No. 22 Bulldogs Look To Keep Momentum Rolling Against Montana

Dec. 18, 1999

Gonzaga, coming off final exams week and its toughest four-game stretch of the season, will look to continue its early season momentum when it plays host to Montana on Sunday.

The 22nd-ranked Bulldogs (6-2) emerged from a stretch of road games against Cincinnati, Temple, UCLA and Washington with a 2-2 record. Gonzaga defeated Washington 76-66 on Monday following its 59-43 upset of No. 18 UCLA on Dec. 11.

After opening the season against lesser competition, Gonzaga proved during its recent difficult stretch that last season's surprising run to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament was no fluke.

"Before it was always like we could hopefully sneak one out against Washington, or hopefully sneak one out against Washington State," said point guard Matt Santangelo, who is averaging 13 points, 6.0 assists and 5.4 rebounds per game. "But now these are games we're expected to win."

While last season's team relied on clutch 3-point shooting, the Bulldogs have used a stifling defense this season to become one of the nation's elite teams.

The Bulldogs are holding opponents to 36 percent shooting and 59 points per game. After shooting 40 percent from 3-point range last year, Gonzaga is making only 28 percent of its shots from beyond the arc this time.

First-year coach Mark Few believes his team will pull out of its recent shooting slump.

"Our kids are good shooters and it will eventually right itself," he said.

Sunday's matchup with Montana (3-5) will be a rematch of a season-opening, 76-61 Gonzaga win. Six Gonzaga players were in double figures and the Bulldogs held the Grizzlies to just 41 percent shooting from the field.

Matt Williams, who paced Montana with 18 points and 10 rebounds in the first meeting, leads the team with 20.2 points and 8.2 rebounds per game and is coming off a 30-point effort in the team's 103-83 win over Youngstown State on Friday.

Montana has won two of its last three games after starting the season with a 1-4 record.



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