Men's Basketball Gets Pre-Christmas Tune-up
Dec. 20, 2001
Game No. 12 - Eastern Oregon Mountaineers
Friday, Dec. 21 - 7 p.m. PST
The Kennel - Spokane, Wash.
Radio: News Talk AM 1510 KGA - Pre-game show at 6:45 p.m. PST
TV: PAX (Spokane AT&T Broadband Cable Channel 8, UHF Channel 34)
No. 24 GONZAGA UNIVERSITY BULLDOGS (9-2, 0-0 West Coast Conference)
EASTERN OREGON UNIVERSITY (3-3, 0-0 Cascade Collegiate Conference)
Saturday, Dec. 29 - 4 p.m. PST
William T. Boylan Gymnasium - West Long Branch, NJ
Radio: News Talk AM 1510 KGA - Pre-game show at 3:45 p.m. PST
TV: COMCAST (New Jersey/Philadelphia Corridor)
MONMOUTH UNIVERSITY (5-5, 1-1 Northeast Conference)
EOU VISITS FRIDAY: Gonzaga University gets its last action prior to Christmas break when Eastern Oregon University visits The Kennel Friday for a 7 p.m. tip. The Mountaineers are 3-3 this season and have lost three of their last four. The Bulldogs have won all three previous meetings in the series. EOU is coached by Art Furman, formerly an assistant coach for Larry Steele at the University of Portland, who is in his ninth season. The last time the clubs met was Nov. 24, 1990, the Bulldogs taking a 121-79 victory in The Kennel.
SELLOUTS: Gonzaga University's game Friday with Eastern Oregon University is sold out, as is the Bulldogs' West Coast Conference opener Jan. 11 against Santa Clara University.
EOU VISIT ON TV: Friday's game between Gonzaga University and Eastern Oregon University will be televised in Spokane on PAX, available on AT&T Broadband Cable channel 8 or on UHF channel 34. The game was originally not on the television schedule for PAX, operated locally by KHQ-TV.
VIOLETTE HONORED: Sophomore center Cory Violette has been named the West Coast Conference Player of the Week for the second straight week. Violette had his second straight double-double week, averaging 15.5 ppg and 10.5 rpg as Gonzaga University defeated in-state rivals University of Washington and Washington State University. The Boise, Idaho, native scored 18 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in posting his third straight double-double and fifth of the season at Washington. He just missed another double-double with 13 points and 8 rebounds against the Cougars.
DON'T CALL ME "STATE": Eastern Oregon University has undergone a name and status change since the last time the Mountaineers played Gonzaga University. Formerly Eastern Oregon State College, the LaGrande, Ore., institution of higher learning was awarded university status in 1997. Thus, the official name is now Eastern Oregon University.
BULLDOGS 24TH: Gonzaga University is ranked 24th in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA TODAY Top 25 polls. Gonzaga cracked the AP poll a week ago at 25th. This is Gonzaga's first appearance this season in the ESPN/USA TODAY Top 25.
HEADING EAST: Following a four-day break for Christmas, Gonzaga University will re-group in Spokane on Dec. 26, then depart Dec. 27 for the East Coast for games against Monmouth University on Dec. 29 and a New Year's Eve engagement at Saint Joseph's University. Game time both nights is 4 p.m. PST. There is no local television scheduled for the Monmouth game, which will be broadcast in the New Jersey/Philadelphia area on COMCAST. The Saint Joseph's game will also be televised on the East Coast by COMCAST, but will also be televised in Spokane on PAX (channel 8 on the AT&T Broadband Cable system and on UHF channel 34).
TIME CHANGE REMINDER: Gonzaga University's West Coast Conference game in The Kennel on Jan. 13 against the University of San Diego has been changed to a 1 p.m. start. The game was switched to the earlier starting time to allow San Diego to make airplane connections home that night. Most schedules reflect a 3 p.m. tip off.
BRONCOS SOLD OUT: Gonzaga University's West Coast Conference opener in The Kennel against Santa Clara University on Friday, Jan. 11 is already a sellout. The game is Alumni Homecoming, and Gonzaga's students will still be on semester break.
VIOLETTE, BULLDOGS POUND THE BOARDS: Gonzaga University sophomore Cory Violette and his Gonzaga University teammates came into the season committed to rebound better. Thus far, that commitment has more than paid off. Through games of last Monday, the Bulldogs stood second in the NCAA in rebounding margin at +12.64. Gonzaga, which sat atop the rankings a week ago, slipped to second behind the University of Kentucky at +13.14. Gonzaga was out rebounded for just the second time this season when Washington State University came into The Kennel and took a 39-36 edge. Violette, who had his string of three straight double-doubles snapped against WSU when he scored 13 points and grabbed 8 rebounds, is 29th in the NCAA in rebounding at 9.56 rpg. His career-high 20 rebounds against Fresno State University is tied for the fourth highest single-game total this season in NCAA Division I ranks. He's knotted with Andy Savtchenko of Radford who accomplished the feat against Purdue University, and Rasual Butler of La Salle who turned the trick against Morris Brown University.
SETTING THE RECORD STRAIGHT: It was reported in this space prior to the Gonzaga University-Washington State University game last week that the teams were playing on the Gonzaga campus for the first time since Dec. 13, 1977. Actually, the last time the two schools played in The Kennel (called Kennedy Pavilion prior to 1987) was Dec. 5, 1972, a 54-52 Bulldog victory. All local games since that date have been played in either the old Spokane Coliseum, the new Spokane Arena or Friel Court on the WSU campus. The teams did meet in the 1983 Far West Classic in Portland, Ore., a 71-70 overtime victory for John Stockton and the Bulldogs.
ELITE COMPANY: Gonzaga University is one of just three schools to advance to the Sweet Sixteen each of the past three seasons. Michigan State University and Duke University are the other two. Duke and MSU appeared in their fourth straight Sweet Sixteen in 2001. Since the bracket expanded to 64 teams in 1985, there have been 18 occasions where teams have had runs of three years or more into the Sweet Sixteen. The University of North Carolina leads the way with a 9-year stretch from 1985-93, followed by Duke with a 7-year run from 1986-92.
STEPP BLANKED: Sophomore Blake Stepp failed to score for the first time in 41 career games in last Saturday's Gonzaga University victory over Washington State University. He only took a pair of shots - both 3-pointers - and did not have any free throw attempts. He scored two points twice last season in games against Saint Mary's College and Indiana State University. He had not scored less than three points in a game this season, and was coming off a season-high 15 points at the University of Washington.
BULLDOGS AND THE KENNEL: The Kennel - home of Gonzaga University's Bulldogs - has gained the reputation as one of the toughest courts in the country. In the last 10 seasons the Bulldogs are 120-9 at home for a nifty 93.0 winning percentage. The Bulldogs went 12-0 at home in 2001, winning by an average of 24.7 ppg. The Bulldogs are 37-1 in The Kennel over the past four seasons with this year's 5-0 start. The 2000 squad was 10-1, and the 1999 Bulldogs completed a 10-0 season in The Kennel, winning by an average of 31.9 ppg. The Bulldogs also posted undefeated home campaigns in 1993 (13-0) and 1994 (14-0), and suffered just one home setback in 1996 and 1998. The Bulldogs put together a 34-game home-court-winning streak from 1992-95, which at the time was the country's second-longest active streak. Gonzaga currently has a 18-game home winning streak dating back to the last home game of the 1999-00 campaign, the current streak ranking tied for 10th. Michigan State University heads the current list with 50 straight victories at the Breslin Student Events Center.
DICKAU ON WOODEN AWARD BALLOT: Point Guard Dan Dickau is the third straight Gonzaga University representative on the John R. Wood Award Pre-season Top 50 candidates for the 2001-02 Wooden Award All-America Team. Casey Calvary, a Wooden All-America pick last season, and Matt Santangelo in 2000 were the previous Bulldogs on the list. The Wooden Award Top 50 was announced this past summer. In late December the Top 30 finalists will be announced. On March 26, 2002, the 10-player Wooden Award All-American Team will be announced. One member of the Wooden Award All-American Team will be selected on Sunday, April 7, 2002, as the recipient of the Wooden Award Trophy as the nation's "Most Outstanding Collegiate Basketball Player of the Year."
FEW'S TWO-YEAR RUN: Gonzaga University head coach Mark Few probably never thought life as a head coach would be so "sweet." But in his first two seasons as head coach the Bulldogs have advanced to the NCAA Tournament Sweet Sixteen, one of only two NCAA Division I head coaches to accomplish that feat since the bracket expanded to 64 teams in 1985. Gonzaga, defending national champion Duke University and 2000 national champion Michigan State University are the only three schools to reach the Sweet Sixteen each of the past three seasons. Few was an assistant coach on Gonzaga's run to the 1999 Elite Eight. Few's 2-year record of 52-16 places him among elite company for second-year head coaches. His 2-year total of 52 wins has him tied for third for second-year coaches with Dan Monson, his predecessor at Gonzaga, and Ben Carnevale of the University of North Carolina (1945-46).
BULLDOGS HIT 20 WINS AGAIN: With a 26-7 record last season, Gonzaga University hit the 20-win plateau for the 8th time in the last 10 seasons, matching the 2000 win total and second all-time behind only the 1999 school record mark of 28-7. Last season marked the fifth time the Bulldogs have hit the magic 20-win plateau in the regular season. The 1994 squad took a 20-6 record into the West Coast Conference Tournament, the 1998 team was 21-8 entering the tourney, the 1999 Bulldogs went 22-6 in the regular season and the 2000 squad was 21-8 heading into the WCC Tournament. Gonzaga's first 20-win season as a NCAA Division I program came in 1992 with a 20-10 mark, falling to Pepperdine University 73-70 in the Bulldogs' first appearance in the WCC Tournament title game.
O-FER FROM THREE: The last time Gonzaga University took the collar from 3-point range was in an 0-for-5 night in The Kennel against the University of Portland on Jan. 27, 1993, a 71-53 Gonzaga victory. Gonzaga has made a 3-point field goal in 276 straight games. Gonzaga made a school record 291 treys in 1999.
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