Bulldogs Set Sights On West Coast Conference Tournament

March 4, 2011

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Men's Basketball Game Fact
Game No. 32 - Opponent TBD
Sunday, March 6 - 7:30 p.m. PDT
Orleans Arena - Las Vegas, NV
Radio: Sports Talk 1510 KGA (Spokane); 101.1 KEYF-FM (Spokane); ESPN 1410 (Walla Walla, WA); KALE 960 (Tri-Cities, WA)
Network pre-game show 60 minutes prior to tipoff
TV: ESPN2
No. 2 Seed GONZAGA UNIVERSITY BULLDOGS (22-9; 11-3 West Coast)
G -    3 Demetri Goodson, 6-0, 175, Jr., Spring, TX
       (5.3 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 2.7 assists, 0.7 steals)
G -   2 Marquise Carter, 6-4, 178, Jr., San Diego, CA
       (5.4 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 1.9 assists, 0.9 steals)
G - 41 Steven Gray, 6-5, 205, Sr., Irondale, WA
       (13.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 4.0 assists, 1.8 steals)
C - 00 Robert Sacre, 7-0, 260, Jr., North Vancouver, B.C.
       (12.5 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 1.2 assists, 0.8 steals, 1.9 blocks)
F -  20 Elias Harris, 6-7, 245, So., Speyer, Germany
       (12.2 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 1.3 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.4 blocks)
HEAD COACH:  Mark Few (University of Oregon, 1987)
GONZAGA RECORD:  313-82 (12th year - 22nd at GU)  CAREER RECORD:  Same

No. 3 Seed UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO DONS (16-12; 10-4 West Coast)

The Dons handed the Bulldogs one of their two West Coast Conference defeats this season, taking a 96-91 overtime victory at War Memorial Gymnasium. Cody Doolin converted a 3-point play with 4.1 seconds remaining in overtime for the victory. The Dons benefited from an elbow by Gonzaga's Robert Sacre in the final minute of regulation that was called an intentional foul. Doolin finished with 23 points and Angelo Caloiaro scored 17 for USF. Steven Gray and Demetri Goodson had 20 points apiece for the Bulldogs. Doolin milked the clock in the final seconds of overtime before driving the left of the lane and banking in a left-handed layup over Mathis Moenninghoff for a 3-point play. Just to get to that point, the Dons had to stage a frantic rally in regulation. Caloiaro made a layup and drew a foul on Elias Harris with a little more than two minutes remaining to tie the score at 77-all. He missed the free throw. After the Dons went ahead by one, David Stockton hit a 3-pointer to give Gonzaga an 81-79 lead 41.6 seconds left. Then, Rashad Green missed the second of two free throws, with Sacre grabbing the rebound that led to a sure-to-be-debated call by Gonzaga. Sacre swung his elbows, connecting with Caloiaro's face and knocking him to the ground. Officials called a foul, but changed it to an intentional foul after reviewing the video. USF got two free throws and the ball and, seemingly, the victory. The Dons chose not to foul in the final seconds of regulation. Goodson made a 3-pointer to force overtime. The Bulldogs avenged that defeat with a 70-53 re-match in the McCarthey Athletic Center as Gray scored 19 points.

No. 6 Seed PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY WAVES (11-20; 5-9 West Coast)

Gonzaga swept the season series from the Waves, taking a 92-75 home, verdict and a 63-44 decision in Malibu, Calif. Gonzaga's Big Three put up their biggest numbers of the season. Steven Gray, Robert Sacre and Elias Harris combined for 62 points as the Bulldogs handled the Waves in Spokane. Sacre had a career-high 24 points after making 8-of-8 field goals and 8-of-8 free throws. Against the Waves the trio combined to hit 22-of-29 field goals, 8-of-11 3-pointers and 10-of-10 free throws. They added 15 assists, including nine by Gray to equal his career high. In the re-match in Malibu Harris had 15 points and 11 rebounds, Sam Dower added 13 points and eight rebounds off the bench and Marquise Carter contributed eight points, seven assists, five rebounds and four steals. Pepperdine was held to 27.4 percent shooting from the field and hit just 2-of-15 3-point attempts. At the end of the 1993 season Gonzaga trailed Pepperdine 26-6 in their series dating back to 1965, but the Bulldogs now lead 40-31, winning 24 of the last 29 meetings.

No. 7 Seed UNIVERSITY OF SAN DIEGO TOREROS (6-23; 2-12 West Coast)

The Bulldogs and Toreros met in the final game of the WCC just last Saturday in San Diego, the Bulldogs holding USD to an all-time low 31 points in Gonzaga's NCAA Division I history which began with the 1958-59 season in the 68-31 victory. Gonzaga scored 17 unanswered points to take a 17-2 lead with 10:40 left in the half. San Diego, which scored 31 seconds into the game, missed nine straight shots in the run. Elias Harris scored 15 of his game-high 17 points in the first half. The Bulldogs won the first meeting of the season 86-53. Redshirt freshman Sam Dower came off the bench to score a career-high 27 points, helping Gonzaga snap a three-game losing streak. Steven Gray had 12 points and Marquise Carter added 10. Gonzaga shot 59.3 percent (32-of-54). All 12 Bulldogs saw time on the floor, and 10 scored. San Diego shot just 35.4 percent, was outrebounded 37-27 and trailed by as many as 34 points. Dower went 11-of-12 from the field and grabbed seven rebounds.

ON THE AIR Gonzaga University men's basketball can be heard on Sports Radio 1510 KGA and KEYF-FM 101.1 in Spokane, ESPN Radio 1410 KTEL in Walla Walla, Wash., and ESPN Radio 960 KALE in Richland, Wash. The network pre-game show begins one hour prior to tipoff. Tom Hudson returns for his eighth season behind the microphone calling the action and former Bulldog Matt Santangelo will join Hudson as the analyst, replacing Richard Fox who was Hudson's sidekick the past three seasons. Fox had to step aside to focus on his career. An expanded 45-minute post-game show will again follow every game. Gonzaga's radio rights are owned by IMG, the multi-media rights partner for Gonzaga University athletics, which reached a 9-year agreement with Radio Spokane to air Bulldog basketball.

ON THE TUBE: KHQ-TV in Spokane and FSN will once again televise every Gonzaga University game not televised by another entity. In all, 14 regular-season games will be aired locally. Greg Heister returns for his 10th season behind the microphone as the television voice of the Bulldogs. Craig Ehlo begins his fifth season as the color commentator next to Heister. IMG, the multi-media rights partner for Gonzaga University athletics, announced a 10-year extension with KHQ-TV and FSN Northwest for broadcast of Gonzaga men's basketball and other events programming through the 2017-18 season.

SPECIAL PROGRAMMING: The Mark Few TV Show will air every Sunday following NFL football on KHQ-TV, and every Tuesday at 7 p.m. on FSN. Greg Heister will host. The Mark Few Radio Show will air Monday from noon-1 p.m. on Sports Radio 1510 KGA unless the Bulldogs are traveling or have a game. The "GU Coaches Show" hosted by Tom Hudson air Tuesdays at 7 p.m. live from Tomato Street in Spokane and will air on 101.1 FM and be simulcast on 1510 KGA whenever there isn't a live sports programming conflict.

Gonzaga University is 36-14 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 19th appearance in the West Coast Conference Tournament semifinals and the Bulldogs are bidding for their 18th 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 eighth No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup in tournament history, and the fourth 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 in 2009. SMC defeated Gonzaga for the first time in 10 WCC Tournament meetings last season, taking the title game 81-62. This is the fifth time GU has been the No. 2 seed, winning titles in 2000 and 2002 as the No. 2 seed.

Seven members of this year's Gonzaga University squad have played in a West Coast Conference Tournament game. Steven Gray leads the way with six games played. Demetri Goodson with four; Robert Sacre with three; Kelly Olynyk, Elias Harris and Mike Hart two each, and Mangisto Arop with one round out the experienced Bulldogs. Arop broke a foot in last year's semifinal victory over Loyola Marymount University.

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 in 2009 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 wrapped up its 11th straight West Coast Conference regular-season title this year, the longest current active streak in the nation and the second-best streak all-time in the NCAA Division I ranks. The Bulldogs were knotted with UNLV (Big West, 1983-92) and UConn (Yankee, 1951-60) for second behind UCLA's 13 Pacific-10 Conference titles from 1967-79.

Gonzaga University head coach Mark Few posted his 300th career victory Dec. 31, 2010, against Oklahoma State University, moving into a tie for sixth on the "Fastest To 300 Wins" list with Harold Anderson who coached at Bowling Green University and Toledo University. He picked up his 300th victory in his 378th game in 1949, his 14th year as head coach.

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 89-6 in the new facility. San Diego State University and Saint Mary's College handed Gonzaga home losses this season, the first time the Bulldogs have lost two home games in a season in the new facility. The Bulldogs won their 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. GU suffered a home loss last season when Wake Forest University escaped with a 77-75 decision. Gonzaga's other losses were during the 2008 season to Washington State University and in 2009 to Portland State University.

Gonzaga University head coach Mark Few moved to the top of the school's all-time winningest coaches list with the Bulldogs victory over Florida State University in the first round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament in Buffalo, NY. Few, with a record of 313-82, moved ahead of Hank Anderson, who went 290-275 in 21 seasons at the helm. Few is the active winningest coach in West Coast Conference games at 150-18, moving ahead of former Bulldog head coach Dan Fitzgerald (112-88) on the all-time wins list. Few also moved ahead of Dick Davey of Santa Clara University (122-88) for second all-time (active or inactive) with Gonzaga's victory at the University of San Francisco Feb. 14, 2009. Carroll Williams, SCU (165-137) holds the top spot.

The West Coast Conference coaches did a decent job of predicting the final standings in the pre-season poll. The coaches had Gonzaga University winning the title, but had co-champ Saint Mary's College pegged for third. Loyola Marymount was the No. 2 pick but finished tied for seventh. The coaches were right on with Santa Clara University and the University of Portland fourth and fifth, respectively. The University of San Francisco was third while the coaches predicted sixth, Pepperdine University finished sixth, one spot better than the coaches voted. The University of San Diego tied for seventh, one spot better than the coaches predicted.

To umlaut or not to umlaut, that is the question surrounding Mathis Mönninghoff. The German spelling is with the umlaut "ö", with the Americanized spelling eliminating the umlaut and adding an "e" so it would be spelled Moenninghoff. Either way is acceptable. The statistics will show it as Moenninghoff as the umlaut is not recognized in the computerized statistical program.

The name game continues for Gonzaga University. There are two players who spell their name Mathis. But one is German - Mönninghoff - and pronounces it Maw-tis Mur-ning-hoff. The other is French - Keita - and pronounces it Ma-tEEse KAY-tuh.

Guards were the order of the day for Gonzaga University head men's basketball coach Mark Few as three of the four players who inked national letters-of-intent were perimeter players. Joining the Bulldogs next fall will be Gary Bell, a 6-2, 175-pound guard from 7Kentridge High in Kent, Wash.; Kyle Dranginis, 6-5, 175, guard, from Skyview High in Nampa, Idaho; Kevin Pangos, 6-2, 175, guard, from Denison Secondary School in Newmarket, Ontario, Canada, and Ryan Spangler, 6-8, 220, forward, from Bridge Creek High in Blanchard, Okla. Bell averaged 22.6 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game for the Chargers last season. Dranginis is a two-time Idaho State Player of the Year and this past season as a junior was four points shy of tying the Idaho State 4A Tournament record with 75 points in three games as Skyview finished fifth in the State tourney. Dranginis averaged a team-high 20.3 points, 6.3 assists, 5.8 rebounds, 2.3 blocks and 2.0 steals for the Hawks. Pangos helped lead Canada to the bronze medal at the FIBA U-17 World Championship in Hamburg, Germany, this past July, averaging 15.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg and 4.1 assists as Canada went 5-3 overall. He shot 46.2 percent from the field (42-for-91), including 39.1 percent from 3-point range (18-for-46). He also shot 82.8 from the free throw line (24-for-28). Spangler averaged 26.0 ppg and 18.5 rpg as a junior, the team losing in the game to advance to State.

Steven Gray became the 33rd member of the 1,000-point club Nov. 14, 2010, against IUPUI. With his 9 points against the University of San Diego, he now has 1,376 to move into 16th.

In addition to becoming the 33rd player in Gonzaga University to hit the 1,000-point plateau, senior guard Steven Gray has cracked a few other career lists. His 150 steals rank sixth, two shy of passing Blake Stepp for fifth; his 202 3-pointers made are sixth and his 548 3-pointers attempted are fifth. His 322 assists are eighth, three shy of passing Geoff Goss for seventh.

Gonzaga University got one final tune-up for the West Coast Conference Tournament, bowling over Cal State Bakersfield 96-49 Monday in the McCarthey Athletic Center. Robert Sacre and Sam Dower led four Bulldogs in double figures with 16 points. Mathis Mönninghoff had 12 and Elias Harris 10. After being tied at 19, Gonzaga raced to a 49-31 halftime lead and never looked back, the lead reaching as many as 47 points late in the game.

Gonzaga University has already played six Top 25 teams this season. The University of Notre Dame is the highest ranked opponent on the Zags schedule this season, the Fighting Irish eighth in the Associated Press and seventh in the ESPN/USA Today rankings this week. San Diego State University was the highest ranked opponent on the Zags schedule this season, the Aztecs fourth in last week's ESPN/USA Today poll and sixth in Associated Press, but dropping to ninth in both polls this week. Xavier University, unranked when they played the Zags, is 23rd in AP and unranked in the ESPN/USA poll this week. Saint Mary's College, 24th in the ESPN/USA Today rankings in the first meeting with Gonzaga and unranked in the second meeting, has dropped from all recognition after a late-season three-game losing streak. Kansas State University, fourth in both polls when they beat Gonzaga in November, is receiving votes this week. The most ranked opponents Gonzaga has played in a season is seven during the 2006-07 campaign - defeating No. 2 University of North Carolina, No. 25 University of Texas, No. 8 University of Washington and No. 23 Stanford University, while losing to No. 6 Duke University, No. 18 University of Nevada in the Battle in Seattle and No. 8 University of Memphis.

West Coast Conference foes have had little or no luck against Gonzaga University in the six years since Gonzaga University moved into the McCarthey Athletic Center. The Bulldogs are 47-2 in WCC regular-season games in the new facility and saw their 25-game WCC home winning streak come to an end with this year's nail biting loss to Saint Mary's College. The Bulldogs also won a pair of WCC Tournament games in 2006 when they hosted the tourney. SMC became just the second WCC team to defeat the Bulldogs in the McCarthey Athletic Center, Santa Clara University, which pulled off an 84-73 victory Feb. 12, 2007, the first. Since the University of Portland grabbed a 72-68 win in the Martin Centre, the former home of the Bulldogs, in 2003, Gonzaga has gone 54-2 in WCC regular-season play at home.

The 31 points the University of San Diego scored in the WCC regular-season finale marked the lowest point total against the Bulldogs in their NCAA Division I history which began with the 1958-59 season. The previous low was 35 by Carroll College in a 58-35 Bulldog win Nov. 27, 1981. The 31 points scored by USD was the lowest total in their history.

When Gonzaga University held the University of San Diego to 25.5 percent from the field - 12-for-47 - it was the third time this season the Bulldogs held a team to under 30 percent. Loyola Marymount University shot 27.3 percent at Gonzaga this season and Pepperdine University hit just 27.4 percent of its shots in Malibu, Calif. Gonzaga has held its last 11 opponents under 50 percent since Santa Clara University shot 51.0 percent in its win over the Bulldogs.

Gonzaga University had five players score in double figures four times this season. The latest was in the 89-85 overtime victory at Saint Mary's College the final week of the WCC regular season, and the first since Dec. 16 against Lewis-Clark State College. Sam Dower had 21 points, Elias Harris 18, Robert Sacre 13 and Marquise Carter and Demetri Goodson with 11 each at Saint Mary's. The Bulldogs had a season-high six players in double digits against Southern University.

Marquise Carter continues to take care of the basketball. Since committing four turnovers at Pepperdine University, Carter had just four turnovers over the last five games, a span of 161 minutes played. He played turnover-free ball at Saint Mary's College and against Cal State Bakersfield.

Gonzaga University had a season-high equaling 14 steals against the University of San Diego, and 21 USD turnovers led to 34 Bulldog points. The Zags had 14 steals against Eastern Washington University.

Since being out-rebounded by double-digits in back-to-back games by San Diego State University and Kansas State University, the Bulldogs have been out-rebounded just five other times this season and none of those games by more than three rebounds. The +15 margin the Zags had Monday against Cal State Bakersfield Monday was their third-highest margin this season.

Robert Sacre had one blocked shot Monday in the regular-season finale to raise his career total to 129. He is the fourth person in GU history to block 100 or more career shots to rank third on the all-time Gonzaga career charts ahead of Austin Daye (124 from 2008-09). He swatted away 65 shots last season to rank second on the single-season list and has 58 this season to move past Casey Calvary and into fourth. Sacre has had four five-block games this season. Calvary (1998-01) heads the career charts with 207 while Daye leads the single-season list with 70.

Gonzaga University has extended its string of consecutive games with a 3-pointer to 592. 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.

 

 

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