Basketball Exhibition Season To Open

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Oct. 31, 2003

FIRST OF TWO: Gonzaga University's men's basketball team will play its first of two exhibition contests Saturday when Emporia State University visits the sold out Kennel for a 7 p.m. tipoff. Gonzaga will face Northwest Sports the following Saturday at 6 p.m. in The Kennel.

HIGHLY TOUTED: Gonzaga University is highly touted thus far in the preseason rankings, ranked 12th in the USA Today/ESPN Top 25 released on Thursday. Most preseason publications rank the Bulldogs sixth to 11th.

THE FOE: In Emporia State University, the Bulldogs will be facing one of the more successful NCAA Division II teams in the country. ESU is 15th among the all-time winningest NCAA Division II programs with 1,175 wins entering the 2003-04 campaign. Coached by David Moe, the Hornets were 16-12 a year ago and lost in the first round of the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association. ESU was picked second in this year's MIAA preseason coaches poll behind defending champion Washburn University.

REUNION TIME: There will be a reunion on the court Saturday - if not sooner. Emporia State University head coach David Moe was a top assistant on the University of Colorado staff when current Gonzaga University forward Richard Fox played for the Buffaloes. Fox transferred to Gonzaga following the 2001-02 season and Moe left for ESU following the 2000-01 season.

BANGED UP BULLDOGS: Gonzaga University head coach Mark Few may not know what his roster will look like until sometime Saturday - perhaps as late as game time. Junior forward Ronny Turiaf is definitely sidelined with a stress fracture. Sophomore Erroll Knight (ankle), senior guard Tony Skinner (knee) and forward Richard Fox (knee) have nagging injuries. "There's nothing of a season-ending nature, just a bunch of nagging injuries," Few said. "But that means some young players (such as freshmen Adam Morrison and Derek Raivio; redshirt freshman Sean Mallon) have been getting a lot of reps in practice and could see a lot of minutes on Saturday. If there's a silver lining because of the injuries I guess that would be it."

STEPP RETURNS: One player who is back off an injury is 2003 West Coast Conference Player of the Year Blake Stepp. He missed virtually all of last week of practice after bruising his knee, but returned to practice this week. "It looks like Blake is healthy and ready to go," head coach Mark Few said. Stepp was selected to last summer's USA Basketball Pan-American Games Team that competed in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

REGULAR-SEASON OPENER: Gonzaga University opens the regular season Nov. 14 against Saint Joseph's University in the Coaches vs. Cancer showcase event in Madison Square Garden. The teams have split meetings each of the last two seasons, each capturing a road victory. The Bulldogs play their home opener Nov. 21 against the University of Idaho at 7 p.m. in The Kennel.



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