Bulldogs Meet Toreros For WCC Crown

March 10, 2008

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Men's Basketball Game Facts
Game No. 32 - San Diego
West Coast Conference Tournament Championship
Monday, March 10 - 6 p.m.
Jenny Craig Pavilion - San Diego, CA
Radio: News Talk 1510 KGA (Spokane)
Pre-game show 30 minutes prior to tipoff
TV: ESPN
No. 1 Seed GONZAGA UNIVERSITY BULLDOGS (25-6; 13-1 West Coast)
G -   2 Jeremy Pargo, 6-2, 219, Jr., Chicago, IL
       (11.5 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 6.1 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.3 blocks)
G - 15 Matt Bouldin, 6-5, 214, So., Highlands Ranch, CO
       (13.0 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.9 assists, 1.4 steals)
G - 32 Steven Gray, 6-4, 190, Fr., Bainbridge, WA
       (7.5 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.5 assists, 1.1 steals)
C -  21 Robert Sacre, 7-0, 255, Fr., North Vancouver, B.C.
       (3.0 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 0.3 assists, 0.3 steals)
F -  25 David Pendergraft, 6-6, 223, Sr., Brewster, WA
       (9.0 ppg, 4.4rpg, 0.9 assists, 0.8 steals)
HEAD COACH:  Mark Few (University of Oregon, 1987)
GONZAGA RECORD:  236-58 (9th year - 19th at GU)  CAREER RECORD:  Same

No. 3 Seed UNIVERSITY OF SAN DIEGO TOREROS (20-13, 11-3 West Coast) G - 1 Brandon Johnson, 6-0, 195, Jr., Houston, TX (17.2 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 3.5 assists, 2.3 steals) G - 11 Trumaine Johnson, 6-2, 180, Fr., Houston, TX (5.4 ppg, 1.2 rpg, 2.8 assists, 1.0 steals) G - 23 De'Jon Jackson, 6-1, 202, So., Fresno, CA (7.4 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.3 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.4 blocks) C - 21 Gyno Pomare, 6-8, 240, Jr., Oceanside, CA (13.7 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 0.7 assists, 0.7 steals, 1.4 blocks) F - 22 Rob Jones, 6-6, 230, Fr., San Francisco, CA (8.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.3 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.6 blocks) HEAD COACH: Bill Grier (Oregon, 1990) USD RECORD: 20-13 (1st year) CAREER RECORD: Same. GAMES PRIOR TO GONZAGA: None.

Gonzaga University is in the West Coast Conference Tournament Championship game for the 11th straight year. The Bulldogs have won four straight WCC Tournament titles, eight of the last nine and nine of the last 13. The last time the Bulldogs lost a WCC Tournament title game was on this same Jenny Craig Pavilion floor, falling to the University of San Diego 72-63 in 2003.

Monday will be Gonzaga University's 14th appearance in the West Coast Conference Tournament Championship tilt, the most of any school in the 22 years of the event. Pepperdine University and Santa Clara University have both appeared in seven title games. The University of San Diego will be making just its third title-game appearance. The Toreros lost to Pepperdine in the 1994 contest in their first title-game appearance, and defeated Gonzaga for the 2003 title at the Jenny Craig Pavilion, the first host team to win the tourney.

The coaching staffs won't need any introductions prior to Monday's game. University of San Diego head coach Bill Grier was a Gonzaga University assistant for 16 seasons prior to taking the USD job a year ago. USD assistant coach Kyle Bankhead played and coached for the Zags prior to going with Grier to USD.

Gonzaga University is 33-12 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 14-1 record in the building counting WCC Tournament games.

In Gonzaga University's previous 13 West Coast Conference Tournament title games the Bulldogs have posted 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 the current streak of 11 straight title game appearances. Gonzaga has won nine straight WCC Tournament games.

With a 25-6 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 412 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 857 career points as he bids to become the 30th Bulldog to reach the 1,000-point plateau.

Senior Abdullahi Kuso has 74 career blocks for seventh on the all-time Gonzaga University charts. Mark Spink is sixth with 80 blocks.

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 88-for-98 for 89.8 percent from the stripe this season. He was ranked seventh nationally at 89.6 percent through games of March 6 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 Gonzaga its six losses is 143-41 for a winning percentage of 77.7 percent. The University of Memphis (30-1) leads the way as five of the six teams have won 20 or more games through contests of March 9. In addition, the Bulldogs have also defeated the University of Connecticut, ranked 13th by Associated Press and 14th in the USA Today/ESPN poll last 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 20th in this week's Associated Press rankings and to 22nd in this week's USA Today/ESPN poll released Monday. The Bulldogs were up two spots in the AP poll and one spot in the USA Today/ESPN balloting. one spot from 23rd. The Bulldogs garnered 474 points in the AP poll and 153 votes, 12 shy of No. 21 and nearby rival Washington State University, in the USA Today/ESPN voting. Gonzaga was ranked as high as 14th in both polls this season.

Gonzaga University swept the University of San Diego during the regular season, downing the Toreros 80-70 in Spokane and taking the rematch in 59-55 in San Diego. The Bulldogs jumped to a 15-0 lead in the home win and Matt Bouldin ad 16 points to lead five Bulldogs in double figures. Gonzaga led by as many as 22 points. At San Diego, Gonzaga got 13 points from Bouldin and his reverse layin off a feed from Jeremy Pargo with 29.9 seconds to play put Gonzaga ahead 56-52. The Bulldogs held high-scoring Brandon Johnson to just 8 points on a 2-for-15 night from the field, and Gyno Pomare scored just 4 points as the Zags snapped USD's 7-game winning streak. Gonzaga has won 13 straight and 26 of the last 30 meetings in the series the Zags lead 51-20.

Head coach Mark Few picked up his 225th career victory Jan. 19 against the University of San Diego. With 236 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 77.0 ppg overall and averaged 82.9 ppg against West Coast Conference competition during the regular season. The Bulldogs are also allowing opponents to shoot just 39.3 percent from the field this season.

It's time to start checking the Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) as the West Coast Conference Tournament ends and teams start eyeing subsequent NCAA Tournament berths. Through games of Saturday, Gonzaga had an RPI of 29. The Bulldogs strength of schedule is 96. Of the other two schools among the top three in the WCC, Saint Mary's College has an RPI of 33 and a SOS of 141, while the University of San Diego has an RPI of 118 and a SOS of 118. The West Coast Conference is 14th in the conference RPI, but the WCC is ranked second in the non-conference strength of schedule.

Junior Josh Heytvelt recorded his first double-digit scoring night since Feb. 11 with his 15 points in Sunday's semifinal victory over Santa Clara University. He went 4-for-5 from the field, 2-for-2 from 3-point range and 5-for-6 from the free throw line. The two treys in a game matched his season high, also hitting two at the University of Memphis.

With the University of San Diego women defeating Gonzaga University in Sunday's West Coast Conference Tournament Championship, this season marks the first time the WCC title game for both the men and women has the same match-up. Last season was the first time in the history of the WCC Tournament - the men's tournament began in 1987 and the women's in 1992 - one school claimed both titles when Gonzaga took the crowns at the University of Portland.

For the first time this season - and for the first time in 36 games dating back to last season - Gonzaga University sophomore Matt Bouldin failed to grab a rebound Monday against Santa Clara University. The last time Bouldin failed to haul in a board was last year against the University of Memphis. It's just the third time in his career Bouldin has not had a rebound, a span of 63 games.

 

 

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