Bulldogs Await West Coast Conference Tournament Semifinal Foe

March 4, 2010

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Men's Basketball Game Facts
Game No. 31 - Opponent TBD
Sunday, March 7 - 5:30 p.m. PST
Orleans Arena (7,471) - Las Vegas, NV
Radio: Sports Talk 1510 KGA (Spokane); 101.1 KEYF-FM (Spokane)
Network pre-game show 60 minutes prior to tipoff
No. 1 Seed GONZAGA UNIVERSITY BULLDOGS (25-5; 12-2 West Coast)
G -   3 Demetri Goodson, 5-11, 164, So., Spring, TX
       (6.5 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 1.7 assists, 1.0 steals)
G - 15 Matt Bouldin, 6-5, 224, Sr., Highlands Ranch, CO
       (16.0 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 4.1 assists, 1.5 steals)
G - 32 Steven Gray, 6-5, 208, Jr., Bainbridge, WA
       (13.4 pg, 4.1 rpg, 2.6 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.4 blocks)
C - 00 Robert Sacre, 7-0, 247, So., North Vancouver, B.C.
       (10.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 0.5 assists, 0.6 steals, 1.9 blocks)
F -  20 Elias Harris, 6-8, 215, Fr., Speyer, Germany
       (14.9 ppg, 7.4 rpg, 1.2 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.5 blocks)
HEAD COACH:  Mark Few (University of Oregon, 1987)
GONZAGA RECORD:  289-71 (11th year - 21st at GU)  CAREER RECORD:  Same
No. 4 Seed UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO DONS (12-17; 7-7 West Coast)
The Bulldog and the Dons met in the West Coast Conference regular-season finale in the McCarthey Athletic Center, Gonzaga avenging an 81-77 overtime loss with a 75-69 victory. Got 17 points from Elias Harris and Robert Sacre had 13 points and seven blocks as Gonzaga wrapped up its 10th straight league title. USF pulled within 72-69 on Moustapha Diarra's putback with 18.9 seconds left, and it looked like the Dons were ready to make some history. But they were forced to foul and did not score again, while Gonzaga put things away from the foul line. Dior Lowhorn hit consecutive 3-pointers in overtime and scored 22 points, leading San Francisco to an 81-77 upset in the first meeting, handing the Bulldogs their first WCC setback. Matt Bouldin scored Gonzaga's only three baskets in the extra session. Lowhorn went 5-of-7 on 3-pointers after coming in 8-for-47 from long range this season to end a 27-game Gonzaga WCC regular-season winning streak.

No. 5 Seed LOYOLA MARYMOUNT UNIVERSITY LIONS (16-14; 7-7 West Coast)
Shooting woes hampered Gonzaga and the Lions got balanced scoring with five players in double figures in a 74-66 upset in the second meeting in Los Angeles. The Bulldogs had won 13 of their last 14 games and four in a row heading into the contest. The Bulldogs shot just 34.4 percent from the field (21-for-61) for the game, their lowest percentage since shooting 27.8 percent (15-for-54) in a mid-December loss to Duke University in Madison Square Garden. Gonzaga began the game 4-for-4 from 3-point range then hit just two of its next 12 shots from beyond the arc to finish 6-for-16. Elias Harris went 4-for-11 and Rob Sacre 0-for-5 inside, and Matt Bouldin (3-for-12) and Steven Gray (4-for-14) were cold from the perimeter. The Lions got 17 points from Ashley Hamilton, 16 from Drew Viney, 12 off the bench from Larry Davis, 11 from Kevin Young and 10 from Jarrod DuBois. Viney also contributed 10 rebounds and five assists. The victory was the Lions' first over a ranked team since the 1990 NCAA tournament, when they defeated the University of Alabama in the West Regional semifinals. Harris scored 22 points and grabbed eight rebounds in an 85-69 GU victory in the first meeting in Spokane. LMU shot 53 percent in the first half and had the game tied at 42 at intermission, behind 16 points by Vernon Teel. But the Lions shot just 32 percent in the second half and Gonzaga scored the first eight points after the break, including Robert Sacre's first basket in a game and a half, for a 50-42 lead. The Lions made only three field goals in the first 10 minutes of the second half and Gonzaga opened with an 11-2 run.

No. 8 Seed PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY WAVES (7-23; 3-11 West Coast)
The Bulldogs swept the season series, taking a hard-fought 91-84 win in the first meeting at Gonzaga and then making their first 10 shots and racing to an early lead for a 72-54 victory in Malibu. The Zags got a much-needed career-high 32 points from Matt Bouldin in the first game in the battle of 3-0 unbeatens in WCC play. That loss started the Waves reeling to 11 straight WCC losses after the 3-0 start. Elias Harris added 20 points and 13 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season, and Steven Gray had 20 points in the first meeting. Keion Bell, who had just three points in the first half, led Pepperdine with a career-high 37 points, the most by an opponent in the 6-year-old McCarthey Athletic Center. Gonzaga made its first 10 shots in building a 30-11 lead with 9:59 left in the first half in the re-match at Pepperdine. Steven Gray scored 10 points during the game's first 4:45 and Bouldin added eight points during the run. The Bulldogs led by as many as 24 points, scored 28 points in the lane and 16 points off turnovers, and forced the Waves to shoot 27.1 percent for the game. Bell took just four shots in the first half, missed three and scored just three points. He finished with 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. The Waves out-rebounded the Zags 48-36, a statistic partially skewed by the fact the Waves missed 51 shots and grabbed 26 offensive rebounds.

As a tuneup for this weekend's West Coast Conference tournament, Gonzaga's win over Cal State Bakersfield was just right. Matt Bouldin scored 15 points and everyone on the roster played as the Bulldogs beat Bakersfield 78-59 on Tuesday night in a game that wasn't as close as the final score. Bol Kong scored 13 points and Robert Sacre added 10 for the Bulldogs (25-5), who had already wrapped up their 10th consecutive WCC title and a bye into Sunday's semifinals of the league tournament. It was the eight-day gap between Gonzaga's last league game and likely first tournament game that prompted coach Mark Few to schedule this nonconference match. Gonzaga's regular starters played much less than normal, and some little-seen reserves got plenty of minutes. That was in part because Gonzaga took a 43-15 halftime lead against the overmatched Roadrunners. It was senior night for the Bulldogs, as Bouldin, Will Foster and Chris Pontarolo-Maag played their final home game. Bouldin on Monday was named the WCC player of the year. While Bouldin has been a starter since his freshman year, Foster, at 7-foot-5 the tallest player to ever wear a Zags uniform, was a role player. The 5-11 Pontarolo-Maag saw little playing time. This was the final game of the season for Cal State Bakersfield (7-22), which will complete its transition to full Division I status next season. It fell to 0-5 against WCC teams this season. Trent Blakley led Bakersfield with 19 points, while Donavan Bragg added 13. The Roadrunners, after shooting around 20 percent most of the game, finished at 33 percent and were outrebounded 44-34. Gonzaga shot 51 percent. It figured to be a long night for the Roadrunners when Foster lined up for the opening jump against the 6-4 Blakley, who was more than a foot shorter. The outcome was never in doubt. Gonzaga led 17-6 with 10 minutes left in the first half, and a 16-3 run expanded the lead to 33-11 with 4:12 to go. Gonzaga led 43-15 at halftime, after holding Bakersfield to 21 percent shooting (7 of 32). An 11-2 run to open the second half gave Gonzaga a 54-17 lead and the Bulldogs coasted to the victory. Bakersfield made a late run against Gonzaga's reserves.

Gonzaga University wrapped up its 10th straight the West Coast Conference regular-season title and the Bulldogs 14th since 1994. The Bulldogs won their inaugural title in 1994, tied for the crown in 1996 and took back-to-back titles for the first time in 1998-99. Mark Few saw his Bulldogs go 11-3 and finish second in his first season at the helm in 2000, but since then it's been all Bulldogs. The Zags have captured the title outright in nine of those 10 years, knotting Pepperdine University at 13-1 in 2002, Few's third year as head coach.

Gonzaga University head coach Mark Few is closing in on history. With one more victory he will tie Hank Anderson as the winningest men's basketball coach in Bulldog history with 290 victories. Anderson coached the Zags for 21 years from 1952-72 and posted a 290-275 record. Few brings a record of 289-71 into the West Coast Conference Tournament for a winning percentage of .803 which ranks him first ahead of the University of North Carolina's Roy Williams as the winningest active coach in NCAA Division I. Williams is 610-152 in 22 years for a winning percentage of .801. He and Few are the only two active coaches with a winning percentage of 80.0 or better.

Gonzaga University is 35-13 overall in the West Coast Conference Tournament, the Bulldogs losing their first five tournament games before beating the University of San Diego in the 1992 first round at Portland. Gonzaga lost to Pepperdine University 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 USD, Saint Mary's College and the University of Portland on the way to the title.

This is Gonzaga University's 18th appearance in the West Coast Conference Tournament semifinals and the Bulldogs are bidding for their 16th trip to the championship game. The Bulldogs, as the No. 4 seed, first made the semifinals in 1992 at the University of Portland, defeating No. 2 seed Santa Clara University 54-51 for their inaugural trip to the title game where Pepperdine University prevailed 73-70. The No. 2 seed Bulldogs lost to No. 3 SCU 53-51 in the 1993 semifinals and to the University of San Diego 83-75 in the 1994 semifinals as the No. 4 Toreros upset the top-seeded Bulldogs. The only time since 1992 the Bulldogs failed to make the semifinals was 1997, No. 4 USD downing the No. 5 Zags 64-59 in the quarterfinals. The WCC Tournament format changed in 2003 as the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds receive byes into the semifinals.

The top seed in the West Coast Conference Tournament has won the title 10 times, Gonzaga University owning seven of those. The first title-game matchup of No. 1 vs. No. 2 was 2000 when No. 2 Gonzaga downed No. 1 Pepperdine University. Last season was the seventh No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup in tournament history, and the third involving Gonzaga and Saint Mary's College. No. 1 Gonzaga downed No. 2 SMC in back-to-back finals in 2004-05, and the Bulldogs prevailed last season. This is the 12th time GU has been the No. 1 seed.

Only five members of this year's Gonzaga University squad have played in a West Coast Conference Tournament game. Matt Bouldin leads the way with six games, Steven Gray has four, Will Foster three, Demetri Goodson two and Robert Sacre one. Bouldin has played 192 minutes while Gray has played 108 as the most experience Bulldogs. Bouldin is the leading active scorer for Gonzaga in the tournament play at 10.3 ppg, Gray is at 8.3 ppg and Goodson is averaging 7.5 ppg.

Casey Calvary has played in more West Coast Conference Tournament games than any other Gonzaga University player with 12 from 1998-01. He is one of 10 Bulldogs with double-digit tournament appearances. Calvary is fourth on the Bulldogs all-time WCC scoring charts with 136 points and an 11.3 ppg. Calvary played when the format called for a team to win three games to claim the championship prior to the current format where the No. 3 and No. 4 seeds receive one bye into the quarterfinals and the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds receive a double-bye into the semifinals.

Blake Stepp is Gonzaga University's all-time leading scorer in West Coast Conference play with 164 points in 10 games from 2001-04 for a 16.4 ppg. Stepp and Matt Santangelo (1997-00) lead the way with 10 tournament-game starts in as many appearances.

Three Gonzaga University players have averaged 20.0 ppg or better in West Coast Conference Tournament play. Dan Dickau averaged 22.2 ppg with 133 points in six games from 2000-02, Jim McPhee averaged 22.0 ppg with 66 points in three tournament games from 1988-90 and Jarrod Davis 21.0 ppg with 84 points in four tournament games from 1991-92.

Gonzaga University hosted the 2006 West Coast Conference Tournament, at the time becoming just the second team to win the title as the host school. The Bulldogs, as the No. 1 seed, downed the University of San Diego 96-92 in overtime and Loyola Marymount University 68-67 to claim the title. USD became the first host to win the tourney in 2003 when the Toreros defeated the Bulldogs, then USD turned the trick again in 2008 against the Zags.

Eight Gonzaga University players have combined to win 10 MVP honors of the West Coast Conference Tournament, Micah Downs turning in a stellar performance last season to become a darkhorse MVP. Derek Raivio (2007), Adam Morrison (2005-06), Ronny Turiaf (2004), Dan Dickau (2001-02), Casey Calvary (2000), Matt Santangelo (1999) and John Rillie (1995) have also received the award. Morrison and Dickau are joined by Loyola Marymount University's Hank Gathers (1988-89) as the only two-time recipients.

Gonzaga University has hit the 20-win plateau for the 13th straight season and for the 16th time in the last 17 years. Gonzaga head coach Mark Few has never not won 20 games in his 11 years on the Bulldog bench, including a 29-win season in 2002 to set a single-season mark for wins which was matched by the 2006 squad. This year's team is now 25-5.

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, 2009, at the University of Portland. Few, in his 11th season, is now 289-71 and moved ahead of Dan Fitzgerald (252-171 in 15 years). Hank Anderson (290-275 in 21 seasons) is the all-time leader. He picked up his 275th win Jan. 2, 2010, against the University of Illinois at the United Center in Chicago. Few is the active winningest coach in West Coast Conference games at 139-15, 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, 2009. Carroll Williams, SCU (165-137) holds the top spot.

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 75-4 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 suffered its first loss at home this season Dec. 5 when Wake Forest University escaped with a 77-75 decision. Gonzaga's other losses were during the 2008 season to Washington State University and last year to Portland State University.

Since going 0-for-5 from the field at Loyola Marymount University, Gonzaga University sophomore center Robert Sacre is 17-for-26 for 65.4 percent. He's scored in double digits in all four games, and has scored in double figures in seven of his last eight games, two points at LMU his only single-digit output in that stretch.

Freshman Mangisto Arop didn't attempt a shot against Saint Mary's College Feb. 11, but in the last six games he's gone 15-for-24 for 62.3 percent. He began his current stretch going 5-for-6 against the University of San Diego and 3-for-5 at Loyola Marymount University. He also grabbed a season-high 10 rebounds Tuesday against Cal State Bakersfield.

Senior Chris Pontarolo-Maag got his first career start Tuesday against Cal State Bakersfield for Senior Night and scored his first points of the season when he hit a jumper from in the lane early in the second half. He has been on the team three seasons after being selected from a walk-on tryout his third time.

Freshman G.J. Vilarino went five straight appearances without a field goal, attempting just two shots. But his last two appearances against Santa Clara University and Cal State Bakersfield he's gone 5-for-9 from the field. He went 3-for-5 against SCU and 2-for-4 against CSUB. He played a season-high 17 minutes against CSUB.

Michael Hart made his first career field goal against Santa Clara University last weekend, a three-pointer. The redshirt freshman played a season-high eight minutes and scored four points.

Steven Gray will be the next member of Gonzaga University's 1,000-point club. It's just a question of whether he joins this year or next. He has 900 career points and is averaging 10.3 ppg in his career. He scored 26 points, one shy of his career high, and went 10-for-12 from the field to help spark Gonzaga University's 88-51 rout of Santa Clara University last weekend. Gray followed that effort with a 5-for-11 night against the University of San Francisco, then went 2-for-4 from the field Tuesday against Cal State Bakersfield, sitting out the second half with an upset stomach.

Bol Kong went 4-for-8 from the field, including 3-for-5 from 3-point range, for 13 points Tuesday against Cal State Bakersfield in the regular-season finale. The freshman's 13 points were one shy of his season high. After going 0-for-6 from the field in a 3-game stretch he's 12-for-20 in his last three games.

Senior Will Foster went 3-for-6 from the field in his Senior Night start against Cal State Bakersfield, scored 6 points and grabbed a season-high 5 rebounds, one shy of his career high.

Canadians dot the 2010 Gonzaga University roster - four of them to be exact. Three of them come to the Bulldogs from the province of British Columbia to the north of Spokane. Redshirt sophomore center Robert Sacre is from North Vancouver, B.C., freshman forward Kelly Olynyk hails from Kamloops, B.C., and redshirt sophomore forward Bol Kong is from Vancouver, B.C. Mangisto "Manny" Arop is from Edmonton, Alberta, but spent the past few years in Hamilton, Ontario, while playing with NEDA, Basketball Canada's National Elite Development Academy.

Don't forget the Texans as sophomore guard Demetri Goodson and freshman guard G.J. Vilarino hail from the Lone Star State. But in a state where everything is big, these two Gonzaga University Bulldogs might prove that good things do come in small packages. Goodson, from Spring, Texas, outside of Houston, stretches the tape measure to 5-11. Vilarino, from McKinney, Texas, located almost due north of Dallas, stands 6-0.

The West Coast Conference coaches were fairly accurate on their pre-season poll. They correctly picked Gonzaga (1), San Francisco (4) and San Diego (6). They had Portland (2) and Saint Mary's (3), flip-flopped. They picked San Francisco fourth, the Dons tying for that spot, and picked San Diego sixth, the Toreros in a three-way tie for that position.

Gonzaga University wrapped up its 10th straight West Coast Conference regular-season title, the longest current active streak in the nation and ranks tied for second all-time in the NCAA Division I ranks. The Bulldogs knotted UNLV (Big West, 1983-92) and UConn (Yankee, 1951-60) for second behind UCLA's 13 Pacific-10 Conference titles from 1967-79.

A home sweep last weekend to bring the curtain down on West Coast Conference play didn't impress the voters too much, Gonzaga University remaining 18th in the Associated Press Top 25 and moving up just one notch to 14th in the ESPN/USA Today balloting. In another week of Top 10 - and top-ranked - upsets, Syracuse University moved to the forefront of both polls, displacing the University of Kansas who fell out after a one-month reign at the top. Duke University, which defeated Gonzaga in December at Madison Square Garden, moved up two spots in AP and one spot in ESPN/USA Today to fourth in both polls. Michigan State University, a 75-71 winner over Gonzaga in East Lansing in the second game of the season, jumped three spots to 11th in AP and two spots to 12th in ESPN/USA Today. The University of Wisconsin, which lost to Gonzaga in the EA Sports Maui Invitational semifinals, dropped rose two spots in both polls, checking in at No. 15 in AP and No. 17 in ESPN/USA Today. The Bulldogs have been in the ranked in at least one poll for 13 straight weeks.

Gonzaga University has extended its string of consecutive games with a 3-pointer to 556. The last time the Bulldogs didn't connect from three was Jan. 27, 1993, when they went 0-for-5 at the University of Portland. UNLV holds the all-time record with 738 that started Nov. 26, 1986, through the start of the current season.

phomore Robert Sacre, who played just five games last season before being sidelined with a foot injury, has been on a blocked shot tear lately, swatting away 29 shots in his last eight games. He had a career-high 6 blocks at Pepperdine University and four on three other occasions in the current streak, including Tuesday against Cal State Bakersfield. He has moved ahead Casey Calvary and into third on the single-season list with 58 blocks, Calvary with 57 blocks in both the 1999 and 2000 seasons. Sacre has 66 career blocks, leaving him six shy of moving into the career Top 10. Daye, drafted in the 15th round of the NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons last season as a junior, is the single-season leader with 70 while Calvary is the career leader with 207.

th last weekend's home sweep to put the finishing touches on a 7-0 home season in West Coast Conference play, Gonzaga University will take a 22-game WCC home winning streak into 2011. The Bulldogs have gone undefeated at home three straight WCC seasons and won their final home game of 2007 after losing to Santa Clara University 84-73. The Zags are 104-6 in WCC home games since the last time they lost two WCC home games in the same season. The Bulldogs dropped back-to-back games in their conference home openers in 1995, falling to Santa Clara University 73-68 in overtime Jan. 19 and 68-63 to Saint Mary's Jan. 21. The Bulldogs downed Loyola Marymount University and Pepperdine University in their next homestand and went on to win their last five WCC home games that year to begin their current home dominance.

Gonzaga University has won the battle of the boards in 16 of the last 19 games and in all but seven games this season. The Bulldogs have been out-rebounded in just two of their five losses this season - 44-38 at Michigan State University and 45-35 in a loss to Duke University at Madison Square Garden. The Zags have been out-rebounded in two of their last four games - 48-36 at Pepperdine University and 33-30 last weekend against the University of San Francisco in the West Coast Conference regular-season finale. The Pepperdine numbers are skewed as the Waves missed 51 shots and grabbed 26 offensive boards. Gonzaga is +5.1 overall on the boards this season and +5.0 in West Coast Conference play.

Since suffering three straight losses early last season, Gonzaga University has gone 45-7. Gonzaga lost to the University of Connecticut in the Battle in Seattle, lost at home to Portland State University and fell at the University of Utah for just the third three-game losing streak in head coach Mark Few's tenure. The Zags then won 20 of their final 22 games last season and are off to a 25-5 start this season.

Gonzaga University senior Matt Bouldin has been named to the Naismith Trophy Top 30 mid-season list as compiled by the Atlanta Tipoff Club's Board of Selectors, comprised of leading basketball journalists from around the country. The board based its criteria on player performances this season. The Naismith Trophy presented by AT&T is given annually to the men's college basketball player of the year. This year, the award will be presented at the NCAA Men's Final Four in Indianapolis.



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