Bulldogs Ready For Winthrop
March 15, 2005
Game No. 30 - NCAA Tournament First Round
Thurs., March 17 - 4:25 p.m. PST
McKale Center - Tucson, AZ
Radio: News Talk 1510 KGA (Spokane)
Pre-game show 30 minutes prior to tipoff
TV: CBS (Check local listings)
No. 3 Seed GONZAGA UNIVERSITY BULLDOGS (25-4; 12-2 West Coast) G - 5 Derek Raivio, 6-3, 168, So., Vancouver, WA (13.5 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 4.9 assists, 1.7 steals) G - 22 Erroll Knight, 6-7, 211, Jr., Seattle, WA (6.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.1 assists, 0.7 steals) C - 1 Ronny Turiaf, 6-10, 249, Sr., Le Robert, Martinique (16.1 ppg, 9.3 rpg, 1.6 assists, 0.3 steals, 1.9 blocks) F - 3 Adam Morrison, 6-8, 205, So., Spokane, WA (18.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.8 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.5 blocks) F - 13 J.P. Batista, 6-9, 269, Jr., Pernambuco, Brazil (12.5 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 0.9 assists, 0.7 steals) HEAD COACH: Mark Few (University of Oregon, 1987)
Gonzaga will be making its seventh straight trip to the NCAA Tournament and its eighth since 1995. The Bulldogs advanced to the Elite Eight in 1999; the Sweet 16 in both 2000 and 2001, and advanced to the second round in 2003 and 2004. The Bulldogs were outsted in the first round in 1995 and 2002.
Gonzaga's No. 3 seed is the first time the Bulldogs have been a three. Gonzaga was a No. 2 seed last year, a No. 9 in 2003 and a No. 6 in 2002 for Gonzaga's single-digit seedings in its NCAA history. The Bulldogs were a No. 10 seed in 1999 when they became America's darlings with their run to the Elite Eight.
Thursday's game will feature the top two teams on the NCAA Winning Streaks list. Winthrop brings an 18-game winning streak into the fray, while Gonzaga's 12-game streak is second.
Winthrop is no stranger to the NCAA Tournament, the Eagles making their fifth trip in head coach Gregg Marshall's seven years at the helm, including taking the Eagles to their first tourney in 1999. Winthrop is 0-4 in the NCAA Tournament, and this year's No. 14 seed matches its previous best seed in 2000.
Neither team is a stranger to playing in the NCAA Tournament in Tucson, Ariz. Gonzaga won a pair of games in McKale Center in 2000, the 10th-seeded Bulldogs upsetting No. 7 Louisville 77-66 in the first round and No. 2 St. John's 82-76 in the second round. Winthrop was also with the Bulldogs in Tucson in 2000, the No. 14 Eagles falling to No. 3 Oklahoma 74-50.
Gonzaga earned the automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament by winning its sixth West Coast Conference Tournament title in the last seven years. The Bulldogs, who won their fifth straight WCC regular-season title, downed San Diego in the semifinal and Saint Mary's in the title game.
Winthrop captured the automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament by winning the Big South Tournament. The top-seeded Eagles defeated Coastal Carolina 74-62, Birmingham Southern 78-64 and Charleston Southern 68-46 for the crown.
Gonzaga head coach Mark Few and Winthrop head coach Gregg Marshall have something in common - each was named Coach of the Year in his respective conference. Few won his fifth straight West Coast Conference Coach of the Year honor while Marshall captured his third Big South Conference accolade in his seven years.
Gonzaga will be playing a Big South Conference school for the first time in Thursday's meeting with Winthrop. The Big South is comprised of Birmingham Southern, Charleston Southern, Coastal Carolina, High Point, Liberty, Radford, UNC Asheville and VMI in addition to Winthrop.
Gonzaga moved up to 11th in the Associated Press Top 25 last week, matching its highest ranking of the season, and were up one spot to 11th in this week's USA TODAY/ESPN poll for the highest this season. This week's AP rankings were due out late Monday.
Ronny Turiaf continues to move up the Gonzaga career charts. He is fourth on the all-time scoring list with 1,697 points, fourth in career rebounding with 833, second in career blocks with 174, first in career free throws made with 629 and his 532 field goals made are seventh all-time, three shy of matching Richie Frahm for sixth. His 163 free throws made this season rank tied for seventh, two shy of a tie for fourth with himself (2004), Dan Dickau (2002) and Bakari Hendrix (1998). His 54 blocked shots this season are third on the single-season list behind Casey Calvary, who had 57 in both 1999 and 2000.
Gonzaga head coach Mark Few is the only NCAA Division I head coach with a minimum of five years head coaching experience who has a career winning percentage of 80.0 percent or better. Few is 158-36 in his sixth year on the Gonzaga bench for a winning percentage of .8144. North Carolina's Roy Williams is Few's closest pursuer at .7996 percent with a career record of 463-116 through Sunday's games.
Gonzaga senior Ronny Turiaf is a one of 23 student-athletes on the John R. Wooden Award national ballot released Saturday. He is also a Naismith Trophy Mid-Season Top 30 selection. It marks the sixth time in the last seven years the Bulldogs have had a Wooden finalist, including Turiaf last season. The Top 10 Wooden All-America Team will be announced on March 29, and the Top Five All-Americans will gather April 9 in Los Angeles where one will receive the Wooden Award Trophy as the most outstanding collegiate basketball player of the year. Dan Dickau was Gonzaga's only Top 5 All-American in 2002, while Casey Calvary was Gonzaga's inaugural Top 10 All-American in 2001. Blake Stepp was a Top 10 selection last season for the Bulldogs. Turiaf was also a finalist for the Naismith Trophy last season. The Naismith is presented by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. Four finalists will be announced in March, with the trophy presentation in April. Gonzaga head coach Mark Few is one of 20 finalists for the Naismith Coach of the Year honor.
Ronny Turiaf and Adam Morrison have each been named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) District 14 first team, the Bulldogs joining Stanford with two first-team selections. Chris Hernandez and Dan Grunfeld of the Cardinal, and Nate Robinson of Washington round out the first team. Dan Kickert, Saint Mary's; Tre Simmons, Washington; David Lucas, Oregon State; John Cox, San Francisco, and Christian Maraker, Pacific, were named to the second team. Turiaf and Hernandez are first-team repeaters from a year ago.
Gonzaga (25-4) has recorded 20 victories for the eighth straight year and for the 12th time in the last 14 years. Gonzaga's first 20-win season in the NCAA Division I ranks was 1992 when the Bulldogs went 20-10. Head coach Mark Few has never failed to produce a 20-win season.
Since starting the 2003 season 8-5, Gonzaga University is 69-11. Gonzaga put together a 9-game winning streak and went 16-4 down the stretch following that 8-5 start, last year's club went 28-3 and this year's team is 25-4.
CLEAN SWEEP: For the second time in five years Gonzaga University has swept the West Coast Conference men's basketball awards. Mark Few earned his fifth straight WCC Coach of the Year honor, Ronny Turiaf became the fifth straight Bulldog to capture Player of the Year, J.P. Batista is the Newcomer of the Year and Erroll Knight was named the Defender of the Year in a vote of WCC coaches. The Bulldogs swept the awards in 2001 with Few, Casey Calvary as the Player of the Year, Blake Stepp as the Freshman of the Year and Mark Spink as the Defender of the Year. The Newcomer of the Year award replaced the Freshman of the Year for the 2004 season. Gonzaga also landed Turiaf, Derek Raivio and Adam Morrison on the All-WCC first team, while Batista earned honorable mention recognition and David Pendergraft was named to the WCC All-Freshman team.
MORRISON CLOSES IN ON 1,000: Sophomore Adam Morrison is closing in on becoming the 28th member of Gonzaga University's 1,000-point club. He has 889 career points entering Thursday's NCAA Tournament game against Winthrop. He scored a career-high 30 points in the WCC Tournament title game against Saint Mary's. Morrison was named the tournament MVP, averaging 27.5 ppg while going 22-for-38 form the field for 57.9 percent. He also dished out a career-high eight assists in the semifinal win over San Diego.
BACK-TO-BACK LOSSES: Gonzaga has not lost back-to-back games since the 2002-03 season when the Bulldogs lost Dec. 28, 2002, against Stanford 81-71 in the Pete Newell Challenge in Oakland, Calif., and Dec. 31, 2002, at home to Saint Joseph's 79-78 in overtime. Gonzaga has played 74 games since that Saint Joseph's loss without losing back-to-back games.
BULLDOGS WHEN RANKED: Gonzaga is 89-15 when ranked, including 22-4 this season. The Bulldogs are 37-0 at home when ranked, 32-6 away and 17-9 on a neutral court.
YOU CAN CALL ME: There has been much debate on television, on the radio and in the print media this season over the pronunciation of Gonzaga University sophomore Derek Raivio's last name. While the sophomore from Vancouver, Wash., insists he doesn't care, the correct pronunciation is rye-VEE-oh. All of last season and through the early part of this season everyone has gone with rav-EE-oh.
HOME, SWEET HOME: Gonzaga University's 25-game home winning streak is the longest in the country following Oklahoma State University's loss to the University of Texas that snapped the Cowboys 29-game streak. Southern Illinois University is second with 24 and the University of Washington is third at 22. Gonzaga went a perfect 13-0 at home this season in their inaugural season in the McCarthey Athletic Center. It's Gonzaga's fifth undefeated home season in the past seven years, and their seventh since 1993. The Bulldogs had a 34-game home winning streak from 1992-95 that ranked second in the country at the time, won 29 straight from 2000-03 and had a 20-game streak from 1998-00.
THREE BALL: Gonzaga University has extended its streak of consecutive games with a 3-pointer to 389. The last time the Bulldogs failed to hit a trey was Jan. 27, 1993, when the Bulldogs went 0-for-5 at home against Portland.
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