last season, matching the 2000 win total and second all-time behind only the 1999 school record mark of 28-7. This season is the sixth time the Bulldogs have hit the magic 20-win plateau in the regular season. The 1994 squad took a 20-6 record into the West Coast Conference Tournament, the 1998 team was 21-8 entering the tourney, the 1999 Bulldogs went 22-6 in the regular season, the 2000 squad was 21-8 heading into the WCC Tournament and last year's team was 21-6 entering the WCC fray. Gonzaga's first 20-win season as a NCAA Division I program came in 1992 with a 20-10 mark, falling to Pepperdine University 73-70 in the Bulldogs' first appearance in the WCC Tournament title game.
O-FER FROM THREE: The last time Gonzaga University took the collar from 3-point range was in an 0-for-5 night in The Kennel against the University of Portland on Jan. 27, 1993, a 71-53 Gonzaga victory. Gonzaga has made a 3-point field goal in 294 straight games. Gonzaga made a school record 291 treys in 1999.
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