Bulldogs In 10th Straight WCC Final
March 5, 2007
Game No. 33 - Santa Clara
West Coast Conference Tournament Final
Monday, March 5 - 6 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
No. 1 Seed GONZAGA UNIVERSITY BULLDOGS (22-10; 11-3 West Coast) G - 2 Jeremy Pargo, 6-2, 219, So., Chicago, IL (12.3 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 4.7 assists, 1.5 steals) G - 5 Derek Raivio, 6-3, 177, Sr., Vancouver, WA (17.9 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, 3.1 assists, 0.8 steals) F - 32 Sean Mallon, 6-9, 223, Sr., Spokane, WA (8.1 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 0.8 assists, 0.4 steals) F - 31 Abdullahi Kuso, 6-9, 228, Jr., Kaduna, Nigeria (5.0 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 0.3 assists, 0.4 steals, 1.2 blocks) HEAD COACH: Mark Few (University of Oregon, 1987) GONZAGA RECORD: 210-51 (8th year - 18th at GU) CAREER RECORD: Same
Gonzaga University is making its 10th straight appearance in the West Coast Conference Tournament title game and the Bulldogs are hoping 13 is lucky as they make their 13th overall appearance in the title tilt. Gonzaga is 7-2 in the title game in the previous nine years and 8-4 overall.
Gonzaga University garnered its inaugural West Coast Conference Tournament win and made its first appearance in the championship game in 1992, the only other time the tourney has been played at the Chiles Center at the University of Portland. The Bulldogs lost their first five games in the WCC Tournament, then downed the University of San Diego 61-48 in the '92 quarterfinals, stopped Santa Clara University 54-51 in the semifinals and lost to Pepperdine University 73-70 for the title.
Gonzaga University has won 20 of its last 21 West Coast Conference Tournament games since an 80-67 loss to the University of San Francisco in the 1998 title game. Gonzaga's only loss since '98 was 72-63 to the University of San Diego in the '03 championship, the Toreros the first host team to win the crown.
Gonzaga is 31-12 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 in '92.
This is the sixth straight year and the sixth time overall the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds have met in the West Coast Conference Tournament final, including all five years of the current tournament format. The top seed has won four of the meetings. Gonzaga won as the top seed in 2000, '02 and 2004-06, as the No. 2 seed in 2002 and lost as the No. 2 seed in 2003.
Senior Derek Raivio of Gonzaga University has been named the West Coast Conference Player of the Month for February. Raivio helped the Bulldogs to their seventh consecutive WCC regular season title and their ninth in the last 10 seasons. The senior from Vancouver, Wash., averaged a team-best 16.5 points per game, while handing out 3.0 assists and 2.5 rebounds per contest. Raivio was extremely efficient with the ball, turning it over only 15 times during the month for a 1.60 assist-to-turnover ratio. He also set school and WCC records for consecutive free throws made, knocking down a string of 56 straight. For the month, Raivio, who leads the nation in free throw percentage, connected on a WCC-best 97.4 percent (37-for-38) from the charity stripe.
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 (new rankings are due out Monday). 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 197-49.
Derek Raivio became the 29th member of Gonzaga University's 1,000-point club earlier this season and now has 1,416 career points to rank 14th. He is 12 points shy of passing Doug Spradley (1,427 from 1986-89) to move into 13th. The senior from Vancouver, Wash., is averaging 11.3 ppg in his career. Raivio's 239 career 3-pointers, 574 3-point attempts and 338 assists all rank fourth on the Gonzaga career charts, while his 153 steals moved him ahead of Blake Stepp (152, 2001-04) and into third. His 331 career free throws moved him past John Stockton and into ninth ahead of Matt Santangelo. He needs 14 to pass Adam Morrison for ninth.
Sophomore guard Jeremy Pargo, who was kneed in the left quad early in Sunday's semifinal game, is expected to be ready for Monday's championship game. Gonzaga's medical staff reported Pargo was moving well after the game and they were optimistic about his status for Monday.
Gonzaga University had three players with double-digit rebounds on Sunday as Abdullahi Kuso, Sean Mallon and Micah Downs each grabbed 10 boards, Downs getting a career high to surpass his previous best of seven twice last season at the University of Kansas and also surpassing his season-high of six. Downs also added 16 points for his first career double-double. A check of the records back to 2000 revealed 14 times Gonzaga has had two players with double-digit rebounds since then, but no game with three players with double-digit boards.
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 456. 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 last Sunday he was leading the NCAA in free throw shooting, connecting on 125-of-130 for 96.2 percent (New rankings come out Tuesday). He's currently 136-142 for 95.8 percent which would still lead the country. He is a career 92.5 percent (331-for-358) 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.
Junior David Pendergraft had the first 20-point game of his career Sunday against the University of San Diego in the West Coast Conference Tournament semifinal when he tossed in 22. He went 8-for-12 from the field, including 4-for-6 from 3-point range and hit both free throw attempts. He also grabbed 10 rebounds for his first career double-double.
Abdullahi Kuso has started the last seven games, going 22-34 from the field for 64.7 percent with 51 points and 51 rebounds. He recorded his second career double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds Sunday against the University of San Diego.
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