Bulldogs Seek Perfect WCC Season
Feb. 26, 2006
Game No. 28 - San Francisco Dons
Mon., February 27 - 6 p.m. PST
McCarthey Athletic Center - Spokane, WA
Radio: News Talk 1510 KGA (Spokane)
Pre-game show 30 minutes prior to tipoff
TV: KAYU-TV (Spokane); FSN (Check local listings)
No. 5 GONZAGA UNIVERSITY BULLDOGS (24-3; 13-0 West Coast) G - 5 Derek Raivio, 6-3, 175, Jr., Vancouver, WA (11.4 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 2.7 assists, 1.5 steals) G - 4 Pierre Marie Altidor-Cespedes, 6-0, 181, So., Montreal, Quebec (4.4 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 2.9 assists, 1.0 steals) C - 13 J.P. Batista, 6-9, 269, Sr., Olinda, Pernambuco, Brazil (19.6 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 1.4 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.8 blocks) F - 3 Adam Morrison, 6-8, 205, Jr., Spokane, WA (28.6 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.6 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.4 blocks) F - 32 Sean Mallon, 6-9, 218, Jr., Spokane, WA (7.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.2 assists, 0.3 steals, 0.4 blocks) HEAD COACH: Mark Few (University of Oregon, 1987) GONZAGA RECORD: 183-40 (7th year - 17th at GU) CAREER RECORD: Same
The California Basketball Association was launched for the 1952-53 season, it grew into the West Coast Athletic Conference in 1956 and in 1989 the name was shorted to the current-day West Coast Conference. In the 51 seasons prior to the current season a team had gone undefeated in regular-season conference play nine times. Gonzaga is one game away from its second undefeated in three years. San Francisco visits the McCarthey Athletic Center to bring the curtain down on the regular season Monday at 6 p.m. A victory and the 2006 Bulldogs become the 10th team to run the table in WCC play. Prior to the Bulldogs going undefeated in 2004, nobody had done it since 1992 when Pepperdine posted a 14-0 mark.
Gonzaga had a 12-game winning streak against San Francisco snapped in last year's first meeting at War Memorial Gym, a 73-70 Dons victory. The Bulldogs came back to win the rematch in the McCarthey Athletic Center 75-73 as Adam Morrison hit an 18-foot jumper with less a second to play to break the tie and clinch the regular-season title. Gonzaga won this year's first meeting in San Francisco 84-75 as Adam Morrison had 41 points, 26 in the first half. The Bulldogs have won 28 of the last 34 meetings since losing both games in the series in 1989, the last time the Dons have put together back-to-back wins over GU. USF has lost 16 straight games in Spokane - 15 in the old Kennel and last year in the McCarthey Athletic Center. The last USF win in Spokane was 67-64 on Feb. 10, 1989.
With his fifth 40-point game of the season at Loyola Marymount, Adam Morrison broke Frank Burgess' school record of four set in 1961. Burgess also had three 40-point games in 1960 to give him seven in his career. Burgess, who holds Gonzaga's career scoring record with 2,196 points and is the only Bulldog to lead the nation in scoring with his 32.4ppg in 1961, scored 52 against UC Davis, 44 against Whitworth, 41 against Idaho State and 40 against College of Idaho for his four 40-point games in 1961.
With its 24-3 record, Gonzaga has reached the 20-win plateau for the ninth straight season and for the 12th time in the last 13 seasons. The Bulldogs set a school record for wins with their 28-7 record in 1999 and tied it in 2004 with a 28-3 mark.
The scoring race continues to be heated between Gonzaga's Adam Morrison and Duke's J.J. Redick. Both players were held to season lows last Saturday when they each scored 11. As they have been throughout the high scoring gems they've put up this season, their stats nearly mirrored each other in the season low. Morrison was 3-for-11 from the field, Redick 3-for-10. Morrison missed his only 3-point attempt, Redick went 1-for-6. Morrison was 5-for-6 from the line, Redick 4-for-5. Through the weekend Morrison is averaging 28.6 ppg, Redick 28.0 ppg. Morrison has been the official leader all 11 weeks of the Tuesday statistical release date by the NCAA.
Derek Raivio has climbed a notch to fourth in the latest NCAA Division I free throw percentage statistics, the junior from Vancouver, Wash., connecting on 92.6 percent (63-for-68) of his attempts. Steve Novak of Marquette is the leader according to the latest figures released last week (updated stats will be released on Tuesday), the senior 66-for-67 for 98.5 percent. Raivio either led or was tied for the lead for eight of the first nine reporting weeks of the season until hitting a "mini slump" which saw him go 6-for-9 in a two-game stretch against Stanford and Portland. He had a streak of 26 straight snapped against Stanford when he went 1-for-2. He had a streak of 28 straight snapped against Virginia as he made his first 20 attempts this season to go with his final eight attempts last year. He tied the Gonzaga consecutive made streak of 41 last year. Raivio is a 90.7 percent career shooter from the line (175-for-193).
Gonzaga continues to lead the NCAA Division I home court winning streak list with 37, and in the process extended its school record with last Saturday's win over San Diego. Hofstra has moved ahead of Duke and into second with its 20th straight win, while Duke is third with 19. Gonzaga hosts San Francisco on Monday, Hofstra is idle until the post season and Duke faces North Carolina on March 4. The Bulldogs current streak began Feb. 22, 2003, with a 69-60 win over Tulsa in the inaugural Bracket Buster presented by ESPN.
Gonzaga won its 15th straight game Saturday against San Diego and remains one behind George Washington which owns the nation's longest current winning streak at 16. Gonzaga is tied with Memphis for the second spot. Gonzaga plays San Francisco Monday while GW and Memphis are in action later in the week.
Senior J.P. Batista and junior Adam Morrison have been named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) All-District 14 first team. This marks the eighth straight season the Bulldogs have been represented on the team. Morrison is averaging 29.3 ppg to lead the NCAA Division I ranks. Batista is averaging 19.3 ppg and 9.2 rpg.
J.P. Batista recorded his 16th career double-double and his 12th this season with his 26 points and 11 rebounds Saturday against San Diego.
Pierre Marie Altidor-Cespedes scored a career-high 17 points and hit a single-game best four treys last Monday at Pepperdine. His previous high was 12 last year against San Diego in the title game of the West Coast Conference Tournament. He went 5-for-6 from the field against Pepperdine, including 4-for-5 from beyond the arc.
Derek Raivio is showing signs of coming out of his offensive slump with 12 and 13 points, respectively, in his last two outings. He's 8-for-17 from the field, including 5-for-8 from 3-point range, in the last two games. His 12 points at Pepperdine last Monday was his first double-digit output since he scored 12 points at San Francisco on Jan. 23.
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 extended its streak of consecutive games with a 3-pointer to 420. The last time the Bulldogs failed to hit a trey was Jan. 27, 1993, going 0-for-5 at home against Portland.
Since Gonzaga's streak of seven straight NCAA Tournament appearances began in 1999, the Bulldogs have gone 100-11 in West Coast Conference regular-season play, including 22 straight victories. Overall in that stretch the Bulldogs are 117-12 against WCC foes including WCC Tournament games. The Bulldogs have been most dominant against Saint Mary's, posting a 21-1 overall record and 15-1 regular-season record. Only Pepperdine, San Diego and Santa Clara have managed to beat the Bulldogs more than once over the last eight seasons. Pepperdine and USD have turned the trick three times each, while SCU has a pair of wins over the Bulldogs. The Bulldogs lost 73-70 at San Francisco last season before running off nine straight to end the regular season, and have opened this season with 13 straight. Dating back to last season's WCC Tournament the Bulldogs have won 24 straight over WCC competition. Gonzaga, which has won or shared seven of the last eight WCC regular-season titles, went 14-0 in West Coast Conference play in 2004, the first team since Pepperdine in 1992 to run the table. The Bulldogs posted back-to-back 13-1 seasons in 2001-02.
Gonzaga University men's basketball coach Mark Few has signed three players to letters-of-intent for the 2006-07 season. Joining the Bulldogs next fall will be Matt Bouldin, a 6-5 guard from ThunderRidge High in Highlands Ranch., Colo., 6-9 forward Abdullahi (ob-duh-lie) Kuso out of Tallahassee, Fla., Community College and 7-3 center Will Foster from White River High in Buckley, Wash. Bouldin was the Colorado Player of the Year as a junior, averaging 15 ppg and 8 assists/game for the 24-4 Grizzlies. ThunderRidge has been in the State 5A title game each of his three previous seasons, capturing the title as a freshman in 2003 and taking the runner-up trophy each of the past two seasons. Kuso played 15 games and averaged 11.6 ppg, 8.8 rpg and 1.5 blocks/game last season for coach Eddie Barnes. He was named to the Panhandle Conference All-Academic team. He had originally signed a letter-of-intent to attend Rutgers University, but never played for the Scarlet Knights. He attended Rimi College in his native Kaduna, Nigeria. Foster's White River team, a member of the Seamount League, has advanced to the Washington State 3A Tournament each of the past three years and has posted a 57-21 overall record in that span.
Gonzaga has slipped to second in the NCAA Division I team free throw chase. The Bulldogs went into the weekend heading the list at 78.7 percent, and despite going 13-for-16 Saturday against San Diego to improve their percentage to 78.9 percent, the Bulldogs were passed by New Hampshire. The Wildcats went 15-for-16 in a win over Albany to push their mark to 79.1 percent. Saint Joseph's is third at 78.5 percent. Gonzaga has had 13 games this season of 20 or more free throws made. The Bulldogs went 27-for-28 for 96.4 percent against Michigan State for the second-best percentage in school history, and 25-for-26 at Saint Mary's for 96.2 percent and the third best single-game percentage in school history. Gonzaga went 20-for-20 against Eastern Washington on Dec. 11, 1993, for the school record. The Gonzaga single-season record is 79.0 percent set by the 1989 squad.
"To be continued." That's the way Rev. Anthony "Tony" Joseph Lehmann, S.J., known to a legion of friends and admirers as simply "Father Tony", always chose to end his conversations. It was his outlook on life - and immortality. The priest who was perhaps best known - and recognized - as the guy at the end of the Gonzaga basketball bench for years, will have his legacy honored in the McCarthey Athletic Center for all to see and remember. An empty, towel-draped bronze chair - with a basketball on the floor nearby - has been installed in the northeast foyer of the McCarthey Athletic Center. On the chair is the inscription: In loving memory of Fr. Tony Lehmann, S.J. "to be continued..." Fr. Lehmann passed away March 8, 2002, after a short battle with leukemia. "We wanted to do something to pay tribute to a man who dedicated a good portion of his life to Gonzaga University and Bulldog athletics. He was an ambassador for all of us," athletic director Mike Roth said. The work was sculpted by local artist Vincent De Felice, a lifelong Spokane resident who began attending GU basketball games at "about the age of 10." De Felice said he began the 150-pound sculpture in September. Among De Felice's other works people may recognize are the Fr. Pierre DeSmet bronze bust in front of the Administration Building, a bronze crucifix located in the Gonzaga Law School chapel and the bronze statue of Joe Fan that adorns Spokane's Joe Albi Stadium. Fr. Lehmann was born Sept. 10, 1928, in Pinckneyville, Ill., and passed away and returned to his beloved Lord on March, 8, 2002, in the Jesuit House Infirmary at Gonzaga from complications from leukemia.
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