Men's Basketball Season Opens Sunday At Montana
Nov. 19, 1999
Game No. 1 - Gonzaga at Montana
Sunday, November 21, 2 p.m. PST
Adams Center/Dahlberg Arena
Radio: KXLI 630 AM 25 minutes prior to tipoff
TV: Montana Power/Touch America
BULLDOGS TIP OFF NEW SEASON: Gonzaga University, under the direction of first-year head coach Mark Few, will also be part of something else new Sunday when the Bulldogs tip off the 2000 season in a 2 p.m. PST game at the University of Montana. The Grizzlies will unveil newly remodeled Adams Center/Dahlberg Arena prior to Sunday's regular-season home opener. The Bulldogs, who have a pair of easy exhibition wins under their belt, will get their first true test since last March when they fell 67-62 to the University of Connecticut in the West Regional Final in Phoenix, AZ. The Bulldogs were the darlings of the nation last March, downing the University of Minnesota, Stanford University and the University of Florida to advance to the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight. UConn went on to win the NCAA title after surviving a scare from the underdogs from Gonzaga.
THE SERIES: Sunday's matchup features a pair of old rivals from Gonzaga University's days in the Big Sky Conference (1963-64 through 1978-79 seasons). But the teams have renewed the rivalry several times since the Bulldogs left the Big Sky to join the West Coast Conference for the 1979-80 campaign. The Bulldogs will be returning to Missoula for the first time since the 1998 season when they took an 87-80 win over the University of Montana. That came on the heels of a 67-63 Montana victory during the 1997 season in The Kennel, the Grizzlies snapping Gonzaga's 41-game non-conference home-court winning streak. Gonzaga leads the overall series 24-16.
SANTANGELO REAPS HONORS: Point guard Matt Santangelo has been the beneficiary of several post-season honors since Gonzaga University's Elite Eight appearance. He was named an Associated Press honorable mention All-America, was named to the USA Basketball World University Games squad that won a gold medal in Spain last July, was named to the Playboy pre-season All-America team and is one of 25 finalists for the John R. Wooden Award which annually goes to the nation's top collegiate men's basketball player. The 6-1 senior from Portland, OR, has 443 career assists in pursuit of John Stockton's school record of 554. His 1,349 career points also moved him ahead of Stockton and into 9th on the Gonzaga career scoring charts. He needs 6 points to jump ahead of Bill Suter (1,354) for 8th and 79 to surpass Doug Spradley's (1986-89) hold on 7th with 1,427.
FRAHM FOR A 1,000: Senior guard Richie Frahm became the 21st player in Gonzaga University history to crack the 1,000-point barrier in his career last season. His 1,028 career points are good for 20th on the Gonzaga list, 11 shy of surpassing John Rillie's 1,038 from 1993-95, 27 away from moving past Jarrod Davis (1991-92) and into 18th and 33 shy of and Bryce McPhee's 1,060 (1981-85).
20 WINS AGAIN: For the sixth time in eight years Gonzaga University hit the 20-win plateau last season, the Bulldogs' 28 wins surpassing the 24 wins of 1998. Last season marked the third time the Bulldogs have hit the magic 20-win plateau in the regular season, the 1994 squad taking a 20-6 record into the West Coast Conference Tournament and the 1998 club 21-8 entering the tourney. The Bulldogs fell in the conference semifinals in 1994, defeated Stanford University in the first round of the NIT, then saw its season end at 22-8 with a 66-64 setback at Kansas State University in the second round. Gonzaga's first 20-win season as a NCAA Division I program came in 1992 with a 20-10 mark, falling to Pepperdine University 73-70 in the Bulldogs' first appearance in the WCC Tournament title game.
CALVARY PACES WCC SHOOTERS: Gonzaga University, known for its deadly perimeter shooting, had the top marksman in the West Coast Conference last season. But it wasn't one of Gonzaga vaunted outside shooters who led the way. Sophomore forward Casey Calvary, combining and outside threat with a powerful inside game, led the WCC with his 65.8 percent accuracy from the field. In also setting a Gonzaga single-season record, he went 127-for-193. That topped the previous record of 63.6 percent set by Bill Dunlap in 1981. Current Gonzaga assistant coach Scott Snider has the third-best percentage in Bulldogs history, shooting 62.9 percent on 124-for-197 in 1996.
FOUR BULLDOGS ALL-WCC: Gonzaga University became the first team since 1988 to have four players named to the All-West Coast Conference team as guards Quentin Hall and Matt Santangelo, forward Richie Frahm, and center Jeremy Eaton were selected by a vote of the WCC coaches to the 1999 squad. Casey Calvary received honorable mention recognition to complete the clean sweep of all five Bulldog starters being recognized. Santangelo, who averaged 12.7 ppg and 5.3 assists, is a two-time selection after receiving honorable mention accolades his freshman season while also picking up Co-Freshman of the Year Honors. Frahm led the Bulldogs in scoring with his 14.4 ppg which included a career-high 37 points at the University of Memphis in Gonzaga's first-round win in the Chase NIT. Calvary, who led the WCC in blocked shots as a freshman, averaged 9.4 ppg and 6.9 rpg. He had 57 blocked shots to rank third in the WCC at 1.6/game, and enters this season with 103 in two seasons. He scored a career-high 17 points at the University of Portland, and grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds at Texas-Pan American. LMU placed Corey Gaines, Hank Gathers, Bo Kimble and Mike Yoest on the 1998 All-WCC squad.
BULLDOGS IN THE KENNEL: The Kennel - home of Gonzaga University's Bulldogs - has gained the reputation as one of the toughest courts in the country. In the last eight seasons the Bulldogs are 93-8 at home for a nifty 92.1 winning percentage. The Bulldogs completed a 10-0 season in The Kennel in 1999, winning by an average of 31.9 ppg. The Bulldogs also posted undefeated home campaigns in 1993 (13-0) and 1994 (14-0), and suffered just one home setback in 1996 and 1998. Gonzaga was 10-1 at home in 1998. The Bulldogs put together a 34-game home-court-winning streak from 1992-95, which at the time was the second-longest active streak in the country.
HOME COOKIN' IN THE KENNEL 1992 12-2 1996 12-1 1993 13-0 1997 10-2 1994 14-0 1998 10-1 1995 12-2 1999 10-0 8-Year Kennel Total = 93-8
SANTANGELO HONORABLE MENTION AA: Guard Matt Santangelo received Associated Press All-America honorable mention recognition last spring, the first Bulldog player since John Stockton in 1884 to receive such an honor. Other Bulldogs to receive national All-America accolades were Bill Dunlap as an AP honorable mention pick in 1982, and Frank Burgess who was a consensus second team All-America selection in 1961. Burgess is the only Gonzaga player to receive consensus honors.
SANTANGELO, FRAHM ALL-DISTRICT 14: Gonzaga University placed Matt Santangelo and Richie Frahm on the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) All-District 14 second team in 1999, the first time the Bulldogs have had two players so honored in one season. The first team was comprised of Todd MacCulloch, University of Washington, Mark Madsen, Stanford University, Arthur Lee, Stanford University, Deaundra Tanner, Oregon State University, and Jason Hartman, Portland State University. Joining Santangelo and Frahm on the second team were Donald Watts, Washington, Eric Schraeder, Saint Mary's College, and Jan-Michael Thomas, Washington State University.
TICKET FEVER: Tickets to Gonzaga University home games are at a premium this season. With season ticket sales at an all-time high, individual game tickets won't go on sale until the Monday prior to each home game - if there are any remaining. The Bulldogs added new upper seating on the south side of The Kennel, including six rows of theater-style chairback seating, which accounted for approximately 300 seats. The long-range plan calls for replacement of the upper north bleachers within the next five years. "We're encouraging fans to buy seasons tickets to ensure their ticket to the games," athletic director Mike Roth said. "At this point, we don't anticipate of lot of individual-game tickets to be available. The Bulldogs make their 1999-2000 regular-season home debut next Friday against Eastern Washington University at 7 p.m.
Head Coach Mark Few Speaks Out On?
START OF SEASON: "It's time to start playing games for real that count. This team came into October with a lot of experience and was far along on the preparation trail in terms of getting ready for the first game."
PLAYING AT MONTANA: "We've played in a lot of hostile environments, but this is one of the most hostile in the U.S. I know how hard it is to play there. I know how well prepared they will be because coach (Don) Holst is a real good coach and is somebody who will have them prepared for everything we do. It will be an incredible challenge right out of the chute. I wish we were playing here for the first one, but it will be one of many challenges for this year."
LEARNING FROM EXHIBITIONS: "I learned they can address some things we tried to focus on in practice in the weeks prior to those games. They cleaned up some things we worked on and put it to use in games. But those exhibitions were hard to get things out of. We got some minutes for the young guys like Jimmy Tricco, Zach Gourde and John Gebbers. It helped re-affirmed how we thought we are going to rotate the minutes. It won't be etched in stone, though."
BENCH PLAY: "I think we'll go at least nine deep. There will be some good players forced to come off the bench. I don't consider them reserves. Mark Spink, Ryan Floyd or Mike Nilson or whoever it is are very integral parts of our teams even though they aren't announced at the start of the game. Zach Gourde is coming along and I think will have some big games for us."
TRICCO A GAMER: "Jimmy Tricco is a gamer. He's actually played better in the games than he has the scrimmages, and that's kind of encouraging. He's still coming along. It's still early to pass judgment on what he can and can't do. I've been happy with his approach, especially on offense and how hard he plays on defense," Few said of the Phoenix, AZ, freshman.
CONCERNS: "The fact we haven't faced adversity yet, and we're going to face a lot of that in Missoula on Sunday. How we hold up and whether we have the same fortitude that we showed down the stretch last year as opposed to early last year is one of the things we need to find out. How are we going to score if we're not shooting it well is another. What kind of tenacity and toughness will we have defensively is another unknown."
DEFENSIVE APPROACH: "We'll mix it up. Our staple has always been our man-to-man and will continue to be. But we're not afraid to mix it up and play different defenses based on what the game dictates."
GONZAGA BULLDOGS (28-7, 12-2 in WCC in 1999)
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