Bulldogs, Huskies Ready For Top 10 Confrontation

Dec. 19, 2008

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Men's Basketball Game Facts
Game No. 10 - University of Connecticut
Saturday, December 20 - 1 p.m.
KeyArena - Seattle, WA - The Battle in Seattle
Radio: News Talk 1510 KGA (Spokane); Oldies 101.1 FM (Spokane)
Pre-game show 30 minutes prior to tipoff
TV: CBS-TV (Check local listings)
No. 8/T7 GONZAGA UNIVERSITY BULLDOGS (8-1; 0-0 West Coast)
G -   2 Jeremy Pargo, 6-2, 220, Sr., Chicago, IL
       (8.9 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 7.6 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.3 blocks)
G - 15 Matt Bouldin, 6-5, 224, Jr., Highlands Ranch, CO
       (11.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.7 assists, 1.9 steals)
G - 22 Micah Downs, 6-8, 194, Sr., Kirkland, WA
       (10.3 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 1.3 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.3 blocks)
C -  42 Josh Heytvelt, 6-11, 260, Sr., Clarkston, WA
       (15.7 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 0.4 assists, 0.8 steals, 1.2 blocks)
F -   5 Austin Daye, 6-11, 200, So., Irvine, CA
       (13.0 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 1.0 assists, 1.1 steals, 2.4 blocks)
HEAD COACH:  Mark Few (University of Oregon, 1987)
GONZAGA RECORD:  244-61 (10th year - 20th at GU) CAREER RECORD:  Same

No. 2/2 UNIVERSITY OF CONNECTICUT HUSKIES (9-0; 0-0 Big East) G - 11 Jerome Dyson, 6-4, 190, Jr., Rockville, MD (15.4 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 3.3 assists, 1.7 steals) G - 12 A.J. Price, 6-2, 181, Sr., Amityville, NY (8.8 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 3.6 assists, 0.9 steals) G - 24 Craig Austrie, 6-3, 176, Sr., Stamford, CT (10.9 ppg, 1.2 rpg, 2.4 assists, 0.7 steals) C - 34 Hasheem Thabeet, 7-3, 263, Jr., Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania (14.9 ppg, 12.1 rpg, 0.4 assists, 0.6 steals, 3.8 blocks) F - 4 Jeff Adrien, 6-7, 243, Sr., Brookline, MA (14.4 ppg, 9.2 rpg, 1.8 assists, 0.3 steals, 1.2 blocks) HEAD COACH: Jim Calhoun (American International, 1968) UCONN RECORD: 535-200 (23rd year) CAREER RECORD: 783-337 (37th year). GAMES PRIOR TO GONZAGA: None.

Game No. 11 - Portland State University
Tuesday, December 23 - 5 p.m.
McCarthey Athletic Center - Spokane, WA
Radio: News Talk 1510 KGA (Spokane); Oldies 101.1 FM (Spokane)
Pre-game show 30 minutes prior to tipoff
TV: KHQ-TV (Spokane); FSN (Check local listing)
G -  10 Jeremiah Dominquez, 5-6, 150, Sr., Salem, OR
      (12.4 ppg, 2.0 rpg, 2.4 assists, 1.3 steals)
G -    3 Andre Murray, 6-2, 200, Sr., Los Angeles, CA
      (11.6 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 2.5 assists, 0.8 steals)
F -   21 Phil Nelson, 6-7, 220, So, Keizer, OR
       (10.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.5 steals, 0.6 steals, 0.5 blocks
F -   13 Tyrell Mara, 6-6, 235, Jr., White Rock, British Columbia
      (3.9 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 1.2 assists, 0.5 steals)
F -   44 Jamie Jones, 6-7, 215, Jr., El Segundo, CA
       (11.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 0.9 assists, 0.9 steals, 1.3 blocks)
HEAD COACH:  Ken Bone (Seattle Pacific, 1983)
PSU RECORD:  61-42 (4th year)  CAREER RECORD:  319-160 (17th year).
GAMES PRIOR TO GONZAGA:  12/20 vs. Montana.
NOTE: Ranking is Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN.

Gonzaga University can now turn its attention to THE game of this week as the Bulldogs head to Seattle for the 6th annual Battle in Seattle to face the University of Connecticut Huskies. The Bulldogs disposed of winless Texas Southern University 84-42 Thursday night in their first home game in exactly one month, setting up the match-up between the second-ranked Huskies and Gonzaga, ranked 8th this week by Associated Press and tied for 7th by USA Today/ESPN. Game time is 1 p.m. Saturday with approximately 47 percent of the country watching on CBS Sports.

Josh Heytvelt scored 21 points - one shy of his season high - as Gonzaga University crushed winless Texas Southern 84-42 on Thursday night in one of the few scheduled events that occurred after Spokane was hit by a paralyzing snowstorm. Micah Downs added 14 points for the Bulldogs, who rebounded from a loss at Arizona in its previous game. This one was over early, as Gonzaga had its finest defensive showing of the season. Texas Southern scored first, then Gonzaga replied with a 20-2 run over the next 7 minutes. The Tigers finally got their offense going, but couldn't make up much ground as Gonzaga hit seven of its first nine 3-point attempts to build a 35-15 lead. Heytvelt scored four straight baskets for Gonzaga, including a 3-pointer followed immediately by a flying slam dunk, for a 44-17 lead. Gonzaga led 53-19 at halftime, holding the Eagles without a field goal for the final 7 minutes of the half to take their biggest lead of the season. The Zags shot 65.6 percent from the field in the first half, including 9-of-11 on treys. Texas Southern shot 29 percent and was outrebounded 22-10 in the half. The Zags substituted liberally in the second half.

Still one of the most talked about NCAA Tournament games in the 1999 Elite Eight matchup between Gonzaga University and the University of Connecticut. With Quentin Hall providing much of the firepower and leadership in that matchup in the desert of Phoenix, Ariz., the Bulldogs nearly pulled off one of the most amazing in NCAA Tournament annals in their Cinderella run that struck midnight with the 67-62 setback to the Huskies. Hall finished with a team-high 18 points, but Richard Hamilton countered with a game-high 21 for the Huskies, who went on to win their first of two national championships as the Bulldogs captured the hearts of the nation with their 28-7 record. UConn would win the national title again in 2004, and GU has extended its NCAA Tournament streak to 10 straight.

In the month between home games - a stretch that ended Thursday night - Gonzaga University traversed the country for a total of 12,507 miles. The trek began in Orlando, Fla., for the Old Spice Classic over Thanksgiving, continued in Indianapolis for the Hartford Hall of Fame Challenge, saw a short sojourn to Pullman to face Washington State University and concluded last weekend in Phoenix, Ariz., for the Desert Classic. Along the way the Cougars played Oklahoma State University, the University of Maryland and the University of Tennessee in winning the Old Spice Classic; saw the Bulldogs down Indiana University at Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts of the NFL in the first collegiate game played in the first-year facility; dominated WSU in the second half in a 74-52 win on the Cougars' home court, and ended with last Sunday's 69-64 upset at the hands of the University of Arizona. This year's schedule rivals the 2006-07 season when the Bulldogs traveled 15,865 from Nov. 21-Jan. 3 that saw the Bulldogs make three coast-to-coast trips and play just one home game the month of December.

Saturday's game against No. 2 University of Connecticut is Gonzaga University's first matchup against a Top 10 foe since traveling to No. 1 University of Memphis last Jan. 26.

While the players are long gone, two men who were on the sidelines in 1999 are still there with their respective teams. Current Gonzaga head coach Mark Few was an assistant on Dan Monson's staff and just months following the UConn game would become head coach of the Bulldogs went Monson went to the University of Minnesota. Jim Calhoun was the head coach of the Huskies then and still is patrolling the sidelines in his 37th season as a head coach, his 23rd year at UConn.

Mark Few, in his 10th season as head coach of Gonzaga University, was 9-years-old when Jim Calhoun began his collegiate coaching in 1972 at Northeastern University. Calhoun has more losses (337) than Few has games coached (307). Calhoun's 783 career wins - 535 of them at UConn - make him the 19th coach to reach the 700-win plateau. Few brings a lofty 244-61 career record into the contest for an 80.0 winning percentage, second behind Roy Williams on the active list.

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 55-2 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 244 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. Sam Dower, a 6-9, 220-pound left-handed senior center/forward from Osseo, Minn., High School and 6-5, 185-pound wing Mangisto "Manny" Arop will join GU next season. 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.



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