Bulldogs Face Oklahoma State In Thanksgiving Day Matchup

Nov. 24, 2008

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Men's Basketball Game Facts
Game No. 3 - Oklahoma State University
Thursday, November 27 - 6 p.m. PST
Milk House - Lake Buena Vista, FL - Old Spice Classic
Radio: News Talk 1510 KGA (Spokane); Oldies 101.1 FM (Spokane)
Pre-game show 30 minutes prior to tipoff
No. 9/10 GONZAGA UNIVERSITY BULLDOGS (2-0; 0-0 West Coast)
G -   2 Jeremy Pargo, 6-2, 220, Sr., Chicago, IL
       (6.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 9.0 assists)
G - 15 Matt Bouldin, 6-5, 224, Jr., Highlands Ranch, CO
       (10.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.0 steals, 1.5 steals, 1.0 blocks)
G - 22 Micah Downs, 6-8, 194, Sr., Kirkland, WA
       (13.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 0.5 assists, 1.0 steals)
C -  42 Josh Heytvelt, 6-11, 260, Sr., Clarkston, WA
       (15.0 ppg, 7.5, rpg, 0.5 assists, 0.5 steals, 2.0 blocks)
F -   5 Austin Daye, 6-11, 200, So., Irvine, CA
       (15.5 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 0.5 assists, 1.0 steals, 2.0 blocks)
HEAD COACH:  Mark Few (University of Oregon, 1987)
GONZAGA RECORD:  238-60 (10th year - 20th at GU)  CAREER RECORD:  Same

OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY COWBOYS (4-0; 0-0 Big 12) G - 2 Obi Muonelo, 6-5, 215, Jr., Edmond, OK (8.0 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 2.0 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.3 blocks) G - 00 Byron Eaton, 5-11, 210, Sr., Dallas, TX (17.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 5.0 assists, 3.0 steals) G - 1 Terrell Harris, 6-5, 200, Sr., Dallas, TX (18.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 3.0 assists, 2.5 steals) G - 23 James Anderson, 6-6, 205, So., Junction City, AR (19.8 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 2.8 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.0 blocks) C - 21 Ibrahima Thomas, 6-11, 230, So., Dakar, Senegal (10.0 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 0.5 assists, 0.3 steals, 1.8 blocks) HEAD COACH: Travis Ford (Kentucky, 1994) OSU RECORD: 4-0 (1st year) CAREER RECORD: Same GAMES PRIOR TO GONZAGA: None.

NOTE: Ranking is Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN.

Gonzaga University takes to the road for the first time this season when the Bulldogs compete in the Old Spice Classic in The Milk House in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., and part of Disney's Wide World of Sports complex that also includes facilities for baseball, soccer, tennis and track and field. The eight-team tournament opens Thursday with four games, including Gonzaga against Oklahoma State University in the 6 p.m. PST nightcap. The teams play Friday with semifinal and loser bracket games, take Saturday off and play the placing games on Sunday. It's Gonzaga's first appearance in the 3-year-old event. The University of Arkansas claimed the inaugural tourney in 2006, with North Carolina State University winning last year's title.

The eight-team Old Spice Classic field boasts a 19-1 record through games of Sunday. Oklahoma State University leads the way with a 4-0 mark, the University of Maryland and University of Tennessee are both 3-0; Gonzaga University, Michigan State University, Siena College and Georgetown University are all 2-0, and Wichita State University is 1-1, the Shockers loss coming to UMKC by a 66-63 count.

Gonzaga University and Oklahoma State University will be meeting for the third time. The Bulldogs, ranked ninth by Associated Press and 11th by USA Today/ESPN, took a 64-62 win over the Cowboys Dec. 10, 2005, at the Battle in Seattle at KeyArena in the last meeting, Adam Morrison's incredible bank-shot trey with 2.5 seconds to play the difference. Gonzaga also captured a 78-75 win over the third-ranked Cowboys at the All-College Classic in Oklahoma City Dec. 28, 2004.

Thursday will be the third time Gonzaga University has played a Thanksgiving Day contest, the Bulldogs 2-0 in their previous Turkey Day encounters with both coming at the Great Alaska Shootout. Gonzaga downed Western Kentucky University 74-71 last Nov. 22, and Gonzaga's inaugural Thanksgiving contest was Nov. 22, 2001, in a 65-58 win over St. John's University.

Gonzaga University will have had nine days off since an 80-46 win over the University of Idaho Nov. 18. But beginning with the Old Spice Classic Gonzaga will have six games in 18 days - Dec. 6 vs. Indiana University in Indianapolis, Dec. 10 at Washington State University and Dec. 14 against the University of Arizona in Phoenix, Ariz., on the slate after they leave Florida.

For the first time since 2006, Gonzaga University is ranked in the Top 10 of both the Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN basketball polls. The Bulldogs remained No. 9 in the AP voting this week and checked in at No. 10 in the coaches balloting. It marks the first time since 2006 the Bulldogs have been ranked in the Top 10 in both major polls. Gonzaga had a 24-week reign in the Top 10 from Dec. 19, 2005-March 23, 2006.

Three teams ranked in this week's Top 25 - University of Connecticut, University of Memphis and the University of Tennessee - dot the Gonzaga University schedule. UConn, who will face the Bulldogs Dec. 20 in The Battle in Seattle, is ranked second in both polls. Memphis, which comes to Spokane Feb. 7 for College Game Day on ESPN, is 17h in the USA Today/ESPN poll and 18h in the AP rankings after suffering its first loss last weekend, and Tennessee, which will host the Bulldogs Jan. 7, is 12th in both polls. The Bulldogs could also meet Michigan State University (5th AP; 6th USA Today/ESPN) in the second round of the Old Spice Classic and could face Georgetown University (16th USA Today/ESPN; 21st AP) or Tennessee on the final day of the Old Spice Classic. Oklahoma State University, Thursday's opening-round opponent in the Old Spice Classic, Pacific-10 Conference foe Washington State University and fellow West Coast Conference member Saint Mary's College also received votes in at least one of the major polls.

Jeremy Pargo has put up some impressive numbers thus far - and it has nothing to do with scoring. The senior point guard has 18 assists in two games - including 10 in the season opener - for a 9.0 assists/game mark. He has just three turnovers in the two games - all three coming against the University of Idaho after having a flawless game in the opener - for a 6.0 assist/turnover ratio.

Senior Andrew Sorenson, the walk-on from Olympia, Wash., who is a favorite of the home fans, is getting quite a bit of attention for his 3-point skills. His first collegiate field goal came last year at home against Pepperdine University - a trey. His three field goals this year have all come at home, and, you guessed it, have all been from beyond the arc. He's 4-for-14 from the field in his career, all but one attempt a trey.

There's no place like home, and the McCarthey Athletic Center has become quite the home for the Bulldogs since it opened for the 2004-05 season. Gonzaga is 54-2 in the new facility, winning its first 38 games in the McCarthey Athletic Center. Santa Clara University halted the streak with an 84-73 victory Feb. 12, 2007. That loss also snapped a 50-game home winning streak for the Bulldogs, at the time the longest streak in the nation, as Gonzaga left the old Kennel with 12 straight home victories. Gonzaga has a modest 10-game home winning streak since last season's setback to Washington State University.

Head coach Mark Few picked up his 225th career victory Jan. 19, 2008, against the University of San Diego. With 238 victories, Few is third on the all-time Gonzaga victories chart behind Hank Anderson (290-275 in 21 seasons) and Dan Fitzgerald (252-171 in 15 seasons). Few is the active winningest coach in West Coast Conference games at 113-13, moving ahead of Fitzgerald (112-88) on the all-time wins list. Carroll Williams, Santa Clara University (165-137) and Dick Davey, SCU (122-88) hold the top two spots.

Gonzaga University senior Jeremy Pargo is on the 2009 John R. Wooden Award Pre-Season Top 50 list as announced by Richard "Duke" Llewellyn, Wooden Award Chairman and founder. Pargo is eligible for the John R. Wooden All-American Team and Player of the Year Trophy. The native of Chicago, Ill., was on last season's Pre-Season Top 50 list. He is the ninth Bulldog comprising 10 Pre-Season Top 50 nominations since 2000 when Matt Santangelo became Gonzaga's inaugural nominee and was named to the Mid-Season Top 30. Casey Calvary became a Top 10 All-American in 2001, Dan Dickau became the Bulldogs first Top 5 All-American in 2002, Cory Violette was nominated in 2003 and 2004, Ronny Turiaf was nominated in 2004 and 2005 and Adam Morrison was a Top 5 All-American in 2006 and runner-up for Player of the Year honors to J.J. Reddick of Duke University. Pargo became the eighth straight Bulldog to win West Coast Conference Player of the Year honors last season, averaging 12.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg and 6.0 assists/game in leading the Bulldogs to the WCC regular-season title and a 10th straight trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Gonzaga University head coach Mark Few added two players to the Bulldog fold to letters-of-intent. Dower averaged 22 ppg and 10 rpg per game in the month of July and 18 ppg and 9 rpg for this past AAU season, according to head coach Marquise Watts of Net Gain Sports, Dower's AAU club. Net Gain Sports won the Twin Cities Summer Classic, won the adidas 64 Gold Division in Las Vegas and went 3-2 in round-robin play in the Duel in the Desert in Phoenix, according to Watts. "He can score for a big guy. He's a lefty so that makes it harder to defend because most people aren't used to seeing a lefthander," Few said. "He can make a difference and is a unique post player. He had a good spring and a great summer." Watts said Dower has worked hard to improve his game. "Every day over the last two years he's gotten better. I don't think he's begun to scratch the surface. His inside-outside game, he can shoot the three and on the block he's a lefty with a great hook shot," Watts said. "He's athletic, he's working on putting on weight and he will fit in real well at Gonzaga." Dower didn't make the varsity team at Osseo until midway through his sophomore year. He averaged 2.5 ppg and 1.6 rpg then blossomed last season to average 13.4 ppg and 5.9 rpg. Last season he scored in double figures 23 times and had double-digit rebounds six times. The Orioles went 28-1, their lone setback 60-59 in the Region finals. He scored a career-high 23 points at Coon Rapids and grabbed a career-high 12 rebounds at Orono. He had several scholarship offers, among them the University of Minnesota, Marquette University and the University of Iowa. Arop, born in the Sudan, currently lives in Hamilton, Ontario, where he plays with Basketball Canada's National Elite Development Academy (NEDA) which is basically Canada's Junior National Team. His first name is pronounced Man-GEESE-toe, his last name pronounced "rop" (the "a" is silent) but he goes simply by Manny. He recently set a single-game scoring NEDA scoring record with 42 points, and this past summer played for Canada in the FIBA Americas Championship in Formosa, Argentina. He averaged 17.0 ppg to rank second, 10.2 rpg to rank third, shot 52.8 percent from the field on 23-for-58 and 87.5 percent from the line on 14-of-15 in the five tournament games as Canada placed fifth. He had 21 points and 9 rebounds against the U.S. in the tourney. "Manny is a high energy player with a great competitive streak," Few said. "His skill level is something to be excited about. He has a great opportunity to be effective for us at both ends of the court." His mother and four brothers left Sudan when he was 9-years-old and lived in Kenya prior to re-locating to Regina, Saskatchewan. Arop then spent a year in Edmonton, Alberta, before joining Basketball Canada's NEDA program, which is a year-round junior development camp.

The West Coast Conference will revert back to the more traditional Thursday-Saturday format for conference tilts this season. The WCC will be a part of ESPN's "Thursday Night Showcase."



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