Bulldogs Face Final Hurdle For 14-0 WCC Season

Feb. 27, 2009

Men's Basketball Game Facts
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
No. 17/17 GONZAGA UNIVERSITY BULLDOGS (22-5; 13-0 West Coast)
G -   2 Jeremy Pargo, 6-2, 220, Sr., Chicago, IL
       (9.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 5.2 assists, 1.3 steals)
G - 15 Matt Bouldin, 6-5, 224, Jr., Highlands Ranch, CO
       (13.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 3.1 assists, 1.5 steals)
G - 22 Micah Downs, 6-8, 194, Sr., Kirkland, WA
       (8.7 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.2 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.5 blocks)
C -  42 Josh Heytvelt, 6-11, 260, Sr., Clarkston, WA
       (15.5 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 0.6 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.9 blocks)
F -   5 Austin Daye, 6-11, 200, So., Irvine, CA
       (13.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.0 assists, 0.8 steals, 2.0 blocks)
HEAD COACH:  Mark Few (University of Oregon, 1987)
GONZAGA RECORD:  258-65 (10th year - 20th at GU)  CAREER RECORD:  Same

UNIVERSITY OF SAN DIEGO TOREROS (15-14; 6-7 West Coast) G - 20 Matt Dorr, 6-4, 196, So., Spokane, WA (6.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.4 assists, 0.7 steals) G - 23 De'Jon Jackson, 6-2, 200, Jr., Fresno, CA (8.6 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 2.3 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) F - 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 - 12 Chris Lewis, 6-7, 215, Jr., Bedford, TX (4.4 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 0.5 assists, 0.4 steals) HEAD COACH: Bill Grier (Oregon, 1990) USD RECORD: 37-28 (2nd year) CAREER RECORD: Same GAMES PRIOR TO GONZAGA: None.

Game No. 29 - USC Upstate
Tuesday, March 3 - 6 p.m. PST
McCarthey Athletic Center - Spokane, WA
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: KHQ-TV (Spokane); FSN (check local listing)

USC UPSTATE SPARTANS (8-20; 7-12 Atlantic Sun)
G -  13 Gabor Boros, 6-4, 198, Sr., Debrecen, Hungary
      (5.3 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 1.5 assists, 0.5 steals)
G -  20 Josh Chavis, 5-9, 170, So., Greensboro, NC
       (8.1 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 2.4 assists, 0.9)
C -   14 Nick Schneiders, 7-3, 250, Jr., Rietberg, Germany
       (9.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 1.0 assists, 0.5 steals, 2.4 blocks)
F -   21 Mezie Uzochukwu, 6-5, 220, So., Greensboro, NC
       (6.5 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 1.4 assists, 0.9)
F -    23 Bobby Davis, 6-6, 230, Sr., Aiken, SC
        (14.8 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 2.6 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.6 blocks)
HEAD COACH:  Eddie Payne (Wake Forest, 1973)
USCU RECORD:  108-97 (6th year)  CAREER RECORD:  368-330 (23rd year)
GAMES PRIOR TO GONZAGA:  2/28 vs. Kennesaw State.
NOTE: Ranking is Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN.

Gonzaga University tries to wrap up an unprecedented third 14-0 West Coast Conference season Saturday when the Bulldogs meet the University of San Diego coached by former Bulldog assistant coach Bill Grier. The matinee starts at 4:30 p.m. at the Jenny Craig Pavilion. The Bulldogs still have one more regular-season game remaining following Saturday's tilt as USC Upstate visits the McCarthey Athletic Center Tuesday for a Senior Night contest.

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 a win in the WCC finale Saturday at the University of San Diego the Bulldogs will reach another milestone by becoming the first WCC team in the current alignment to have three unblemished conference marks.

Josh Heytvelt scored a career-high 29 points and Matt Bouldin added 23, helping Gonzaga University defeat Santa Clara 81-73 Thursday and remain undefeated in the West Coast Conference. The Bulldogs beat Santa Clara for the fifth straight time and the 18th time in the past 19 meetings. Freshman guard Kevin Foster led Santa Clara with 20 points. The game was tied 56-56 with 7:50 to play. Gonzaga went on an 11-2 run that started with a three-point play by Heytvelt. Two of Gonzaga's points during the run came on two free throws by Bouldin when Santa Clara was hit with a technical foul after fans threw objects on the court, protesting a foul call. Santa Clara coach Kerry Keating implored to crowd to refrain from throwing objects, but later in the game, his team was hit with another technical when another object was thrown from the stands. Bouldin made two more free throws. Gonzaga trailed 53-50 with 11:10 left, surged to a 56-53 lead then watched Santa Clara tie it 56-56 with 7:50 left on Rahon's three-point play. Gonzaga scored six quick points and Heytvelt then scored on a putback of his own miss and drew a foul from Ben Dowdell. That's when the crowd erupted, and a plastic bottle sailed toward the court, near Gonzaga's players. Bouldin made both shots on the technical and Heytvelt completed his three-point play, putting Gonzaga ahead 67-58 with 4:36 left. The 6-foot-11 Heytvelt was coming off a career-high 28 points last week in a victory over Pepperdine.

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.

Gonzaga University has hit the 20-win mark for a 12th-straight 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 four 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, 56.9 percent (37-for-65) against Pepperdine University and 52.9 percent (27-for-51) Thursday at Santa Clara University. That makes the Bulldogs 125-for-227 in the last four games for 55.1 percent. Gonzaga is shooting 50.5 percent in WCC play. The Zags had a five-game stretch last season where they shot 50.0 percent or better.

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, Pargo now with 562. Stockton retired from the NBA as its all-time leader in assists and steals. Pargo has 160 career steals to move into third ahead of Blake Stepp.

In the first meeting between Gonzaga University and the University of San Diego this season, Austin Daye scored 17 points in a 64-47 Bulldog win. Josh Heytvelt added 13 points for Gonzaga. Danny Brown led San Diego with 11 points. The Toreros shot just 33 percent in the game and were outrebounded 44-25. Gonzaga missed its first six shots and fell behind 6-2 before holding the Toreros scoreless for nearly 7 minutes. The Bulldogs ran off 14 points with just over 7 minutes left in the half. Daye scored the first three baskets of the second half as Gonzaga its lead to 37-23 by making five of its first seven shots. Heytvelt's 3-pointer capped a 7-0 run that lifted the Zags to a 47-28 lead with 10 minutes left. USD hit four 3-pointers to close the gap to 53-40 but could get no closer.

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 258-65 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 126-13, 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 according to statistics through last weekend's games, 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. Santa Clara University shot a season-high 46.8 percent (29-for-62) against the Bulldogs. 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).

Gonzaga University has won 20 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.

When Gonzaga University takes the court Saturday at the University of San Diego the Bulldogs will be returning to the court where they lost the West Coast Conference Tournament title a year ago to the host Toreros. That snapped Gonzaga's 13-game winning streak in the series, but the Bulldogs started another streak with a win in this year's first meeting in Spokane. Gonzaga has still won 27 of the last 32 meetings against USD and is 10-2 against the Toreros in the Jenny Craig Pavilion since it opened its doors for the 2000-01 season. Both losses came in WCC Tournament title games in 2003 and 2008. The Bulldogs are 8-0 in regular-season games against USD in the Jenny Craig. Gonzaga's overall record in the building counting WCC Tournament games is 15-2.

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 109 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 1,156 career points to move past Zach Gourde (1,145) and into 21st. Heytvelt has 1,083 to tie Frank Walter for 25th and Bouldin has 1,074 for 26th. 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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