Bulldogs Home To Face Cougars

Dec. 24, 2003

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Men's Basketball Game Facts
Game No. 10 - Washington State
Sun., Dec. 28 - 7 p.m. PST
The Kennel - Spokane, WA
Radio: News Talk 1510 KGA (Spokane)
Pre-game show 30 minutes prior to tipoff
TV: FOX Sports Northwest
No. 15 GONZAGA UNIVERSITY BULLDOGS (7-2; 0-0 West Coast Conference)
G - 10 Blake Stepp, 6-4, 194, Sr., Eugene, OR
      (14.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 7.7 assists, 1.0 steals)
G -  20 Kyle Bankhead, 6-0, 195, Sr., Walla Walla, WA
      (7.1 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 1.6 assists, 1.6 steals)
C -  33 Cory Violette, 6-8, 265, Sr., Boise, ID
      (9.8 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 1.2 assists, 0.4 steals, 1.3 blocks)
F -   4 Tony Skinner, 6-5, 198, Jr., Albuquerque, NM
      (7.2 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 1.1 assists, 0.6 steals)
F -    1 Ronny Turiaf, 6-10, 243, Jr., Le Robert, Martinique
      (16.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.7 assists, 0.8 steals, 1.9 blocks)
HEAD COACH:  Mark Few (University of Oregon, 1987)
GONZAGA RECORD:  112-31 (5th year - 15th at GU)  CAREER RECORD:  Same

WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY COUGARS (6-3; 0-0 Pacific-10 Conference) G - 1 Marcus Moore, 6-6, 208, Sr., Inglewood, CA (14.1 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 4.2 assists, 2.6 steals) G - 11 Thomas Kelati, 6-5, 184, Jr., Walla Walla, WA (9.8 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 2.3 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.6 blocks) C - 32 Ezenwa Ukeagu, 6-8, 253, Sr., Coral Springs, FL (6.9 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 0.3 assists, 0.3 blocks) F - 22 Shami Gill, 6-7, 238, Jr., Mission, British Columbia (5.9 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 0.7 assists, 0.3 steals, 0.6 blocks) F - 45 Jeff Varem, 6-6, 235, Jr., Benue, Nigeria (4.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 2.0 assists) HEAD COACH: Dick Bennett (Ripon College, 1965) WSU RECORD: 6-3 (1st year) CAREER RECORD: 459-261 (26th year) GAMES PRIOR TO GONZAGA: None.

Game No. 11 - Eastern Washington
Wed., Dec. 31 - 5 p.m. PST
Spokane Arena - Spokane, WA
Radio: News Talk 1510 KGA (Spokane)
Pre-game show 30 minutes prior to tipoff
TV: KHQ-TV (Spokane)
G - 52 Alvin Snow, 6-2, 215, Sr., Seattle, WA
      (14.6 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 3.0 assists, 1.1 steals)
G -   2 Brendon Merritt, 6-4, 190, Sr., Tacoma, WA
      (8.3 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 2.6 assists, 0.7 steals)
C - 22 Matt Nelson, 6-8, 220, Fr., Issaquah, WA
      (6.1 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 0.3 assists, 0.3 steals)
F -  24 Marc Axton, 6-7, 225, Jr., Federal Way, WA
      (11.1 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 3.3 assists, 0.7 steals)
F -  23 Josh Barnard, 6-5, 205, Sr., Tacoma, WA
      (12.0 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 2.6 assists, 1.0 steals)
HEAD COACH:  Ray Giacoletti (Minot State, 1985)
EWU RECORD:  55-44 (5th year)  CAREER RECORD:  103-77 (7th year)
GAMES PRIOR TO GONZAGA:  Dec.  28 at Idaho.

BULLDOGS BACK HOME: For the first time in nearly a month Gonzaga University will play a game in Spokane when Washington State University visits the sold out Kennel for a 7 p.m. contest Sunday. The last time the Bulldogs didn't get on an airplane for a game was Nov. 29 when the University of Georgia came to town for a Battle of Bulldogs in the Spokane Arena, an 82-76 overtime victory for Gonzaga. Sunday's game begins a stretch of three straight home games for Gonzaga. Following the WSU contest the Bulldogs will meet Eastern Washington University on New Year's Eve in the sold out Spokane Arena, then face the University of Montana Jan. 4 in another sellout in The Kennel.

LOTS OF MILES: Gonzaga University's men's basketball team has already flown approximately 13,000 miles this season. The Bulldogs have made two coast-to-coast trips - one to New York and the other to Washington, D.C. - plus two trips to Seattle and one to Oakland, Calif.

WOODEN AWARD: Gonzaga University has a pair of seniors who are John R. Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 candidates for the prestigious Player of the Year honor. The Bulldogs Cory Violette, a two-time Preseason Top 50 nominees, and Blake Stepp carry the Bulldog banner. Dan Dickau became Gonzaga's inaugural Wooden Award Top Five All-American in 2002, and Casey Calvary was the first Wooden Award Top 10 All-American for the Bulldogs in 2001. Matt Santangelo was the first Wooden Award Top 30 finalist in 2000.

ZAGS WHEN RANKED: Gonzaga is 42-10 when nationally ranked, including a perfect 16-0 at home with this season's victories over the University of Idaho and Denver University at The Kennel. The mark includes games against teams in both the Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN Top 25 polls.

OUT BOARDED: For the first time since 2000 Gonzaga University has been out-rebounded in three consecutive games. Stanford University held a 40-38 margin last Saturday, the University of Missouri won the battle of the boards 48-43 and George Washington University had a narrow 28-27 edge. The Bulldogs won two of the three games, defeating GWU and Missouri. The last time the Bulldogs lost the boards in three straight games was late in the 2000 campaign, being out-rebounded 32-30 in a 101-77 win at Loyola Marymount University, 43-35 in an 80-69 loss at Pepperdine University and 39-34 in an 82-70 home setback to the University of San Diego.

9 OR 11: Don't be surprised if Gonzaga University senior Kyle Bankhead scores 11 points Sunday against Washington State. University. In his last five games Bankhead has scored 9, 11, 9, 11 and 9 points.

TOP 25: Four teams ranked in this week's Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN Top 25 polls dot Gonzaga University's schedule. Stanford University (6th in AP/ 8th in USA Today/ESPN), Saint Joseph's University (10th in both), the University of Missouri (11th/14th) and the University of Maryland (24th/25th) are ranked.

THREE COULD HIT 1,000: At some point in the season Gonzaga University should have three active 1,000-point career scorers in the lineup. Blake Stepp has already hit the milestone and has 1,343 career points to move past John Stockton (1,340, 1981-84) and into 12th. He needs 12 points to surpass Bill Suter (1,354, 1963-66) for 11th. Cory Violette has 980 career points and Ronny Turiaf is at 894. Stepp became the 25th Gonzaga player to reach the 1,000-point plateau.

FOR THREE: Blake Stepp and Kyle Bankhead continue to climb on Gonzaga University's all-time 3-point list. Stepp is fourth with 230 to tie John Rillie (230, 1993-95) for third. Bankhead has 141 treys to move past Jarrod Davis (1991-92) for seventh. Richie Frahm, currently with the Seattle Sonics, is the career leader with 280 from 1996-00. Stepp also has 597 attempts for third all-time. Frahm is the leader with 662.

FROM THE LINE: Ronny Turiaf and Blake Stepp each moved into the Gonzaga University Top 10 for free throws made last season. Turiaf is now 5th with 358 following his 2-for-4 night last Saturday. Stepp is 7th with 317, four shy of passing Matt Santangelo (320, 1997-00). Turiaf and Stepp each tied Frank Burgess' single-game record of 16 free throws made in a game last season. Turiaf did its against Indiana University in the Maui Invitational when he went 16-for-18, then matched the mark again when he went 16-for-22 against the University of Cincinnati in the NCAA Tournament First Round. Stepp went 16-for-20 against the University of Washington to get his piece of the record.

BLOCK IT: Ronny Turiaf continues to move up the blocked shots list at Gonzaga University, his block last Saturday giving him 92 for third on the all-time list. Turiaf could move into second with 25 blocks this season, Tim Ruff holding that spot with 99 from 1981-85. Turiaf currently has 17.

REBOUNDS: Senior Cory Violette has moved into 5th in career rebounds with 699, becoming just the 10th player in Gonzaga history to reach the 600-rebound mark. He's looking to become the fifth player in Zags history with 1,000 points and 700 rebounds, needing 30 points for 1,000.

20 OR BUST: Gonzaga University is tied for 11th in consecutive 20-win seasons with six. The University of Arizona leads the way with 16, followed by the University of Kansas with 14 and the University of Kentucky with 13. Gonzaga is tied with the University of Connecticut, Oklahoma State University, the University of Oklahoma and Syracuse University.

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, the Bulldogs losing a 29-game home winning streak Dec. 31, 2002, that ranked third longest in the country. In the last 12 seasons the Bulldogs are 141-10 at home for a nifty 93.4 winning percentage. Gonzaga went 10-2 at home in 2003, the first time the Bulldogs lost two home games in a season since 1997. Gonzaga was 13-0 at home in 2002, winning by an average of 24.6 ppg. The Bulldogs went 12-0 at home in 2001, winning by an average of 24.7 ppg. GU is 55-3 in The Kennel over the past five seasons. 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.

PASS THE ROCK: While Blake Stepp is known for his scoring, he has quietly snuck up on the all-time assists list at Gonzaga University. He passed the 500 plateau and now had 502 to rank third behind Matt Santangelo (668, 1997-000) and sure-bet NBA Hall of Famer John Stockton (554, 1981-84). Stepp is also fifth in career steals with 125, Stockton the leader with 262.

SINGLE DIGITS: Only Gonzaga University, the University of Florida and Duke University have lost less than 10 games in each of the past five seasons. Gonzaga has posted marks of 29-4, 26-7, 26-9 28-7 and 24-9, respectively, in that stretch. The last time Gonzaga hit double-digits in the "L" column was 1998 with a 20-10 campaign. Current head coach Mark Few has never had 10 or more losses in his four years as a head coach. Duke went 25-7 and Florida 25-8 last season.

THREE OR BUST: Gonzaga University has extended its streak of consecutive games with a -pointer to 340. The last time the Bulldogs failed to hit a trey was Jan. 27, 1993, when the Bulldogs went 0-for-5 at home against Portland.

WCC PLAY LOOMS: Following this three-game home stand, Gonzaga University will venture to Los Angeles to open West Coast Conference play Jan. 8 against Pepperdine University and Jan. 10 against Loyola Marymount University. LMU handed Gonzaga one of its two regular-season losses in WCC play last season at Gersten Pavilion.

ON THE AIR AND THE TUBE: All Gonzaga University games can be heard on 1510 KGA radio with Tom Hudson calling the action for a second straight season. In addition, Gonzaga will have 26 regular-season games televised either nationally, regionally or locally this season among ESPN, ESPN2, FOX Sports, CSTV, KHQ/PAX and KAYU-TV. For a complete listing of games check local listings or the Gonzaga web site at http://www.gozags.com.

ON THE INTERNET: Gonzaga University men's basketball can also be heard on the internet by subscribing to the College Sports Pass as offered by the Online College Sports Network (OCSN). More information can be obtained on the Gonzaga web site at http://www.gozags.com, clicking on men's basketball and going to the "Listen To Bulldog Games Live on the Internet" link under SIDELINES on the right side of the page. The subscription is $6.95/month and includes all audio broadcasts of any OCSN member school.

TUESDAY COACHES SHOW: The Gonzaga University Coaches Show has returned to 1510 KGA radio this year. The show will air from 7-8 p.m. on selected Tuesdays from the fireplace in the lobby of the historic Davenport Hotel. Tom Hudson, the voice of the Bulldogs on 1510 KGA will again host the show which will feature members of the Gonzaga University men's and women's coaching staffs, players and other special guests. The public is invited to attend the live broadcast.



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