Bulldogs Await Semifinal Opponent For WCC Tournament

March 6, 2009

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Men's Basketball Game Facts
Game No. 30 - Opponent TBD
Sunday, March 8 - 6:30 p.m. PST
Orleans Arena - Las Vegas, NV
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: ESPN2
No. 1 Seed GONZAGA UNIVERSITY BULLDOGS (24-5; 14-0 West Coast)
G -   2 Jeremy Pargo, 6-2, 220, Sr., Chicago, IL
       (9.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 5.1 assists, 1.4 steals)
G - 15 Matt Bouldin, 6-5, 224, Jr., Highlands Ranch, CO
       (13.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 3.1 assists, 1.6 steals)
G - 22 Micah Downs, 6-8, 194, Sr., Kirkland, WA
       (8.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.2 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.5 blocks)
C -  42 Josh Heytvelt, 6-11, 260, Sr., Clarkston, WA
       (15.2 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 0.6 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.9 blocks)
F -   5 Austin Daye, 6-11, 200, So., Irvine, CA
       (12.6 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.1 assists, 0.8 steals, 2.1 blocks)
HEAD COACH:  Mark Few (University of Oregon, 1987)
GONZAGA RECORD:  260-65 (10th year - 20th at GU)  CAREER RECORD:  Same
No. 4 Seed SANTA CLARA UNIVERSITY BRONCOS (15-16; 7-7 West Coast)
The Broncos and Bulldogs met the final weekend of the regular season in Santa Clara. The Bulldogs broke from a 56-56 tie with 7:50 to play to go on an 11-2 run and take a 67-58 lead with 4:36 to play. Gonzaga forward Josh Heytvelt scored a career-high 29 points. The first meeting in Spokane was no contest as the Bulldogs took a 95-53 victory. Austin Daye scored 20 points and five Bulldogs scored in double figures. The Broncos feature WCC Player of the Year John Bryant who is averaging 18.0 ppg and leads the nation in rebounding at 13.9 rpg. SCU Freshman Kevin Foster was Co-Newcomer of the Year and was joined on the WCC All-Freshman Team by teammates James Rahon and Marc Trasolini. The Bulldogs have won six straight against SCU and 19 of the last 20 in the series the Zags lead 41-30.

No. 5 Seed UNIVERSITY OF SAN DIEGO TOREROS (15-15; 6-8 West Coast)
Gonzaga and San Diego finished the WCC regular-season against each other in San Diego, the Bulldogs capping their 14-0 league season with a 58-47 victory. Gonzaga trailed 15-10 with 10:05 left in the first half when the Bulldogs' defense clamped down and held USD to one more field goal before the break. Gonzaga finished on a 16-3 run to take a 26-18 halftime lead. San Diego cut a 29-18 second-half deficit to 31-26 before the Bulldogs scored on six straight possessions to take a 46-31 lead with 10:46 remaining. In the first meeting in Spokane, Austin Daye scored 17 points, including the first three baskets of the second half, in the Bulldogs 64-47 win. After leading 27-18 at the half, Daye helped Gonzaga extend the lead to 37-23 as the Bulldogs hit their first seven shots of the second half. USD, which lost 2008 All-WCC performer Brandon Johnson to an Achilles tendon injury eight games in the season, was led by All-WCC selection Gyno Pomare who averaged 14.0 ppg and 6.1 rpg.

No. 8 Seed LOYOLA MARYMOUNT UNIVERSITY (3-27; 2-12 West Coast)
The Lions suffered through a season in which first-year head coach Bill Bayno took a leave of absence and ultimately resigned, handing the reigns to Max Good who officially was named head coach Jan. 12. The Bulldogs had little trouble with LMU in either game, taking the first meeting in Los Angeles 93-60 and the re-match in Spokane 91-54. Matt Bouldin scored 18 points and hit five of Gonzaga's 12 3-pointers in the first meeting as head coach Mark Few got his 250th career win. Steven Gray tied his career high with 23 points in Spokane as Gonzaga clinched the top seed into the WCC Tournament with the victor. Gonzaga has 28 of the last 30 meetings with LMU.

Gonzaga University is 33-13 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. Gonzaga had a nine-game winning streak in the tourney snapped with last year in the title-game loss to host University of San Diego.

Gonzaga University has been in 14 West Coast Conference Tournament title games and has a 9-5 record. The Bulldogs advanced to their inaugural championship game in 1992 in Portland, losing to Pepperdine University. Gonzaga won its first WCC Tournament crown in 1995, defeating the University of Portland to earn their first trip to the NCAA Tournament. Gonzaga lost title games in 1996, '98 and '03, and '08, the 1998 appearance starting a streak of 11 straight title game appearances. Pepperdine University and Santa Clara University have each appeared in seven title games.

Seven members of this year's Gonzaga University squad have played in the West Coast Conference Tournament. Jeremy Pargo leads the way with six tournament games - all starts. Pargo is the leading active scorer for the Bulldogs in WCC Tournament play with 49 points, but Micah Downs is the leader by average with 9.5 ppg in four games.

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.

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.

Kyle Bankhead, currently an assistant coach at the University of San Diego, has a 3.67 assist-to-turnover ratio. He had 22 assists and 6 turnovers in 10 West Coast Conference Tournament games.

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 last season against the Zags.

Nine Gonzaga University players have been named MVP of the West Coast Conference Tournament. Derek Raivio was the last Bulldog to cart home the honor in 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.

This is the 11th time Gonzaga University will be the No. 1 seed in the West Coast Conference Tournament. The Bulldogs have been the No. 2 seed five times, and the fourth, fifth and sixth seed twice each. Gonzaga has never been the No. 7 seed and was the No. 8 seed on one occasion.

The top seed in the West Coast Conference Tournament has won the title nine times, Gonzaga University owning six of those. The second seed has won the title five times, Gonzaga having a pair of those wins. The Bulldogs also won as the No. 4 seed in 1995. The first title-game matchup of No. 1 vs. No. 2 was 2000 when No. 2 Gonzaga downed No. 1 Pepperdine University. The teams went 13-1 in the regular season, split the season series and Pepperdine earned the top seed by virtue of a coin toss. There were six such matchups from 2002-07.

Gonzaga University jumped three spots in both the Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN Top 25 basketball polls. The Bulldogs put the finishing touches on a 14-0 West Coast Conference season last weekend. Another week of upsets saw the University of Connecticut unseat the University of Pittsburgh for the top spot in both polls. The two teams meet Saturday. 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 has won at least 23 games in each of those 12 seasons.

Gonzaga University, which lost 4-of-5 games to close out calendar year 2008, has been hard to beat since the calendar changed to 2009. The Bulldogs have won seven straight and 16-of-17 since suffering a 66-65 New Year's Eve loss at the University of Utah. Only the University of Memphis, currently ranked as high as third, has been able to dent the Bulldogs armor in that stretch.

With a 14-0 West Coast Conference slate tucked away, Gonzaga University will enter the 2010 WCC campaign with 21 straight regular-season wins in Conference play. The last regular-season loss suffered by the Bulldogs was Feb. 4, 2008, at Saint Mary's College 89-85 in overtime.

Senior Jeremy Pargo had three assists against Pepperdine University Feb. 21 to move 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 list, Pargo now with 570. Stockton retired from the NBA as its all-time leader in assists and steals. Pargo has 164 career steals to move into third ahead of Blake Stepp.

Andrew Sorenson made the most of his Senior Night spotlight. He scored a career-high 15 points - his first double-digit scoring game - in Gonzaga University's 90-40 win over USC Upstate Tuesday night. Sorenson, making his first career start, joined fellow seniors Jeremy Pargo, Josh Heytvelt, Micah Downs and Ira Brown in the starting lineup. Sorenson went 5-for-11 from the field, including 3-for-9 from 3-point range, to the delight of the 6,000 fans. Sorenson was a member of The Kennel Club as a freshman after trying out for the team but not being selected. A year later he was selected after open tryouts. He was put on scholarship this past Jan. 17 following the Bulldogs game with the University of San Francisco.

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 63-3 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 260-65 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 127-13, 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.

Three Gonzaga University players have been honored on the National Association of Basketball Coaches All-District 9 team. Senior Josh Heytvelt and junior Matt Bouldin were accorded first-team honors, while sophomore Austin Daye was a second-team selection. The Bulldogs have had 15 first-team selections since the honors were first bestowed in 1960. Derek Raivio was the last first-team honoree for the Bulldogs in 2007. The trio is now eligible for the State Farm Coaches' Division I All-America teams.

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.

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 slipped to No. 2 as the top defensive field goal percentage team in the nation according to statistics through games of March 1, opponents connecting on just 37.2 percent from the field. But the Bulldogs should move back into the top spot following Tuesday's performance against USC Upstate as Gonzaga held the Spartans to 29.8 percent from the field (14-for-47). That ties for the lowest percentage of the season, the University of Idaho mirroring USC Upstate with a 14-for-47 night early in the season. Opponents are now shooting 36.8 percent from the field (618-for-1678). Memphis opponents were shooting 37.1 percent from the floor through games of March 1. Santa Clara University shot 46.8 percent from the field (29-for-62) against the Bulldogs Feb. 26 for the highest percentage of any Bulldog opponent this season.

Gonzaga University sophomore Robert Sacre has shelved any plans for a comeback this season and will apply for a medical hardship. He has been sidelined since Dec. 5 with a broken right foot and just recently was cleared for individual workouts and limited practice. He had a pin inserted in the same foot prior to the start of practice earlier this fall to help heal a non-displaced stress fracture. With the regular season now over, he decided his minutes would be limited and he didn't want to use a year of eligibility if it was uncertain how much he could play and contribute in the post-season. Sacre has played 44 minutes in five games this season, averaging 3.0 ppg and 2.8 rpg.

Sophomore Austin Daye continues to climb up the all-time Gonzaga University blocked shots list. He now has 114 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. He became the single-season leader with 60 with his two blocks against USC Upstate, surpassing Ronny Turiaf who had 59 in 2005. Daye has had at least one block in 25 of Gonzaga's 29 games this season, and has 18 multiple-block games.

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 1,176 career points for 19th. Heytvelt has 1,106 for 24th and Bouldin is just one point back with 1,105 for 25th. 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.

Jeremy Pargo seems to have regained the touch he had earlier this season in relation to assists-to-turnover ratio. In his last five games the senior from Chicago has 22 assists and 3 turnovers for a 7.3 assist/turnover ratio. He has raised his overall season total to 2.0. His career assist/turnover ratio is 1.6.

Junior Matt Bouldin is entering the West Coast Conference Tournament on a pretty good hot streak. In his last five games he is 22-for-39 from the field for 56.4 percent, including 10-for-19 from 3-point range for 52.6 percent.

Steve Gray is in a mild shooting slump. In the last four games he is 4-for-15 from the field for 26.7 percent, including 2-for-10 from 3-point range. For the season he is shooting 45.2 percent from the field and 35.8 percent from long range.

Josh Heytvelt has been nearly unstoppable the last seven games. He has gone 47-for-73 from the field for 64.4 percent, 28-for-39 from the free throw line for 71.8 percent and grabbed 52 rebounds for 7.4 rpg. He's had three 20-plus scoring nights, including back-to-back career highs of 28 points against Pepperdine University and 29 at Santa Clara University.

Ira Brown, who is averaging nearly 11 minutes off the bench this season, got his first start of the year Tuesday for Senior Night. He played a career-high 24 minutes, went 3-for-4 from the floor while scoring 7 points and grabbed 6 rebounds. He also had a career-high 3 assists, blocked a shot and had 2 steals.

 

 

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