Bulldogs Get Early Look At Tennessee In Old Spice Classic Final
Nov. 29, 2008
Game No. 5 - University of Tennessee
Sunday, November 30 - 4:30 p.m. PST
Milk House - Lake Buena Vista, FL - Old Spice Classic Championship
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 (4-0; 0-0 West Coast) G - 2 Jeremy Pargo, 6-2, 220, Sr., Chicago, IL (9.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 7.0 assists, 0.5 steals) G - 15 Matt Bouldin, 6-5, 224, Jr., Highlands Ranch, CO (10.0 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 2.8 steals, 1.8 steals, 0.5 blocks) G - 22 Micah Downs, 6-8, 194, Sr., Kirkland, WA (13.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 1.3 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.3 blocks) C - 42 Josh Heytvelt, 6-11, 260, Sr., Clarkston, WA (15.0 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 0.8 assists, 0.3 steals, 1.8 blocks) F - 5 Austin Daye, 6-11, 200, So., Irvine, CA (14.5 ppg, 9.0 rpg, 0.5 assists, 1.3 steals, 2.5 blocks) HEAD COACH: Mark Few (University of Oregon, 1987) GONZAGA RECORD: 240-60 (10th year - 20th at GU) CAREER RECORD: SameNOTE: Ranking is Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN.
Gonzaga University will get an earlier look than expected at the University of Tennessee when the two ranked squads meet in Sunday's championship of the Old Spice Classic at The Milk House in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Gonzaga, ranked ninth by Associated Press and 10th by USA Today/ESPN advanced to the title game with an 81-59 win over the University of Maryland, while the Volunteers, ranked 12th in both polls, routed Georgetown University 90-72. Gonzaga and Tennessee already have a Jan. 7 date set in Knoxville, the Bulldogs returning the game following last year's Battle in Seattle won by Tennessee 82-72 in the only meeting to date between the teams.
Josh Heytvelt led three Bulldogs in double figures with 22 points and nine rebounds and Austin Daye scored 17 points and had 10 boards for his third career double-double in Friday's semifinals. Gonzaga University held the University of Maryland to just 1-of-13 from 3-point range and 37.3 percent overall from the field. The Bulldogs shot 52.7 percent from the field and won the rebounding battle 41-30, including 12 offensive boards.
The second and third active winningest coaches in the NCAA Division I ranks will square off Sunday when Gonzaga University's Mark Few matches X's and O's with University of Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl. Few, who coached his 300th career game as head coach Friday, is 240-60 for an even 80.0 winning percentage for second on the list behind University of North Carolina's Roy Williams (80.9). Pearl will be seeking his 400th career win Sunday and brings a mark of 399-108 for 78.7 percent and third on the active winningest chart.
Gonzaga University will be looking for its first regular-season tournament title since winning the BB&T Classic hosted by the University of Maryland in December, 2003. The Bulldogs defeated the host Terrapins 82-68 and George Washington University 96-91 to win the title. Ronny Turiaf, now playing with the Golden State Warriors in the NBA, was named the tournament MVP. Prior to that Gonzaga had not won a regular-season title since taking the 1997 Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks, Alaska, when the Bulldogs defeated the University of Tulsa, Mississippi State University and then-third-ranked Clemson University for the crown, a tournament that launched Gonzaga onto the national scene and is considered by many to be defining moment that got Gonzaga started on its incredible run.
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. Gonzaga had a 24-week reign in the Top 10 from Dec. 19, 2005-March 23, 2006.
Jeremy Pargo added three more assists Friday to improve his career total to 450 on the Gonzaga University charts. He ranks fourth behind Matt Santangelo (668), Blake Stepp (640) and John Stockton (554).
Gonzaga University blocked six more shots Friday, Austin Daye getting three more and Josh Heytvelt one. Heytvelt has moved into a tie for eighth on the all-time Gonzaga University list with 72, five behind Abdullahi Kuso (77). Daye already has 64 in his career as he closes in on the 10th spot held by Marc Armstead (70). Casey Calvary is the all-time GU leader with 207.
Gonzaga University is pounding the boards in the early season, the Bulldogs with a +11.6 rebounding margin. Gonzaga has won the battle of the boards in all four games - +13 against Montana State Billings in the season opener, +20 against the University of Idaho, +2 Thursday in the win over Oklahoma State University and +11 in Friday's semifinal victory over the University of Maryland.
The offense and defense are clicking for Gonzaga University in the early going. The Bulldogs have scored at least 80 points in all four games - including a season-high 83 twice - and are averaging 81.1 ppg. On the opposite end of the floor opponents have score over 60 points just once - Oklahoma State University getting 71 Thursday - as Gonzaga is allowing just 57.0 ppg. That's a scoring margin of +24.1.
The only time Gonzaga University and the University of Tennessee have met was last year's Battle in Seattle at KeyArena, a game the then-11th-ranked Volunteers captured 82-72. Nine current Bulldogs played in that game. Jeremy Pargo, Matt Bouldin, Micah Downs and Robert Sacre were starters, while Austin Daye, Josh Heytvelt, Steven Gray, Ira Brown and Andrew Sorenson saw time off the bench. Bouldin. Current Tennessee players who saw action were starters Tyler Smith and Wayne Chism, and reserves J.P. Prince, Brian Williams and Ryan Childress. Bouldin led all scorers with 21.
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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