Men's Basketball Opens Season Friday

Nov. 9, 2006

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Men's Basketball Game Facts
Game No. 1 - Eastern Washington Eagles
Fri., Nov. 10 - 5 p.m. PST
McCarthey Athletic Center - Spokane, WA
Radio: News Talk 1510 KGA (Spokane)
Pre-game show 30 minutes prior to tipoff
TV: KHQ-TV (Spokane); FCS (Check local listings); FSN (Tape Delayed 7 p.m.)
GONZAGA UNIVERSITY BULLDOGS (29-4; 14-0 West Coast in 2006)
G -   2 Jeremy Pargo, 6-2, 219, So., Chicago, IL
       (2.7 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 2.0 assists, 0.9 steals)
G -   5 Derek Raivio, 6-3, 177, Sr., Vancouver, WA
       (11.1 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 2.8 assists, 1.5 steals)
G -   4 Pierre Marie Altidor-Cespedes, 6-0, 182, Jr., Montreal, Quebec
       (4.2 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 2.6 assists, 0.9 steals)
F -  42 Josh Heytvelt, 6-11, 238, So., Clarkston, WA
       (3.6 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 0.4 steals, 0.5 blocks)
F -  32 Sean Mallon, 6-9, 223, Sr., Spokane, WA
       (6.8 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.2 assists, 0.3 steals, 0.5 blocks)
HEAD COACH:  Mark Few (University of Oregon, 1987)
GONZAGA RECORD:  188-41 (8th year - 18th at GU)  CAREER RECORD:  Same

EASTERN WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY EAGLES (15-15; 9-5 Big Sky in 2006) G - 3 Rodney Stuckey, 6-5, 205, So., Kent, WA (24.2 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 4.1 assists, 2.2 steals) G - 5 Matt Penoncello, 6-5, 210, So., Moscow, ID (6.6 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 1.7 assists, 0.8 steals) G - 44 Michael Taylor, 6-4, 190, Fr., Brewster, WA (Did not play in 2006 - Attended high school) F - 41 Derek Risper, 6-8, 235, Sr., Moreno Valley, CA (2.3 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 0.6 assists, 0.4 steals) F - 43 Paul Butorac, 6-10, 215, Sr., Medical Lake, WA (10.3 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 1.4 assists, 0.4 steals, 1.8 blocks) HEAD COACH: Mike Burns (Central Washington, 1999) EWU RECORD: 23-35 (3rd year) CAREER RECORD: Same GAMES PRIOR TO GONZAGA: None.

Game No. 2 - Rice University Owls
Tues., Nov. 14 - 9 p.m. PST
Dick's Sporting Good NIT Season Tip Off
Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena - Spokane, WA
Radio: News Talk 1510 KGA (Spokane)
Pre-game show 30 minutes prior to tipoff
TV: ESPN2
RICE UNIVERSITY OWLS (12-18; 6-8 Conference USA in 2006)
G -  5 Lorenzo Williams, 6-1, 165, Sr., Killeen, TX
      (10.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 6.1 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.3 blocks)
G - 21 Rodney Foster, 6-1, 185, So., Katy, TX
      (4.3 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 1.9 assists, 0.8 steals)
C -  31 Greg Killings, 6-10, 240, Sr., Miami, FL
      (1.8 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 0.4 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.5 blocks)
F -  22 Morris Almond, 6-6, 215, Sr., Powder Springs, GA
      (21.9 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 1.1 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.7 blocks)
F -  41 Patrick Britton, 6-8, 200, Jr., San Antonio, TX
       (5.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 0.6 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.9 blocks)
HEAD COACH:  Willis Wilson (Rice, 1982)
RICE RECORD:  200-203 (15th year)  CAREER RECORD:  Same
GAMES PRIOR TO GONZAGA: 11/11 vs. Paul Quinn

Gonzaga University opens the 2006-07 men's basketball season at home Friday when nearby rival Eastern Washington University visits. Game time is 5 p.m. at the sold out McCarthey Athletic Center.

There are a lot of streaks at stake every time Gonzaga steps on a basketball court in the city of Spokane. The Bulldogs own the longest current home winning streak in the NCAA Division I ranks, bringing a 40-game run into the season. That streak spans two home venues - The Kennel in the Martin Centre and the 3-year-old McCarthey Athletic Center. The Bulldogs won their final 12 games in the Martin Centre, and have run off 28 straight in the McCarthey Athletic Center the past two seasons. Since beginning the streak Feb. 22, 2003, with a 69-60 win over Tulsa University, the Bulldogs have also played - and won - four games at the downtown Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. That gives the Bulldogs a 44-game winning streak in the city of Spokane.

While Gonzaga University brings its aforementioned 40-game home winning streak into this season, the Bulldogs have also won 43 of their last 44 non-conference home games. The Bulldogs dropped a 79-78 verdict to Saint Joseph's University on Dec. 31, 2002, for the only home non-conference setback since a 67-63 overtime loss to the University of Montana on Dec. 14, 1996.

The first four games for Gonzaga University this season are guaranteed to be in Spokane. Following Friday's season and home opener Gonzaga will play in the Dick's Sporting Goods NIT Season Tip Off at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena next Tuesday and Wednesday, Nov. 14-15. The Bulldogs open play with Rice University at 9 p.m. next Tuesday. The Bulldogs will play in either the championship or consolation game on Nov. 15, then host The University of Texas San Antonio on Nov. 19 back in the McCarthey Athletic Center. If the Bulldogs win both NIT games in the Spokane Arena they will head for the NIT in New York with games Nov. 22 and Nov. 24. If they don't advance to New York the Bulldogs will have two more home games - Nov. 26 against the University of Idaho and Nov. 30 against Portland State University - prior to heading out of town for the first time with a game Dec. 2 against the University of Texas in Phoenix, Ariz.

One of the most remarkable winning streaks in Gonzaga's basketball history is the current 20-game winning streak the Bulldogs have against Eastern Washington University heading into Friday's season opener. The streak began Dec. 13, 1990, with a 108-67 win at Reese Court in Cheney, home of the Eagles, and continued through last year's 75-65 Gonzaga win at the Spokane Arena. Gonzaga is 8-0 at home - all the games in the old Kennel - and 8-0 in Cheney to go with the four neutral-court victories in the Spokane Arena. The Bulldogs 84-74 overtime home victory in 2001 saw Gonzaga rally from a 16-point halftime deficit, and the following year Blake Stepp hit a 3-pointer with 30 seconds remaining to give the Bulldogs their first lead in a 67-64 win in the first game in the series in the Spokane Arena. Gonzaga twice trailed by 17 points in the second half of that game.

Eight newcomers dot the Gonzaga University roster this season, although two of them were redshirt walk-ons a year ago. Matt Bouldin, a 6-5 guard from Highland Ranch, Colo., Will Foster, a 7-4 center from Buckley, Wash., and Theo Davis, a 6-9 forward from Brampton, Ontario, are the recruited freshmen in the fold. Abdullahi Kuso, a 6-9 forward from Tallahassee Community College by way of Kaduna, Nigeria, is the long junior college transfer. Micah Downs, a 6-8 guard from Kirkland, Wash., and David Burgess, a 6-10 forward from Irvine, Calif., were two mid-year transfers last January who won't be eligible until after finals on Dec. 16 and their grades are certified. Downs joined the Bulldogs are one semester at the University of Kansas and Burgess came to Gonzaga in the middle of his sophomore campaign at Brigham Young University. They join 6-2 sophomore guard Andrew Sorenson from Olympia, Wash., and 6-2 freshman guard Jordan Mast from Hillsboro, Ore. Mast redshirted last season while Sorenson tried out for the team in 2004-05 but did not make the squad, then tried out for the team again last season and was kept on the squad.

Injuries have slowed the progress of several players this year, the most notable to sophomore Larry Gurganious who is sidelined for at least 6-8 weeks with a cracked lower vertebrae. Gurganious' injury was recently diagnosed after he had missed most of fall practice with back problems. He is expected to be sidelined at least 6-8 weeks and perhaps the season. It's an injury that doesn't heal very quickly and sometimes doesn't heal at all, according to head coach Mark Few. Transfers Micah Downs and David Burgess, who don't become eligible until after finals in December because they were mid-season transfers last January, have also been slowed. Downs is back at practice after minor foot surgery and Burgess is expected to be sidelined until approximately Dec. 1 with an ACL sprain. Freshman Theo Davis had shoulder surgery, is expected to be out until some in December and could sit out the season.

The status of 7-4 freshman Will Foster is still being evaluated. With potential season-ending injuries to Larry Gurganious and Theo Davis, the decision whether to redshirt Foster or not isn't an easy one. The product of White River High in Buckley, Wash., could use the year to improve his strength and his skills, but the Bulldogs have just 11 healthy bodies heading into the season opener.

Sophomore Josh Heytvelt led four players in double figures with 23 points and Gonzaga University rolled to an 89-53 exhibition men's basketball victory over visiting Augustana College of Sioux Falls, S.D., in its exhibition opener. Heytvelt went 10-for-18 from the field and grabbed 8 rebounds in 25 minutes of action. Senior point guard Derek Raivio chipped in 16 points - most coming from his 4-for-6 night from 3-point range - and had three assists and four steals. Sophomore guard Jeremy Pargo had 13 points and senior Sean Mallon 10. David Pendergraft paced the Bulldogs with 10 rebounds. Gonzaga saw the Vikings hang close for the first 12 minutes, the Bulldogs leading just 23-22 with 7:41 to go in the opening half. But the Bulldogs went on a 21-6 spurt to close the half and build a 44-28 lead at intermission. The defense held Augustana to 32.8 percent from the field on 19-of-58. The Bulldogs also held a 49-38 rebound advantage. Pierre Marie Altidor-Cespedes, who had a pair of assists, two blocks and three steals while coming off the bench for 27 minutes. All 11 players in uniform saw action, with freshman Matt Bouldin and junior college transfer Abdullahi Kuso getting the most minutes among the newcomers. Bouldin played 27 minutes, Kuso 14.

Senior Sean Mallon and sophomore Josh Heytvelt each scored 20 points to lead Gonzaga University to a 97-52 non-conference men's basketball exhibition victory over Warner Pacific in the final exhibition prior to the start of the regular season. The game was delayed for 22 minutes when Warner Pacific didn't arrive at the McCarthey Athletic Center until 6:45 p.m. for the scheduled 7 p.m. tip-off after experiencing travel problems that began Saturday morning in Sacramento, Calif. Despite the travel woes the visitors from Portland, Ore., hung with the Bulldogs for most of the first half. The Bulldogs went on a 12-4 run to take an 18-10 lead with 11:46 to go in the opening half. Mallon had half of Gonzaga's points in that spurt. But the Knights came back to cut the lead to 20-17 at the 9:00 mark. The Bulldogs pushed the lead back to nine points at 29-20 with 4:57 to go in the half, then went on a 12-4 run over the final 3:28 of the half to open a 43-29 lead. The second half was all Gonzaga as the lead went to 20 in the first 3:30 of the second half and the Knights never got closer than 15 points. Gonzaga shot 58.6 percent from the floor, going 34-for-58 from the field. The Bulldogs shot 65.5 percent in the second half (19-for-29).

Gonzaga University head men's basketball coach Mark Few announced the signing of four players to national letters-of-intent to join the Bulldogs next fall. Scheduled to join the Bulldogs next season are freshmen Austin Daye, Woodbridge High in Irvine, Calif.; Steven Gray, Bainbridge High, Bainbridge, Wash., and Robert Sacre (pronounced sack-rEE), Handsworth Secondary School, North Vancouver, British Columbia, and junior college transfer Ira Brown, Phoenix, Ariz., College who hails from Conroe, Texas. Daye, a 6-10, 190-pound wing, was ranked as the 32nd-best player nationally and as the ninth best small forward by one scouting service in the Class of 2007. He was named to the Long Beach Press Telegram Best in the West first team as the seventh-leading vote getter and was named to the Hot 100 players for 2007 as selected by Sports Illustrated. Daye averaged 16 ppg, 9 rpg and 3.4 blocks/game as a junior for coach John Halagan. Gray, a 6-4, 190-pound guard, was ranked as the 52nd best player and the 13th best shooting guard in the Class of 2007. He was also named to the Long Beach Press Telegram Best in the West second team. He averaged 24.2 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 4 assists and 2.5 steals last season for coach Scott Orness. Sacre, a 7-0, 255-pound post, was rated as the 100th best player in the Class of '07 and the seventh best center. He averaged 25 ppg, 12 rpg and 4 blocks/game for Handsworth Secondary School and coach Randy Storey last season, earning MVP of the British Columbia Provincial Tournament. Brown, a 6-4, 235-pound forward, was ranked as the 42nd best junior college player in the country after averaging 17 ppg, 10 rpg and shooting 60 percent from the field for Phoenix College and Coach Matt Gordon. A late bloomer to the collegiate game, Brown graduated from Willis High in Texas in May of 2001 and pursued a professional baseball career. He was drafted in the eight round of the 2001 Major League Draft by the Kansas City Royals and played four seasons of minor league baseball, including the 2002 season with the Spokane Indians of the Northwest League.. He attended Phoenix College last season, averaging 17.1 ppg, 9.9 rpg, shooting 57.6 percent from the field (253-for-439) and blocking 59 shots. "This is the first time we've ever had a class nationally ranked," Few said of the recruiting class ranked 11th best in the nation by one scouting service. "We got some offense, we got some size and we got some athleticism. This is a talented group."

Gonzaga is tied for eighth for the longest active NCAA Tournament Appearances Streak. The Bulldogs made their eighth straight appearance in 2006, joining Wisconsin, Texas and Florida. Arizona extended its streak to 22 with last spring's selection, followed by Kansas (17), Kentucky (15), Duke (11) and Michigan State (9). Streaks that ended in 2006 were Cincinnati (14), Stanford (11) and Oklahoma State (8).

Gonzaga has extended its streak of consecutive games with a 3-pointer to 426. The last time the Bulldogs failed to hit a trey was Jan. 27, 1993, going 0-for-5 at home against Portland.

 

 

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