Gonzaga, Davidson To Meet In Battle In Seattle
June 25, 2009
SPOKANE, Wash. - Gonzaga University and Davidson College, who met in the 2008 NCAA Tournament First Round, will have a re-match Dec. 12 at the Comcast Battle in Seattle at KeyArena.
The Comcast Battle in Seattle, which has become a staple basketball event in the state of Washington, will return in December for its seventh year. The game that has brought record breaking attendances and world class coaches and players to KeyArena will follow tradition by bringing in Coach Bob McKillop and his Davidson Wildcats to face off against Mark Few and the Bulldogs.
Regarded as one of the top coaches in the nation, McKillop is no stranger to success. He was named the 2008 National Coach of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches. A seven time Southern Conference Coach of the Year, he has led his program to 13 Southern Conference Championships, five NCAA Tournaments and four NIT appearances. He has accumulated a remarkable 367-240 record in his tenure at Davidson, and has earned 209 Southern Conference wins.
McKillop posts a very impressive resume; however, he faces another highly decorated coach in Few. In his 10 years as Gonzaga, Few has taken his teams to the NCAA tournament 10 times, with four Sweet 16 appearances. The Oregon native was recently one of six coaches selected to serve as court coaches for the 2009 USA Basketball Men's U19 World Championship and World University Games team trials.
This will be only the second match-up between these two distinguished coaches.
The last time these two teams played each other was in a heated first round match of the NCAA Tournament in March of 2008. Davidson outlasted the Zags 82-76 on what may have been one of the greatest individual efforts in the history of the Big Dance. Stephen Curry hit a tie breaking 3-pointer with a little more than one minute left, and two key free throws in the final 15 seconds to ice the game. Gonzaga could not find an answer for Curry as the All American guard scored 30 out of his 40 points in the second half. Despite the seven 3-point field goals and 21 point effort from guard Steven Gray, the Bulldogs were eliminated in the first round.
Although Curry will not be around for this match-up, Steven Gray will. Gray was a key player in last year's Comcast Battle in Seattle, scoring 23 points in the contest against UConn. He averaged 9.1 points per game last season, and with the loss of Josh Heytvelt, Jeremy Pargo, Micah Downs and Austin Daye, will likely step up as a team leader.
Along with Gray, Matt Bouldin will return for the Zags, bringing his senior experience and plenty of talent. Last year Bouldin was second on the team in scoring averaging 13.6 points per game and 4.1 rebounds and was selected to the All-West Coast Conference first team. Also returning for Gonzaga will be Demetri Goodson and Robert Sacre, who will provide much needed depth and experience.
Even though Davidson will feel the loss of Curry and graduated senior Andrew Lovedale, they have experienced returners in Will Archambault, Steve Rossiter, and Bryant Barr. Archambault averaged 8.3 ppg, and 4.3 rebounds. Rossiter was the team's second leading rebounder last season averaging 5.9 while offering 6.1 ppg. Also returning for Davidson is once highly touted recruit Frank Ben-Eze, who will look to make an impact for the Wildcats this season.
After breaking out to a perfect record in the first three years of the Comcast Battle in Seattle, Gonzaga suddenly finds itself in the midst of a three game losing streak in this annual event. Last season the 2nd ranked University of Connecticut Huskies defeated the 7th ranked Bulldogs 88-83. The 2008 Comcast Battle in Seattle lived up to expectations as the overtime thriller created an atmosphere reminiscent of a March Madness game. Sure enough, both teams in the 2008 game were invited to participate in the NCAA tournament. The Bulldog's three victories in the history of the event have come over Missouri (2003), UMass (2004), and Oklahoma State (2005).
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