Bulldogs Return To All-College Challenge

Dec. 18, 2007

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Men's Basketball Game Facts
Game No. 12 - Oklahoma
Thursday, December 20 - 6 p.m. PST
O'Reilly's All-College Challenge
Ford Center - Oklahoma City, OK
Radio: News Talk 1510 KGA (Spokane)
Pre-game show 30 minutes prior to tipoff
TV: ESPN2
No. 18/20 GONZAGA UNIVERSITY BULLDOGS (9-2; 0-0 West Coast)
G -   2 Jeremy Pargo, 6-2, 219, Jr., Chicago, IL
       (11.5 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 5.7 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.6 blocks)
G - 20 Larry Gurganious, 6-5, 199, So., Berkeley, CA
       (4.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 0.7 assists, 0.9 steals)
G - 22 Micah Downs, 6-8, 190, Jr., Kirkland, WA
       (10.9 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 2.0 assists, 1.2 steals)
F -  25 David Pendergraft, 6-6, 223, Sr., Brewster, WA
       (9.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 1.3 assists, 0.5 steals)
F -  31 Abdullahi Kuso, 6-9, 241, Sr., Kaduna, Nigeria
      (6.5 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 0.4 steals, 1.0 blocks)
HEAD COACH:  Mark Few (University of Oregon, 1987)
GONZAGA RECORD:  220-54 (9th year - 19th at GU)  CAREER RECORD:  Same

OKLAHOMA UNIVERSITY SOONERS (8-3; 0-0 Big 12 East) G - 5 Tony Crocker, 6-6, 193, So., San Antonio, TX (12.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 2.9 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.5 blocks) G - 11 Omar Leary, 5-10, 163, Jr., Portland, OR (7.4 ppg, 1.7 rpg, 2.2 assists, 1.0 steals) G - 20 Austin Johnson, 6-3, 165, Jr., Amarillo, TX (8.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.3 assists, 0.9 steals, 0.4 blocks) C - 30 Longar Longar, 6-11, 234, Sr., Rochester, MN (12.4 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 1.3 assists, 0.3 steals, 1.0 blocks) F - 23 Blake Griffin, 6-10, 243, Fr., Oklahoma City, OK (13.0 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 1.6 assists, 1.5 steals, 1.0 blocks) HEAD COACH: Jeff Capel (Duke, 1997) UO RECORD: 24-18 (2nd year) CAREER RECORD: 103-59 (6th year) GAMES PRIOR TO GONZAGA: None.

Game No. 13 - Tennessee
Saturday, December 29 - 1 p.m.
Comcast Battle In Seattle
KeyArena - Seattle, WA
Radio: News Talk 1510 KGA (Spokane)
Pre-game show 30 minutes prior to tipoff
TV: ESPN
No. 12/12 UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS (9-1; 0-0 SEC)
G -    2 JaJuan Smith, 6-2, 195, Sr., Cleveland, TN
      (15.0 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 2.7 assists, 2.2 steals)
G -    5 Chris Lofton, 6-2, 200, Sr., Maysville, KY
      (14.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.8 assists, 1.7 steals)
G -  15 Jordan Howell, 6-3, 190, Sr., Auburn, AL
      (7.6 ppg, 1.4 rpg, 3.3 assists, 1.0 steals)
F -    1 Tyler Smith, 6-7, 215, So., Pulaski, TN
      (13.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 3.6 assists, 2.3 steals, 0.3 blocks)
F -    4 Wayne Chism, 6-9, 242, So., Jackson, TN
      (8.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 0.9 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.9 blocks)
HEAD COACH:  Bruce Pearl (Boston College, 1982)
UT RECORD:  55-20 (3rd year)  CAREER RECORD:  372-104 (16th year)
GAMES PRIOR TO GONZAGA:  12/19 vs. UNC Asheville; 12/22 at Xavier.
NOTE: Poll rankings are Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN, respectively.

Gonzaga University will make its final road trip prior to Christmas break when the Bulldogs make a return trip to Oklahoma City for the second time in three seasons to meet Oklahoma University in the O'Reilly's All-College Challenge, the longest-running collegiate tournament in the country. Gametime is 6 p.m. PST and will be televised on ESPN2. The first game of the showcase event has Oklahoma State University facing Oral Roberts University. The Bulldogs competed in this event in 2004, downing then third-ranked Oklahoma State 78-75. Following the trip to Oklahoma the Bulldogs will be off until Dec. 26 when they return to campus to begin preparations for The Battle in Seattle Dec. 29 against the University of Tennessee. The Volunteers are ranked 12th in both the Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN polls this week.

Steven Gray missed the first 10 games of his freshman season after fracturing his wrist, and was cleared to play just last week. On Monday night, Gray scored 12 points and played 28 crucial minutes as 18th-ranked and injury-riddled Gonzaga beat overmatched Northern Colorado 77-57. It was the first regular season appearance for Gray, who fractured his wrist in an exhibition game and had a pin inserted on Nov. 14. With leading scorer Matt Bouldin out with an ankle injury, and starting guard Jeremy Pargo slowed by a hyperextended knee, Gray's expected playing time grew sharply in the past week. Freshman Austin Daye had 18 points and seven rebounds for the Zags, while Micah Downs added 17 points, making a career-high five of 10 3-pointers, and Pargo had 10 points and eight assists. Northern Colorado (5-4) started strong, but the Zags' defense wore them down. The Bears shot 24 percent in the first half and 31 percent for the game. They missed their first 13 shots from 3-point range, and finished 4-of-20 from behind the arc. Gonzaga, coming off a nine-day break for final exams, did not score in the opening four minutes and missed its first six shots to fall behind 8-2. Downs hit consecutive 3-pointers and Pargo made a layup for an 8-0 run that tied the score at 14. Gray's 3-pointer gave the Zags their first lead, 17-16 with 10:32 left.

Gonzaga University is off to a 9-2 start for the fourth straight season. Last season the Bulldogs lost four straight after the 9-2 start, and in 2006 the Bulldogs won 21-of-23 games after starting 8-2, including a 20-game winning streak.

With 24 blocked shots through 11 games for a 2.2 average, freshman Austin Daye is on pace to break the single-season school record of 59 blocks set by current Los Angeles Lakers forward Ronny Turiaf.

Sophomore Will Foster played a career-high 15 minutes Monday against Northern Colorado University. The 7-4 product out of Buckley, Wash., added two more blocks to give him five in seven appearances this season. He's averaging 0.7 blocks/game.

Junior Jeremy Pargo has 43 assists over the last six games - including a career-high 13 against Virginia Tech - for an average of 7.2 assists/game over that stretch. He leads the Bulldogs this season at 5.7/game. With 286 assists, he needs eight more to move into 10th on the all-time Gonzaga list ahead of Jamie Dudley (293), and needs 14 for 300 to move ahead of Dan Dickau (299) and into ninth.

After a 1-for-11 day from the field against Washington State University, Austin Daye has connected on 9-of-19 shots the past two games for 47.4 percent.

Gonzaga University moved up one spot to 18th in the Associated Press poll this week, while falling rising three places to 20th in the USA Today/ESPN vote of coaches. The Bulldogs, idle since Dec. 8, received 496 points in the Associated Press Top 25, and 191 in the USA Today/ESPN balloting.

Three teams on the Gonzaga University schedule remain ranked in the Top 15 of both polls this week. The Bulldogs will travel to No. 2 University of Memphis Jan. 25; hosted Washington State University in December, the Cougars are 7th in the AP balloting and 6th in the coaches poll, and will play No. 12 University of Tennessee Dec. 29 in The Battle in Seattle.

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 44-2 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.

Sophomore guard Matt Bouldin sat out Monday's game against Northern Colorado University after suffering a pulled quad and a sprained ankle last Friday in practice. Bouldin tried to play Monday, but it became apparent at the pre-game shoot around he wouldn't be able to play. Although optimism is high he will be able to play Thursday against Oklahoma University in Oklahoma City, the decision could be a game-time decision.

Redshirt sophomore Larry Gurganious, who sat out last season with a back injury, earned his first collegiate start in place of the injured Matt Bouldin in Monday's game, the Berkeley, Calif., native playing 16 minutes.

Senior co-captain David Pendergraft has bounced back from a 3-for-13 day from the field against the University of Connecticut to connect on 11-of-18 from the field over the last three games for 61.1 percent. He's also grabbed seven rebounds in each of the last two games.

Micah Downs is 22-for-47 from the field for 46.8 percent over the past four games and has scored 61 points for 15.3 ppg. He's averaging 10.9 ppg for the season. He's scored 36 points in his last two games.

While freshman Steven Gray made his regular-season debut last Monday after getting clearance following the insertion of pins Nov. 14 into his broken, junior center Josh Heytvelt is closer to seeing his first action of the season. Heytvelt, who has been fighting a stress fracture in his right ankle all fall, underwent surgery Nov. 12 to insert screws into the ankle. He has been given clearance to run and jump on hard surface, and can participate in some drills. It is not known when he'll see his first duty, but the prognosis is it will be no later than the University of Tennessee game Dec. 29 in Seattle.

There might be some magic in that No. 5 jersey freshman Austin Daye is wearing - especially when it comes to the free throw line. Daye is 54-for-60 for 90.0 percent from the stripe this season following an 8-for-8 night against Northern Colorado University Monday. Derek Raivio, who wore No. 5 throughout his Gonzaga career, is one of the most prolific free throw shooters in NCAA history. He finished his career hitting 92.7 percent from the line and holds the top three single-season percentage marks in school history. Raivio went 148-for-154 for 96.1 percent to lead the NCAA Division I ranks in percentage a year ago and ranks second all-time on the NCAA single-season list. For his career he went 343-for-370 for 92.7 percent to rank second in the NCAA based on a minimum of 300 free throws made and 2.5 free throws made/game. Raivio set the Gonzaga record of 56 consecutive free throws. Daye had a string of 29 straight free throws snapped against the University of Connecticut.

Three of the four current former Gonzaga University players in the NBA reside in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Clippers signed Richie Frahm, a free-agent guard who was released by the Phoenix Suns during the preseason. Frahm, a 30-year-old 3-point specialist, has averaged 3.5 points, 1.2 rebounds and 0.6 assists in 130 career games with Houston, Minnesota, Portland and Seattle. He played for Italy's Benetton Treviso in 2006-07 after averaging 3.4 points in 32 games for Minnesota and Houston the previous season. Frahm, a 6-5, 202-pounder, was undrafted after averaging 12.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.9 assists in four seasons (1997-00) at Gonzaga. He was a college teammate of Clippers guard Dan Dickau during the 1999-2000 season, Dickau's redshirt season at Gonzaga following his transfer from the University of Washington. Frahm helped the Zags to the 1999 NCAA Tournament Elite Eight and the 2000 NCAA Sweet Sixteen. He is eighth on the all-time Gonzaga scoring list with 1,621 points, and second in career 3-pointers made (280) and attempts (662). The third Bulldog in LA is Ronny Turiaf with the Los Angeles Lakers. Adam Morrison, currently out for the season with a knee injury, is the fourth Bulldog in the pro ranks with Charlotte.

Gonzaga University has extended its streak of consecutive games with a 3-pointer to 471. The last time the Bulldogs failed to hit a trey was Jan. 27, 1993, going 0-for-5 at home against Portland. UNLV holds the all-time streak of 668 entering this season.

Gonzaga University men's basketball coach Mark Few added three players to his charges for the 2008-09 season with the signing of three players to letters-of-intent. Andy Poling, 6-11, 30-pound forward from Westview High in Portland, Ore.; Grant Gibbs, 6-5, 190-pound guard from Linn-Mar High in Marion, Iowa, and Demetri Goodson, 6-0, 175-pound guard from Klein Collins High in Spring, Texas, outside of Houston, made their intentions official to become Bulldogs on the first day of national letter-of-intent signing day. All three had previously made verbal commitments. Poling averaged 13.9 ppg last season to rank fifth in the Metro League in scoring while leading the Wildcats to a 21-8 overall record and 8-2 second-place Metro League finish. He was named honorable mention All-State 6A in Westview's first season in the newly-created State 6A classification. He was also voted first-team All-Metro League for the Wildcats, ranked seventh in the state heading into the State 6A Tournament where they lost their first two games. Poling was rated one of the 20 best centers in the country by one scouring service. Gibbs averaged 15.0 ppg, 5.0 assists and 5.0 rpg as Linn-Mar captured the Iowa State 4A title last spring. He had 10 points, 8 rebounds and 3 assists in the quarterfinal win over Sioux City North; 20 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 7 steals in the semifinal victory over Urbandale, and scored 15 points, grabbed 8 rebounds, and had a pair of assists and steals in the title game against Bettendorf to cap a 24-1 season. He finished third in tournament scoring with 45 points and tied for fourth with 21 rebounds in earning All-Tournament honors. Goodson helped lead Klein Collins to the Region 2 title game last season while averaging 16.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg and 7.0 assists/game. He was an All-State 5A selection, the largest classification in Texas. Goodson was rated as high as the 135th best player in the country by one scouting service.

Juniors Jeremy Pargo and Josh Heytvelt have been named to the preseason watch lists for a pair of prestigious All-American men's basketball honors. Pargo, a native of Chicago, Ill., is one of 50 players named to the John R. Wooden Award as selected by the Los Angeles Athletic Club's Wooden Award Committee. Heytvelt, who hails from Clarkston, Wash., was named one of 50 preseason candidates for the Naismith Trophy as selected by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. Pargo becomes the eighth Bulldog selected as a Wooden candidate. Heytvelt is the second Bulldog in three years under consideration for the Naismith.

 

 

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