Gonzaga Awaits WCC Tournament Foe
March 7, 2008
Game No. 31 - Opponent TBD
West Coast Conference Tournament Semifinal
Sunday, March 9 - 6:30 p.m.
Jenny Craig Pavilion - San Diego, CA
Radio: News Talk 1510 KGA (Spokane)
Pre-game show 30 minutes prior to tipoff
No. 1 Seed GONZAGA UNIVERSITY BULLDOGS (24-6; 13-1 West Coast) G - 2 Jeremy Pargo, 6-2, 219, Jr., Chicago, IL (11.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 6.2 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.3 blocks) G - 15 Matt Bouldin, 6-5, 214, So., Highlands Ranch, CO (13.1 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.9 assists, 1.3 steals) G - 32 Steven Gray, 6-4, 190, Fr., Bainbridge, WA (7.8 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 1.6 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.3 blocks) C - 21 Robert Sacre, 7-0, 255, Fr., North Vancouver, B.C. (3.1 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 0.3 assists, 0.3 steals) F - 25 David Pendergraft, 6-6, 223, Sr., Brewster, WA (9.2 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 0.9 assists, 0.8 steals) HEAD COACH: Mark Few (University of Oregon, 1987) GONZAGA RECORD: 235-58 (9th year - 19th at GU) CAREER RECORD: Same
No. 4 Seed SANTA CLARA UNIVERSITY BRONCOS (14-15; 6-8 West Coast)
The Broncos and the Bulldogs played just last Monday in Spokane in the regular-season finale, and in stark contrast to the first meeting the Bulldogs rolled 88-54. Freshman Steve Gray scored 18 points - all on treys - as his 6-for-7 night from the field was all from behind the arc. Matt Bouldin turned in a second strong outing with 14 points, going 5-for-9. Gonzaga raced to a 12-0 lead and never looked back. Gonzaga won the first meeting at SCU 87-82 in double overtime as Steven Gray was fouled and made a pair of free throw with .3 seconds remaining. Austin Daye scored 13 of his game-high 22 points in the overtime. Gonzaga erased a 61-54 deficit in the final 4:10, outscoring the Broncos 9-2. The series between the Bulldogs and SCU has been pretty one sided in favor of the Bulldogs in recent years as Gonzaga brings a 38-29 advantage into the WCC Tournament. The Bulldogs had a 13-game winning streak snapped in the series last season by the Broncos with their win in Spokane, but Gonzaga has won 21 of the last 24 meetings.
No. 5 Seed UNIVERSITY OF SAN FRANCISCO DONS (9-20; 5-9 West Coast)
San Francisco downed Pepperdine Monday to claim the No. 5 seed. The Bulldogs took both contests this season - 72-64 at home and 83-63 later in the season at USF. Gonzaga led by eight at halftime in Spokane, then pulled away as Matt Bouldin and Steven Gray keyed an 8-2 run with 3-pointers to build a 55-41 lead. The Dons scored 10 straight points late to cut the margin as Gonzaga denied USF coach Eddie Sutton his 800th career victory. In the rematch at USF, Gonzaga shot 60 percent in the first half and cruised to victory behind the 17 points of David Pendergraft. Gonzaga went on a 13-4 run in the final 5:30 of the opening half to open a 49-29 halftime lead. Gonzaga has won 31 of the last 36 meetings with the Dons.
No. 8 Seed LOYOLA MARYMOUNT UNIVERSITY (5-25; 2-12 West Coast) The Bulldogs and Lions opened WCC play in Los Angeles, Gonzaga taking a 91-68 victory. The Bulldogs also took the rematch in Spokane 83-50. Gonzaga weathered a strong start from LMU in the opener, the Lions taking a 23-21 lead midway through the first half. But Gonzaga responded with an 11-0 run over the next four minutes and finished the half with a 23-7 run. Josh Heytvelt paced the Bulldogs with 19 points and 5 rebounds, and Matt Bouldin had 17 points, eight assists, five steals and four rebounds as the 6-5 sophomore went to the post where he had a distinct size advantage over the smaller Lions guards. In the rematch, Micah Downs buried a 3-pointer that started the Bulldogs on a 13-5 run to close the half and give Gonzaga a 31-21 edge. The Bulldogs dominated the second half with the aid of 68 percent shooting. A 3-point play by Heytvelt capped a 10-3 run that put them up 48-31 with 14:49 left. Bouldin, who had game-high honors with 17, later sandwiched 3-pointers around an alley-oop dunk by his backcourt mate Jeremy Pargo that put Gonzaga up 65-39 with 7:52 left. GU leads LMU 50-20 in the all-time series, but the Bulldogs have won 30 of the last 33 meetings.
Gonzaga University is 32-12 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 University has lost just one West Coast Conference Tournament game since 1999, and that was at the Jenny Craig Pavilion to host University of San Diego in the 2003 title game 72-63. The Bulldogs like the Jenny Craig Pavilion, however. Since the building opened for the 2000-01 season the Bulldogs have posted a 13-1 record in the building counting WCC Tournament games.
Gonzaga University has been in 13 West Coast Conference Tournament title games and has a 9-4 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, the 1998 appearance starting a streak of 10 straight title game appearances. Gonzaga has won eight straight WCC Tournament games since dropping the title game in 2003.
With a 24-6 record, Gonzaga University has won 20 games for the 11th straight season and for the 14th time in the last 15 seasons. Gonzaga (13-1) has also hit double-digit wins in West Coast Conference play for the 11th straight year and for the 12th time in the last 13 campaigns.
Junior Jeremy Pargo is in the Top 10 on the Gonzaga University career charts for assists and steals. His 410 career assists rank fourth behind Matt Santangelo (668), Blake Stepp (640) and John Stockton (554). The Gonzaga co-captain is seventh in career steals with 121. Pargo also has 853 career points as he bids to become the 30th Bulldog to reach the 1,000-point plateau.
Gonzaga University is in search of its 10th straight trip to the NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs current streak of nine straight appearances ranks the Bulldogs tied for sixth for consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances with the University of Florida, University of Texas and University of Wisconsin.
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 52-2 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.
There might be some magic in that No. 5 jersey freshman Austin Daye is wearing - especially when it comes to the free throw line. Daye is 86-for-96 for 89.6 percent from the stripe this season. He was ranked ninth nationally at 89.4 percent through games of March 2 when the latest rankings were compiled. Daye went an uncharacteristic 6-for-9 against Saint Mary's College the final weekend of the regular season, only the second time this season he's missed more than two free throws in a game. Derek Raivio, who wore No. 5 throughout his Gonzaga career, is one of the most prolific free throw shooters in NCAA history. He finished his career hitting 92.7 percent from the line and holds the top three single-season percentage marks in school history. Raivio went 148-for-154 for 96.1 percent to lead the NCAA Division I ranks in percentage a year ago and ranks second all-time on the NCAA single-season list. For his career he went 343-for-370 for 92.7 percent to rank second in the NCAA based on a minimum of 300 free throws made and 2.5 free throws made/game. Raivio set the Gonzaga record of 56 consecutive free throws. Daye had 29 straight makes this season.
Think Gonzaga University hasn't played a tough schedule? The combined record of the teams who have handed the Bulldogs their six losses is 136-39 for a winning percentage of 77.0 percent. The University of Memphis (28-1) leads the way as four of the six teams have already won 20 or more games through contests of March 3. In addition, the Bulldogs have also defeated the University of Connecticut, ranked 13th by Associated Press and 14th in the USA Today/ESPN poll this week.
Gonzaga University men's basketball coach Mark Few added three players to his charges for the 2008-09 season with the signing of three players to letters-of-intent. Andy Poling, 6-11, 230-pound forward from Westview High in Portland, Ore.; Grant Gibbs, 6-5, 190-pound guard from Linn-Mar High in Marion, Iowa, and Demetri Goodson, 6-0, 175-pound guard from Klein Collins High in Spring, Texas, outside of Houston, made their intentions official to become Bulldogs on the first day of national letter-of-intent signing day. All three had previously made verbal commitments. Poling averaged 13.9 ppg last season to rank fifth in the Metro League in scoring while leading the Wildcats to a 21-8 overall record and 8-2 second-place Metro League finish. He was named honorable mention All-State 6A in Westview's first season in the newly-created State 6A classification. He was also voted first-team All-Metro League for the Wildcats, ranked seventh in the state heading into the State 6A Tournament where they lost their first two games. Poling was rated one of the 20 best centers in the country by one scouring service. Gibbs averaged 15.0 ppg, 5.0 assists and 5.0 rpg as Linn-Mar captured the Iowa State 4A title last spring. He had 10 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists in the quarterfinal win over Sioux City North; 20 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 7 steals in the semifinal victory over Urbandale, and scored 15 points, grabbed 8 rebounds, and had a pair of assists and steals in the title game against Bettendorf to cap a 24-1 season. He finished third in tournament scoring with 45 points and tied for fourth with 21 rebounds in earning All-Tournament honors. Goodson helped lead Klein Collins to the Region 2 title game last season while averaging 16.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg and 7.0 assists/game. He was an All-State 5A selection, the largest classification in Texas. Goodson was rated as high as the 135th best player in the country by one scouting service.
Gonzaga University climbed to 22nd in this week's Associated Press Top 25, and got back into the USA Today/ESPN poll at No. 23 after a six week absence. The Bulldogs leapfrogged nearby rival Washington State University, garnering 323 votes. The Bulldogs had returned to the AP rankings last week at No. 24. The last time the Bulldogs were ranked in the USA Today/ESPN poll was Dec. 17 when they were 20th. Gonzaga lost to the University of Oklahoma to fall out of the coaches poll. Gonzaga was ranked as high as 14th in both polls this season.
After being held to 59 points in a four-point victory at the University of San Diego, Gonzaga University finished the West Coast Conference season with a vengeance. The Bulldogs beat the University of Portland by 22 in a 73-51 verdict, Saint Mary's College by 12 in an 88-76 win and Santa Clara University by 34 in an 88-54 thrashing on Senior Night in the McCarthey Athletic Center this past Monday. Gonzaga had 13 wins by at lest 20 points this season, and in winning their final seven games heading into the WCC Tournament the Bulldogs had a winning margin of +23.9.
Head coach Mark Few picked up his 225th career victory Jan. 19 against the University of San Diego. With 235 victories, Few is third on the all-time Gonzaga victories chart behind Hank Anderson (290-275 in 21 seasons) and Dan Fitzgerald (252-171 in 15 seasons). Few is the active winningest coach in West Coast Conference games at 113-13, moving ahead of Fitzgerald (112-88) on the all-time wins list. Carroll Williams, Santa Clara University (165-137) and Dick Davey, SCU (122-88) hold the top two spots.
Gonzaga University is averaging 77.8 ppg overall and 82.9 ppg against West Coast Conference competition. The Bulldogs are also allowing opponents to shoot just 39.2 percent from the field this season.
It's time to start checking the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) as the West Coast Conference Tournament begins and teams start eyeing subsequent NCAA Tournament berths. Through games of March 2, Gonzaga had an RPI of 31. The Bulldogs strength of schedule is 93. Of the other two schools among the top three in the WCC, Saint Mary's College has an RPI of 32 and a SOS of 125, while the University of San Diego has an RPI of 107 and a SOS of 95. The West Coast Conference is 14th in the conference RPI, but the WCC is ranked second in the non-conference strength of schedule.
Sophomore Matt Bouldin was mired in a shooting slump entering the final weekend of the regular season, having hit just 28-of-74 shots over the previous nine games heading into the first place showdown with Saint Mary's College and the season finale against Santa Clara University. He broke out of his slump to go 12-for-22 for 54.5 percent, 6-for-10 from 3-point range for 60.0 percent and 5-for-5 from the free throw line in the two contests. He scored 21 points against Saint Mary's, going 7-for-13 from field, including 4-for-5 from 3-point range. He followed that with 14 points against Santa Clara, going 5-for-9 from field, including 2-for-5 from 3-point range. For the two games he averaged 17.5 ppg, grabbed 11 rebounds for 5.5 rpg and had 7 assists and 2 turnovers for a 3.5 assist/turnover ratio.
Gonzaga University's 13 3-pointers against Santa Clara University in the season finale was a season high, surpassing the 12 treys the Bulldogs recorded against the University of Connecticut in The Hartford Hall of Fame Showcase played at Boston Garden. Those were the only double-digit 3-point nights for Gonzaga. It was still far from the school record of 21 set in 1995 against the University of San Francisco, a mark that still stands as a West Coast Conference single-game record.
Jeremy Pargo finished the season with a hot hand from the field, going 16-for-23 (69.6 percent) over the final three games.
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