Bulldogs Battle Saint Mary's For Automatic NCAA Berth

March 8, 2010

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Men's Basketball Game Facts
Game No. 32 - Saint Mary's College
West Coast Conference Tournament Championship
Monday, March 8 - 6 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
TV: ESPN
No. 1 Seed GONZAGA UNIVERSITY BULLDOGS (26-5; 12-2 West Coast)
G -   3 Demetri Goodson, 5-11, 164, So., Spring, TX
       (6.6 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 1.8 assists, 0.9 steals)
G - 15 Matt Bouldin, 6-5, 224, Sr., Highlands Ranch, CO
       (15.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 4.1 assists, 1.4 steals)
G - 32 Steven Gray, 6-5, 208, Jr., Bainbridge, WA
       (13.6 pg, 4.2 rpg, 2.7 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.4 blocks)
C - 00 Robert Sacre, 7-0, 247, So., North Vancouver, B.C.
       (10.1 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 0.5 assists, 0.6 steals, 1.9 blocks)
F -  20 Elias Harris, 6-8, 215, Fr., Speyer, Germany
       (14.9 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 1.2 assists, 1.0 steals, 0.5 blocks)
HEAD COACH:  Mark Few (University of Oregon, 1987)
GONZAGA RECORD:  290-71 (11th year - 21st at GU)  CAREER RECORD:  Same

No. 2 Seed SAINT MARY'S COLLEGE GAELS (25-5; 11-3 West Coast) G - 4 Matthew Dellavedova, 6-4, 185, Fr., Maryborough, Victoria (12.5 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 4.8 assists, 1.3 steals) G - 32 Mickey McDonnell, 6-0, 175, Jr., Mesa, AZ (13.8 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 5.3 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.3 blocks) C - 50 Omar Samhan, 6-11, 265, Sr., San Ramon, CA (21.7 ppg, 11.1 rpg, 1.2 assists, 0.4 steals, 3.0 blocks) F - 11 Clint Steindl, 6-7, 180, So., Mackay, Australia (7.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.2 assists, 0.7 steals) F - 21 Ben Allen, 6-11, 250, Sr., Melbourne, Australia (10.8 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 2.1 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.7 blocks) HEAD COACH: Randy Bennett (UC San Diego, 1986) SMC RECORD: 180-102 (9th year) CAREER RECORD: Same GAMES PRIOR TO GONZAGA: None.

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 tied Hank Anderson as the winningest men's basketball coach in Bulldog history with 290 victories with Sunday's victory over Loyola Marymount University. Anderson coached the Zags for 21 years from 1952-72 and posted a 290-275 record. Few brings a record of 290-71 into Monday's West Coast Conference Tournament championship game 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 610-153 in 22 years for a winning percentage of .799. Few is the only active coach with a winning percentage of 80.0 or better based on a minimum of five years as head coach.

Gonzaga University is 36-13 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.

Monday's appearance will be Gonzaga University's 15th West Coast Conference Tournament title game. The Bulldogs are 9-5 in their previous 14 trips. 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 12 straight title game appearances with Monday's contest. Pepperdine University and Santa Clara University have each appeared in seven title games, while the Gaels will be appearing in their sixth championship game. SMC is 1-4 in their five previous appearances, capturing the title in 1997.

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. This is 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 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 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.

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 26-5.

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.

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. The new polls are due out Monday prior to the West Coast Conference Tournament championship game.

Gonzaga University has extended its string of consecutive games with a 3-pointer to 557. 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.

Sophomore 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 31 shots in his last nine games. He had a career-high 6 blocks at Pepperdine University and four on three other occasions in the current streak, including the regular-season finale against Cal State Bakersfield. He has moved ahead of Ronny Turiaf into second on the single-season list with 60 blocks, Turiaf with 59 in 2005. Sacre has 68 career blocks, leaving him four shy of moving into the career Top 10. Austin 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 Casey Calvary is the career leader with 207.

With a season-ending 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 17 of the last 20 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 had been out-rebounded in two of their last four games heading into the West Coast Conference Tournament - 48-36 at Pepperdine University and 33-30 against the University of San Francisco in the WCC regular-season finale, but the Bulldogs held a 37-32 edge against Loyola Marymount University in Sunday's semifinal victory. Gonzaga is +5.0 overall and in WCC play this season.

Since suffering three straight losses early last season, Gonzaga University has gone 46-7. 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 26-5 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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