Bulldogs Set Sights On WCC Tournament

Feb. 28, 2007

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Men's Basketball Game Facts
Game No. 32 - Opponent TBD
West Coast Conference Tournament Semifinal
Sunday, March 4 - 6:30 p.m.
Chiles Center - Portland, OR
Radio: News Talk 1510 KGA (Spokane); 1340 KCTR (Tri-Cities); 980 KUSA (Yakima)
Pre-game show 30 minutes prior to tipoff
TV: ESPN2
No. 1 Seed GONZAGA UNIVERSITY BULLDOGS (21-10; 11-3 West Coast)
G -   2 Jeremy Pargo, 6-2, 219, So., Chicago, IL
       (12.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 4.7 assists, 1.5 steals)
G -   5 Derek Raivio, 6-3, 177, Sr., Vancouver, WA
       (18.0 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 2.5 assists, 1.4 steals)
G -  15 Matt Bouldin, 6-5, 214, Fr., Highlands Ranch, CO
       (8.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.0 assists, 0.8 steals)
F -  32 Sean Mallon, 6-9, 223, Sr., Spokane, WA
       (8.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 0.8 assists, 0.4 steals)
F -  31 Abdullahi Kuso, 6-9, 228, Jr., Kaduna, Nigeria
      (4.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 0.3 assists, 0.4 steals, 1.2 blocks)
HEAD COACH:  Mark Few (University of Oregon, 1987)
GONZAGA RECORD:  209-51 (8th year - 18th at GU)  CAREER RECORD:  Same
No. 4 Seed UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO DONS (13-17; 8-6 West Coast)

The Dons and the Bulldogs hooked up the last weekend of the regular season in San Francisco with the Bulldogs taking an 86-79 overtime victory. Antonio Kellogg nearly shot the Dons to victory, going 9-for-18 from the field including 6-of-12 from 3-point range while scoring a game-high 26 points. But Derek Raivio went 8-for-8 from the line in OT and Matt Bouldin dished out three of his four assists in the extra session to propel the Zags. It was the third straight year the Bulldogs have had a close call against USF, the other two in Spokane - 75-72 last year and 75-73 the previous year on last-second shots. Gonzaga has won 31 of the last 36 meetings with USF since losing both games in the series in 1989, the last time the Dons have put together back-to-back wins over the Bulldogs. Gonzaga has won nine of the last 10 games at USF, the Dons taking a 73-70 decision in 2005 to snap a 12-game losing streak in the series. Gonzaga and USF has met just once in the 20 previous WCC Tournaments, the Dons taking an 80-67 victory in the 1998 title game at Santa Clara University.

No. 5 Seed UNIVERSITY OF SAN DIEGO TOREROS (16-13; 6-8 West Coast)

The Bulldogs ended the regular season against the Toreros in San Diego last Monday, taking a 74-64 victory and gaining the WCC regular-season title outright for the seventh straight season. USD went on a 13-0 run to end the half and draw into a 32-32 halftime tie. USD still led 45-42 before the Bulldogs went on an 18-5 run spearheaded by Micah Downs who scored the final 9 points in the spurt. Jeremy Pargo scored 10 of his 15 points in the final 12:10. Gonzaga has won 10 straight and 20 of the last 22 meetings with USD. The last USD victory in the series came in the 2003 West Coast Conference Tournament title game hosted by the Toreros 72-63. Gonzaga is 8-4 against USD in WCC Tournament play, and leads the series 48-20.

No. 8 Seed PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY WAVES (8-22; 4-10 West Coast)

At the end of the 1993 season Gonzaga University trailed Pepperdine University 26-6 in their series dating back to 1965, but with a season sweep this series the Bulldogs have taken a 32-31 edge. As dominating as the Waves were from 1965-93, the Bulldogs have been as dominating since. The Bulldogs have won 12 straight against the Waves, and Gonzaga has gone 26-5 in the last 14 seasons counting this year's sweep. Pepperdine's last win was 88-79 in Malibu, Calif., on Jan. 18, 2002. The teams have split six WCC Tournament meetings, three of them title-game match-ups including the 1992 tourney in Portland won by the Waves. Gonzaga won title-game meetings in 2000 and 2002, both times the No. 2 Bulldogs defeating the No. 1 Waves.

Gonzaga is 30-12 overall in the West Coast Conference Tournament, the Bulldogs losing their first five tournament games before beating San Diego in the 1992 first round at Portland. Gonzaga lost to Pepperdine in the Bulldogs inaugural appearance in the final. The Bulldogs won their first WCC Tournament in 1995 as John Rillie scored a tournament-record 96 points that still stands as the Bulldogs came in as the No. 4 seed and beat San Diego, Saint Mary's and Portland on the way to the title.

Gonzaga University sophomore Micah Downs has been named the West Coast Conference Player of the Week for his role in helping spark the Bulldogs to their seventh straight West Coast Conference regular-season title. The transfer from the University of Kansas, who saw his first action for the Bulldogs on Jan. 13, averaged 18.0 ppg and 4.5 rpg while shooting an impressive 63.6 percent from the field (14-for-22) as Gonzaga won two road games. The 6-8 guard also displayed the long range shooting prowess that made him a McDonald's All-American coming out of high school, knocking down 6-of-9 attempts (66.7 percent) from beyond the arc. After scoring a career-high 19 points the previous week against the University of Memphis, he began his Player of the Week campaign with 16 points at USF on 6-of-12 from the field including 4-for-6 from 3-point range. He exploded for a career-high 20 points on a blistering 80 percent (8-of-10) shooting from the floor in the Zags' 74-64 title-clinching win at USD, scoring the final 9 points of an 18-5 Bulldog run that all but put the game away. In his last three games from the field he is 22-for-39 for 56.4 percent, including 9-for-17 from 3-point range for 52.9 percent.

Gonzaga University head coach Mark Few earned his 200th career victory Jan. 13 at Santa Clara University. It was his 200th victory in his 247th game in his eight years as head coach, ranking him third on the "Fastest To 200 Wins" list in NCAA Division I history. Clair Bee, who coached Rider University and Long Island University, heads the list with 231 games while former Long Beach State University and UNLV head coach Jerry Tarkanian reached 200 wins in 234 games. Few is tied for 15th on the "Fastest To 100 Wins" list, achieving that milestone is his 126th game. Few is also 97-11 in West Coast Conference play, having coached his 100th WCC game Jan. 8 in a 69-52 home win over Pepperdine University. The Bulldogs win over the University of San Francisco on Jan. 27 was Few's 250th game as head coach of the Bulldogs.

Don't think Gonzaga University has a tough schedule? Ten teams on the Bulldogs schedule have been ranked at some point this season, including eight currently ranked. The University of Memphis is sixth in the Associated Press Poll and seventh in the USA Today/ESPN balloting. The University of North Carolina is ranked eighth in both polls after holding the top spot earlier this season. Other ranked teams include the University of Nevada, Washington State University, Duke University, University of Texas, Butler University and the University of Virginia. The University of Washington and Stanford University were ranked at the time they played the Bulldogs. Stanford received votes in the AP poll this week. The eight ranked teams have a record of 186-42.

Derek Raivio became the 29th member of Gonzaga University's 1,000-point club earlier this season and now has 1,402 career points to rank 14th. He moved past John Stockton (1,340), Cory Violette (1,342) and Bill Suter (1,354) with his 21 points against the University of Memphis. The senior from Vancouver, Wash., is averaging 11.3 ppg in his career. Raivio's 239 career 3-pointers, 571 3-point attempts and 334 steals all rank fourth on the Gonzaga career charts, while his 152 steals tie him for third with Blake Stepp. His 323 career free throws moved him past John Stockton and into ninth ahead of Matt Santangelo.

Freshman Matt Bouldin matched his career high with 21 points in Gonzaga University's 86-79 overtime victory at the University of San Francisco on the final weekend of the regular season. He went 8-for-11 from the field and 5-for-7 from the line to equal his point production he had against the University of Washington on Dec. 9 in the McCarthey Athletic Center. Bouldin had two points in the overtime and handed out three of his four assists in the overtime, all three assists leading to easy baskets including a Jeremy Pargo dunk on a length-of-the-court fast break "football" pass.

The flu bug touched Gonzaga University the last weekend of the regular season. Reserve forward David Burgess didn't make the California swing, and Jeremy Pargo, Derek Raivio and Matt Bouldin were under the weather Monday at the University of San Diego.

Gonzaga University head men's basketball coach announced the signing of four players to national letters-of-intent to join the Bulldogs next fall. Scheduled to join the Bulldogs next season are freshmen Austin Daye, Woodbridge High in Irvine, Calif.; Steven Gray, Bainbridge High, Bainbridge, Wash., and Robert Sacre (pronounced sack-rEE), Handsworth Secondary School, North Vancouver, British Columbia, and junior college transfer Ira Brown, Phoenix, Ariz., College who hails from Conroe, Texas. Daye, a 6-10, 190-pound wing, was ranked as the 32nd-best player nationally and as the ninth best small forward by one scouting service in the Class of 2007. He was named to the Long Beach Press Telegram Best in the West first team as the seventh-leading vote getter and was named to the Hot 100 players for 2007 as selected by Sports Illustrated. Daye averaged 16 ppg, 9 rpg and 3.4 blocks/game as a junior for coach John Halagan. Gray, a 6-4, 190-pound guard, was ranked as the 52nd best player and the 13th best shooting guard in the Class of 2007. He was also named to the Long Beach Press Telegram Best in the West second team. He averaged 24.2 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 4 assists and 2.5 steals last season for coach Scott Orness. Sacre, a 7-0, 255-pound post, was rated as the 100th best player in the Class of '07 and the seventh best center. He averaged 25 ppg, 12 rpg and 4 blocks/game for Handsworth Secondary School and coach Randy Storey last season, earning MVP of the British Columbia Provincial Tournament. Brown, a 6-4, 235-pound forward, was ranked as the 42nd best junior college player in the country after averaging 17 ppg, 10 rpg and shooting 60 percent from the field for Phoenix College and Coach Matt Gordon. A late bloomer to the collegiate game, Brown graduated from Willis High in Texas in May of 2001 and pursued a professional baseball career. He was drafted in the eight round of the 2001 Major League Draft by the Kansas City Royals and played four seasons of minor league baseball, including the 2002 season with the Spokane Indians of the Northwest League. He attended Phoenix College last season, averaging 17.1 ppg, 9.9 rpg, shooting 57.6 percent from the field (253-for-439) and blocking 59 shots. "This is the first time we've ever had a class nationally ranked," Few said of the recruiting class ranked 11th best in the nation by one scouting service. "We got some offense, we got some size and we got some athleticism. This is a talented group."

Gonzaga is tied for eighth for the longest active NCAA Tournament Appearances Streak. The Bulldogs made their eighth straight appearance in 2006, joining Wisconsin, Texas and Florida. Arizona extended its streak to 22 with last spring's selection, followed by Kansas (17), Kentucky (15), Duke (11) and Michigan State (9). Streaks that ended in 2006 were Cincinnati (14), Stanford (11) and Oklahoma State (8).

Gonzaga has extended its streak of consecutive games with a 3-pointer to 455. The last time the Bulldogs failed to hit a trey was Jan. 27, 1993, going 0-for-5 at home against Portland. UNLV held the all-time streak of 601 entering the current season.

Derek Raivio, who earlier this season set a school and West Coast Conference record with 44 straight free throws, saw his most recent streak end at 56 when he missed his first free throw attempt in the season finale at the University of San Diego. Raivio had gone 10-for-10 two days earlier at the University of San Francisco to run his school and West Coast Conference consecutive made streak to 56. He had also set the mark earlier this season when he made 44 straight. He's gone at least 10-for-10 in a game three times this season - going 10-10 against Baylor University and 12-12 against Santa Clara University in addition to the USF 10-for-10. Prior to connecting on 44 straight he had shared the school record of 41 with Geoff Goss. Through games of Sunday he was leading the NCAA in free throw shooting, connecting on 125-of-130 for 96.2 percent. He's currently 128-for-134 for 95.5 percent which would still lead the country. He is a career 92.3 percent (323-for-350) shooter from the line, currently first in NCAA history. Gary Buchanan of Villanova was the career leader heading into the season at 91.3 percent (324-for-355). The career leader is based on a minimum of 300 free throws made and 2.5/game.

Sophomore David Pendergraft finished the regular season strong. In the final four games he went 18-for-27 from the field for 66.7 percent, including 4-for-7 from 3-point range. He also scored 44 points for an 8.5 average and grabbed 20 rebounds. His 15 points at home against the University set a career high and his 9 rebounds at the University of San Francisco tied a career high as did his four assists against Portland.

Abdullahi Kuso started the final six games of the regular season, going 17-for-26 from the field for 65.4 percent with 40 points and 41 rebounds. He grabbed 11 rebounds in Gonzaga University's overtime victory at the University of San Francisco, his second double-digit rebounding night of the season.

 

 

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