Bulldogs, Bruins In Sweet Sixteen Battle
March 20, 2006
Game No. 33 - UCLA Bruins
Thurs., March 23 - 6:57 p.m. PST
NCAA Tournament - Oakland Regional
Oakland Arena - Oakland, CA
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 (29-3; 14-0 West Coast) G - 5 Derek Raivio, 6-3, 175, Jr., Vancouver, WA (11.0 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 2.7 assists, 1.5 steals) G - 4 Pierre Marie Altidor-Cespedes, 6-0, 181, So., Montreal, Quebec (4.3 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 2.7 assists, 0.9 steals) C - 13 J.P. Batista, 6-9, 269, Sr., Olinda, Pernambuco, Brazil (19.3 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 1.4 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.8 blocks) F - 3 Adam Morrison, 6-8, 205, Jr., Spokane, WA (28.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.8 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.3 blocks) F - 32 Sean Mallon, 6-9, 218, Jr., Spokane, WA (7.0 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 1.2 assists, 0.3 steals, 0.5 blocks) HEAD COACH: Mark Few (University of Oregon, 1987) GONZAGA RECORD: 188-40 (7th year - 17th at GU) CAREER RECORD: Same
Gonzaga and UCLA have met just once, Gonzaga taking a 59-43 victory at Pauley Pavilion Dec. 11, 1999. Ryan Floyd scored a career-high 17 points, including five 3-pointers, and the No. 24 Bulldogs held No. 11 UCLA to its lowest point total ever at Pauley, a mark that still stands. The loss matched UCLA's worst loss in a home non-conference game, having lost by 16 points to DePaul in the 1983-84 season. Casey Calvary finished with a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. At the time the Bulldogs were in one of the toughest stretches in school history entering the UCLA game. The Bulldogs, who began their current NCAA run with an Elite Eight appearance in March of 1999, played No. 1 Cincinnati on Dec. 4 in Cleveland in the Rock-N-Roll Shootout, met No. 18 Temple in Chicago on Dec. 8 in the Great Eight showcase event and then headed to UCLA for the Dec. 11 contest.
Gonzaga is 12-8 overall in the NCAA Tournament following its two wins in Salt Lake City, the Bulldogs making their eighth straight appearance and their fourth Sweet Sixteen trip. The best run for the Bulldogs was 1999 when they advanced to the Elite Eight, falling to eventual NCAA champion Connecticut. Gonzaga followed that run with Sweet Sixteen appearances in 2000 and 2001.
Gonzaga is a No. 3 seed for the second straight year, the Bulldogs downing No. 14 Winthrop 74-64 and falling to No. 6 Texas Tech 71-69 at Tucson, Ariz., as part of the Albuquerque Regional last season. The highest seed the Bulldogs have been is a No. 2 seed in 2004.
UCLA is making its 40th appearance in the NCAA Tournament and is 87-32 heading into Thursday's game with Gonzaga. The Bruins have won 11 national titles, the last coming in 1995 - the year of Gonzaga's first appearance in the NCAA Tournament. UCLA won seven straight crowns from 1967-73 under legendary coach John Wooden.
Gonzaga will be facing its fourth Pacific-10 Conference foe of the season when the Bulldogs battle UCLA on Thursday. Gonzaga split with the Washington schools, falling 99-95 at then-No. 18 Washington and downing Washington State 67-53 at home. The Bulldogs also topped Stanford at home 80-76. Gonzaga is 66-161 all-time against Pac-10 schools, but since 1999 the Bulldogs are 17-7 against Pac-10 competition.
There are plenty of connections between Gonzaga and UCLA. The Bruins Jordan Farmar was highly recruited by the Bulldogs, the Taft High graduate choosing the Bruins over the Bulldogs late in the recruiting process. Ben Howland received his M.S. in Administration and Physical Education from Gonzaga in 1981, also serving as a graduate assistant for the Bulldogs during the 1981-82 season under former head coach Jay Hillock. Howland, a native of Santa Barbara, Calif., had played for Hillock at Santa Barbara Community College for two seasons. Current Gonzaga athletic director Mike Roth replaced Howland on the Gonzaga coaching staff. While Howland was the apparent frontrunner for the UCLA job in the spring of 2003 upon the departure of Coach Steve Lavin, Gonzaga head coach Mark Few was among the rumored candidates also being considered for the UCLA position.
Gonzaga earned the automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament by winning its seventh West Coast Conference Tournament title in the last eight years. The Bulldogs, who won their sixth straight WCC regular-season title, hosted the WCC Tournament for the first time in its current format, downing San Diego 96-92 in overtime in the semifinals and Loyola Marymount 68-67 in the title game. The OT win over San Diego also marked the first overtime contest in the 2-year-old McCarthey Athletic Center on the Gonzaga campus.
UCLA followed Gonzaga's blueprint for getting into the NCAA Tournament, the Bruins winning the Pacific-10 Conference regular-season title by one game over Washington with a 14-4 record, then defeating Oregon State, Arizona and California to capture the Pac-10 Tournament crown.
Gonzaga and UCLA played one common non-conference opponent this season. The Bruins fell to then-No. 11 Memphis in the semifinals of the Pre-Season NIT 88-80 on Nov. 23 in New York. Gonzaga fell to then-No. 4 Memphis 83-72 on Dec. 27 at the FedEx Forum, home of the Tigers. Gonzaga played three of UCLA's Pac-10 brethren in non-conference games, the Bulldogs downing Stanford and Washington State while losing at Washington. UCLA swept the season series from Stanford and WSU and dropped the season series to UW.
Gonzaga has lost just three games this season, but the Bulldogs have no reason to hang their head over any of them. NCAA Tournament No. 1 seeds Memphis and Connecticut downed the Bulldogs, UConn 65-63 in the title game of the EA Sports Maui Invitational and Memphis 83-72 on the road. The Bulldogs also lost at No. 5 NCAA Tournament seed Washington 99-95 in a game in which starting point guard Derek Raivio was sidelined mid-way through the first half with a bruised lower back after taking a tumble on a drive down the lane.
Gonzaga continues to lead the NCAA Division I home court winning streak list with 40, and in the process extended its school record with its West Coast Conference Tournament championship game victory over Loyola Marymount.
Gonzaga won its NCAA-leading 20th straight game with its NCAA Tournament Second Round win over Indiana on Saturday, and the Gonzaga-UCLA showdown Thursday will match the top two teams on the winning streaks list, UCLA with a 9-game streak for second. Gonzaga had its school-record 21-game winning streak in 2004 snapped against Nevada 91-72 in the NCAA Tournament Second Round.
With its 90 points against Indiana, Gonzaga reached the 90-point plateau for just the second time in NCAA Tournament play. The other was against Arizona in the classic 96-95 double-overtime loss in the 2003 Second Round at Salt Lake City, Utah.
Gonzaga is 116-19 when ranked, including 52-0 at home, 40-8 away from home and 24-11 when playing on a neutral court.
Gonzaga finished fifth in the final 2006 Associated Press Top 25 poll. The AP does not do a final poll following the NCAA Tournament. It's the fourth Top 10 finish for the Bulldogs - sixth in 2002, third in 2004 and 10th in 2005 the others.
Sean Mallon had perhaps his best night in a Gonzaga uniform against Indiana last Saturday. He matched his season-high point total with 15 and his career-high rebound total with 10. He went 4-for-7 from the field, 7-for-8 from the line, had two assists, a block, a steal and a turnover in 24 minutes.
Gonzaga had six players score in double figures against Indiana, the first time since Jan. 24, 2002, the Bulldogs have accomplished that feat. J.P. Batista led the way with 20 points against the Hoosiers, Sean Mallon had 15, Adam Morrison 14, Derek Raivio 13, Erroll Knight 11 and Jeremy Pargo 10. The last time the Bulldogs had six players in double digits was against San Francisco when Blake Stepp had 21, Dan Dickau 19, Zach Gourde 17, Ronny Turiaf 13, and Anthony Reason and Cory Violette 10 each.
Senior Erroll Knight battled the effects of the flu last Saturday and came on to have one of his best nights of the season against Indiana. Fighting the chills and a high fever Saturday morning, Gonzaga's medical team in Salt Lake City was able to break his fever in two hours and he was taken to a SLC hospital early in the afternoon to administer an IV to re-hydrate Knight. He scored 11 points, grabbed four rebounds, had a pair of assists and threw down a couple of mammoth dunks. He went 4-for-5 from the field and 3-for-4 from the free throw line while playing 23 minutes. Freshman Larry Gurganious also had the flu and suited but did not play.
Gonzaga University men's basketball coach Mark Few has signed three players to letters-of-intent for the 2006-07 season. Joining the Bulldogs next fall will be Matt Bouldin, a 6-5 guard from ThunderRidge High in Highlands Ranch., Colo., 6-9 forward Abdullahi (ob-duh-lie) Kuso out of Tallahassee, Fla., Community College and 7-3 center Will Foster from White River High in Buckley, Wash. Bouldin was the Colorado Player of the Year as a junior, averaging 15 ppg and 8 assists/game for the 24-4 Grizzlies. ThunderRidge has been in the State 5A title game each of his three previous seasons, capturing the title as a freshman in 2003 and taking the runner-up trophy each of the past two seasons. Kuso played 15 games and averaged 11.6 ppg, 8.8 rpg and 1.5 blocks/game last season for coach Eddie Barnes. He was named to the Panhandle Conference All-Academic team. He had originally signed a letter-of-intent to attend Rutgers University, but never played for the Scarlet Knights. He attended Rimi College in his native Kaduna, Nigeria. Foster's White River team, a member of the Seamount League, has advanced to the Washington State 3A Tournament each of the past three years and has posted a 57-21 overall record in that span.
Gonzaga is tied for eighth for the longest active NCAA Tournament Appearances Streak. The Bulldogs are making their eighth straight appearance, joining Wisconsin, Texas and Florida. Arizona extended its streak to 22 with this year's selection, followed by Kansas (17), Kentucky (15), Duke (11) and Michigan State (9). Streaks that ended this season were Cincinnati (14), Stanford (11) and Oklahoma State (8).
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 extended its streak of consecutive games with a 3-pointer to 425. The last time the Bulldogs failed to hit a trey was Jan. 27, 1993, going 0-for-5 at home against Portland.
Gonzaga junior Adam Morrison has been named to the United State Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) All-America team. He is joined on the first team by Randy Foye, Villanova; J.J. Redick, Duke; Brandon Roy, Washington, and Shelden Williams, Duke. Morrison is the third Bulldog honored by the USBWA, joining Dan Dickau as a first-team selection in 2002 and Blake Stepp as a second-team pick in 2004.
Junior Adam Morrison has also been named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches All-America first team. Senior J.P. Batista and Morrison were named to the NABC All-District 14 first team. This marks the eighth straight season the Bulldogs have been represented on the All-District team.
Senior J.P. Batista recorded his 19th career double-double and his 15th this season with his 13 points and 10 rebounds in the West Coast Conference Tournament Championship against Loyola Marymount. The effort came after Batista suffered a mile quad contusion and ankle sprain in the semifinal victory over San Diego.
With its 29-3 record, Gonzaga has tied its record for victories as well as reaching the 20-win plateau for the ninth straight season and for the 12th time in the last 13 seasons. The Bulldogs set a school record for wins with their 29-4 record in 2002. The Bulldogs went 28-3 in 1999 and 2004 for the second-most wins in school history.
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