'Zags Won't Sneak Up On Anyone This Season

Nov. 20, 1999

By DOUG FEINBERG
AP MegaSports Writer

SPOKANE, Wash. - Even with a new coach at the helm, don't expect No. 25 Gonzaga to sneak up on many of its opponents this season.

The Bulldogs, who reached the Elite Eight last year in the NCAA Tournament, will travel to Montana on Sunday to open the 1999 season.

Gonzaga (28-7) were the darlings of last season's NCAA Tournament upsetting Minnesota, Stanford and Florida before falling to eventual national champion Connecticut 67-62 in the West Regional Final.

Coach Mark Few, a nine-year assistant at Gonzaga, took over when Don Monson accepted the Minnesota job in late July. He lost two starters from last season's squad and inherits a very tough schedule that will have the Bulldogs traveling to face Cincinnati, Temple and UCLA.

But returning for Few is senior guard Matt Santangelo, who knows that the team still has a lot to prove.

"Last year is over," Santangelo said. "This is a new team. It just so happens we have a lot of the same components and talent level."

Gonzaga is not exactly an overnight success. The Bulldogs won four of the past six West Coast Conference titles, with three NIT appearances and two in the NCAAs. They've averaged 19 wins a season in the 1990s.

"We understand there is a bullseye on us," Few said. "In the league, we've had a bullseye for awhile."

Santangelo will be paired in the back court with senior guard Richie Frahm, who led Gonzaga with 14.4 points per game last season. That included hitting 42 percent (93 of 217) from 3-point range.

Big things are expected out of 6-foot-8 forward Casey Calvary, whose tip-in lifted the Bulldogs to a 73-72 win over Florida in the round of 16. The junior averaged 9.4 points and 6.9 rebounds per game last season.

The Bulldogs will be opening up Montana's new Adams Field House. The Grizzlies (13-14) return their top two scorers in Matt Williams and Mike Warhank from a squad that finished seventh in the Big Sky.

Williams, a first-team Big Sky selection averaged 15.2 points and 7.9 rebounds per contest last season. Warhank averaged 11.2 points and shot 47 percent from behind the 3-point arc.

The two teams last met in 1997 with Gonzaga winning 87-80.

 

 

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