Gonzaga At Memphis In Top 10 Matchup
Dec. 25, 2005
Game No. 12 - Memphis Tigers
Tues., Dec. 27 - 4 p.m. PST
FedExForum - Memphis, TN
Radio: News Talk 1510 KGA (Spokane)
Pre-game show 30 minutes prior to tipoff
No. 8 GONZAGA UNIVERSITY BULLDOGS (9-2; 0-0 West Coast)
Sat., Dec. 31 - 3 p.m. PST
McCarthey Athletic Center - Spokane, WA
Radio: News Talk 1510 KGA (Spokane)
Pre-game show 30 minutes prior to tipoff
SAINT JOSEPH'S UNIVERSITY HAWKS (4-3; 0-0 Atlantic-10) G - 1 Abdulai Jalloh, 6-1, 190, So., District Heights, MD (14.7 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.0 assists, 1.6 steals) G - 5 Dwayne Lee, 6-1, 180, Sr., Jersey City, NJ (13.0 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 5.0 assists, 2.0 steals) C - 34 Ahmad Nivins, 6-9, 220, Fr., Jersey City, NJ (8.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 1.4 assists, 0.4 steals, 1.4 blocks) F - 13 Chet Stachitas, 6-5, 195, Sr., Ponte Vedra, FL (17.1 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.7 assists, 1.4 steals, 0.3) F - 52 Rob Ferguson, 6-8, 225, So., Cape Coral, FL (7.4 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.1 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.3 blocks) HEAD COACH: Phil Martelli (Widener, 1976) SJU RECORD: 207-114 (11th year) CAREER RECORD: Same (14th year) GAMES PRIOR TO GONZAGA: 12/28 at Saint Mary's.
Following a short three-day break for Christmas, a busy schedule resumes for the Gonzaga on Tuesday when the Bulldogs travel to Memphis, Tenn., to meet the University of Memphis. Game time is 4 p.m. PST on Tuesday in a game to be televised on ESPN2 and on the radio on 1510 KGA in Spokane and via the internet.
The Bulldogs return to action following a hard fought 60-57 victory at Saint Louis University on Dec. 22. The Bulldogs trailed by one at halftime as Nathan Doudney's bank trey from the right wing at the buzzer pulled Gonzaga to within 28-27, the homstanding Billikens leading for most of the last 10 minutes of the half. Gonzaga was never to break away from SLU in the second half, the Bulldogs building as much as a 7-point lead with 5:59 to play. Adam Morrison, held to four first-half points by SLU's triangle-and-two defense - scored nine of his game-high 18 points in the final 11:00. He his three straight jumpers - the last a 3-pointer with 2:57 to play - as Gonzaga built a 58-51 lead. A J.P. Batista layup pushed the lead to 60-53 with 2:03 remaining before the Billikens got two free throws and a layup from Ian Youyoukas to cut the lead to 60-57 with less than a minute to play. Batista missed a free throw with :05 remaining, the Billikens grabbed the rebound and a desperation three missed the mark at the buzzer.
Gonzaga has trailed in the second half in each of its last four victories - Oklahoma State in The Battle in Seattle, Virginia at home, Eastern Washington in the Spokane Arena and at Saint Louis.
Gonzaga is undefeated against members of the current makeup of Conference USA, three of those meetings with Tulsa and the other with Memphis. Gonzaga faced Tulsa in the 1997 Top of the World Classic and in the 2003 and 2004 ESPN Bracket Busters in what was a home-and-home series. The Bulldogs topped Memphis in the 1998 Pre-Season NIT.
Tuesday's game against Memphis will mark the second time Gonzaga has played Memphis on the road. The Bulldogs and Tigers met in the first round of the 1998 Pre-Season National Invitation Tournament, the Bulldogs taking a 69-60 win in The Pyramid, then the home of the Tigers. Gonzaga's Richie Frahm set what was then a Pyramid scoring record with 37 points, going 14-for-20 from the field and 8-for-11 from 3-point range. The eight treys were also a Pyramid record. The Tigers have since moved to the FedExForum which, like the Pyramid, is also home to the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies.
Gonzaga is undefeated in Memphis. In addition to beating the Tigers in 1998, the Bulldogs returned to The Pyramid for the 2001 NCAA First and Second Rounds. Gonzaga topped Virginia 86-85 on Casey Calvary's late tip-in and then stopped Indiana State 85-68 to advance to the Sweet Sixteen.
The new rankings will be out prior to Tuesday's game, but until then the game is being billed as fourth-ranked Memphis in both the Associated Press and USA TODAY/ESPN polls against No. 8 (AP) or No. 9 (USA TODAY/ESPN) Gonzaga.
Tuesday's game will be Gonzaga's fifth against a Top 25 team this season and its second against a Top 10 team. The Bulldogs faced No. 23 Maryland, No. 12 Michigan State and No. 3 Connecticut in the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational, losing to UConn in the title game. The Bulldogs also played No. 18 Washington on the road, suffering a 99-95 setback. Tuesday's game will be the 26th time the Bulldogs have met a Top 10 team, the Bulldogs 3-3 in their last six meetings against Top 10 foes and 5-20 overall. Last season the Bulldogs beat two No. 3 teams - Georgia Tech and Oklahoma State - and lost to No. 5 Illinois. Gonzaga's other two wins over Top 10 teams were Nov. 23, 1997, against No. 5 Clemson in the title game of the Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks, AK, and Dec. 13, 2003, over No. 3 Missouri 87-80 in overtime in The Battle in Seattle played at KeyArena. Gonzaga has faced No. 1 just once, dropping a 75-68 decision to Cincinnati and Player of the Year recipient Kenyon Martin on Dec. 4, 1999, at the Rock-N-Roll Shootout in Cleveland, Ohio.
Gonzaga has lost to just one mascot this season, both losses for the 9-2 Bulldogs coming at the hands of the Huskies - Connecticut and Washington to be exact. Gonzaga hasn't played any Tigers this season, Memphis being the first.
Derek Raivio missed his first free throw of the game Dec. 17 against Virginia, snapping his consecutive made streak at 28, including a perfect 20-for-20 this season prior to the miss. He's started another streak with seven straight. Entering last week's play he was still third in the country in free throw percentage, and enters the Memphis game 27-for-28 for 96.4 percent. The latest NCAA statistics will be released Tuesday prior to the Gonzaga-Memphis game. He tied the school record a year ago with 41 consecutive free throws. Raivio is a career 90.8 percent free throw shooter, connecting on 139-of-153 attempts. He sits atop the career percentage chart, Eddie White second at 87.3.
Gonzaga has won 42 of its last 43 non-conference home games, Saint Joseph's topping Gonzaga 79-78 in overtime on Dec. 31, 2002, for the last home non-conference defeat for the Bulldogs. Gonzaga's current non-conference home winning streak stands at 16.
Gonzaga tied the second-longest home court winning streak in school history with last Saturday's win over Virginia, the Bulldogs 29th straight at home. That equals the streak from Feb. 19, 2000-Dec. 20, 2002. Saint Joseph's ended that streak on Dec. 31, 2002, and three years later to the day the Hawks come to town again trying to snap Gonzaga's streak when the two play in a New Year's Eve matinee at 3 p.m. The longest streak in Gonzaga history is 34 games, which was the second-longest streak in the country at the time. Washington has the longest current streak at 30 after defeating Eastern Washington last Friday.
Gonzaga, which led the country in free throw shooting two week's ago at 83.7 percent, is 29-for-41 from the line in its last two games for 70.7 percent. That has dropped the Bulldogs to 80.1 percent for the season on 197-for-246. Gonzaga was 22-for-31 against Eastern Washington and 7-for-10 at Saint Louis. The Bulldogs were fourth in the country at 80.5 percent last week, Gardner-Webb heading the list at 82.2 percent.
Some players are starting to enter - or close to cracking - the Gonzaga career charts. Derek Raivio's 120 career 3-point field goals and his 270 attempts are both ninth. Adam Morrison's 475 career field goals have surpassed Doug Spradley (462) for 10th, and his 221 free throws are within striking distance of the Top 10 and Casey Calvary's 289 career makes. Raivio is approaching the Top 10 for assists, his 204 just 80 shy of Jeff Condill and 10th.
Junior Adam Morrison had his streak of six straight games of 20 or more points snapped with his 18 at Saint Louis. He started the streak with 34 points against Portland State and 43 at Washington, the latter his second 43-point game of the season after scoring 43 against Michigan State. He averaged 30.1 ppg over those six games. He's also averaging 6.3 rpg over the last six games after matching his season high with nine at Saint Louis.
Gonzaga has not lost back-to-back games since the 2002-03 season when the Bulldogs lost Dec. 28, 2002, against Stanford 81-71 in the Pete Newell Challenge in Oakland, Calif., and Dec. 31, 2002, at home to Saint Joseph's 79-78 in overtime. Gonzaga has played 89 games since that Saint Joseph's loss without losing back-to-back games.
Pierre Marie Altidor-Cespedes has scored 36 points in the last six games after scoring just six points in the first five games of the season. He's 10-for-20 from the field in the last five games.
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