No. 22 Men's Basketball Heads East
Dec. 26, 2001
Game No. 13 - Monmouth Hawks 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)
No. 24 GONZAGA UNIVERSITY BULLDOGS (10-2, 0-0 West Coast Conference)
MONMOUTH UNIVERSITY (5-5, 1-1 Northeast Conference)
Monday, Dec. 31 - 4 p.m. PST
Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse - Philadelphia, PA
Radio: News Talk AM 1510 KGA - Pre-game show at 3:45 p.m. PST
TV: KHQ-TV Channel 6 (Spokane), COMCAST (NJ/Philadelphia Corridor)
SAINT JOSEPH'S UNIVERSITY (6-2, 0-0 Atlantic 10)
HEADING EAST: For the first time since December of 1993 Gonzaga University will take it's men's basketball program into the Northeast when the Bulldogs visit Monmouth University Saturday and then ring in the New Year with a Dec. 31 date at Saint Joseph's University. The Bulldogs competed in the Canisius Classic in Buffalo, NY, Dec. 3-4, 1993 in their last trip to the Northeast.
RE-PAYING A VISIT: Gonzaga University is re-paying a visit to Monmouth University with Saturday's trek to the East Coast. The Hawks ventured west a year ago, dropping a 95-69 verdict in The Kennel.
LOCAL SWEEP: When Gonzaga University plays at Saint Joseph's University the Bulldogs will be trying to get an eastern Washington sweep for the season against the Hawks. Eastern Washington University met SJU in the BCA Classic in Berkeley, Calif., in the season opener and stunned the then 10th ranked Hawks 68-67.
RANKED FOES: Gonzaga University has faced three ranked teams this season. Gonzaga lost at No. 2 University of Illinois 76-58 in the season opener, defeated No. 23 University of Texas 67-64 in the Great Alaska Shootout semifinals and stopped No. 16 Fresno State University 87-77 in the FAB Four Classic. A pair of losses last weekend dropped Saint Joseph's out of the Top 25 in both the Associated Press and USA TODAY/ESPN polls. The Hawks had been as high as 10th this season prior to dropping the season opener against Eastern Washington University, and were ranked 15th last week prior to setbacks against Georgia State University and the University of North Carolina.
ON THE TUBE:\ Saturday's Gonzaga University-Monmouth University contest will be televised in the New Jersey/Philadelphia corridor on Comcast, as will the Bulldogs contest at Saint Joseph's University. The Saint Joseph's game will also be brought back to Spokane on KHQ-TV Channel 6. There will be no local telecast of the Monmouth game, but the game is available on satellite AMC2, Transponder K21.
BULLDOGS 22ND: Gonzaga University is ranked 22nd in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA TODAY Top 25 polls, up two notches from a week ago. This is the third straight week the Bulldogs have been in the AP rankings and the second week in the USA TODAY/ESPN poll. This week's ranking equals the highest regular-season ranking by the Bulldogs in either major poll. Gonzaga was ranked 12th in the final USA TODAY/ESPN poll of the 1999 season, Gonzaga's best ranking in school history.
GETTING HEALTHY: Gonzaga University used the four-day Christmas break to get healthy. Senior point guard sat out the Eastern Oregon University game Dec. 21 with a mild case of tendonitis but will be in the lineup Saturday. Sophomore guard Blake Stepp continues to see his minutes increase while recovering from surgery last spring to repair a degenerative bone in his knee. He also missed two games with a sprained ankle. Although he didn't start against EOU, he did come off the bench to play 19 minutes. He had played at least 24 minutes in each of the three games prior to EOU, including a season-high 34 at the University of Washington.
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. Gonzaga regained its lead atop the national rankings for rebounding margin with its 51-27 advantage against Eastern Oregon University. The Bulldogs have a +13.6 rebounding margin, moving ahead of the University of Kentucky, second at +12.9. Gonzaga has been out rebounded just twice this season - against Marquette University in the title game of the Great Alaska Shootout and at home against Washington State University 39-36. Violette's average dipped slightly to 9.1 rpg when he played just 15 minutes and grabbed four rebounds against EOU. 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.
VISIT TO GROUND ZERO: It won't be all business for Gonzaga University on its two-game sojourn to the East Coast. The Bulldogs plan to visit Ground Zero on Friday. "Since we are close we wanted to give our players and staff a chance to visit Ground Zero and reflect on this terrible tragedy and make us appreciate how truly lucky we are to live in this country," Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said. "Some of our players may never get another opportunity to visit this part of the country. We are in the business of education, and visiting Ground Zero will definitely be an educational, as well as personally touching experience for all of us. Not a day goes by that we aren't reminded somehow of how September 11 impacted each and every one of us."
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.
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 121-9 at home for a nifty 93.1 winning percentage. The Bulldogs went 12-0 at home in 2001, winning by an average of 24.7 ppg. The Bulldogs are 38-1 in The Kennel over the past four seasons with this year's 6-0 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 19-game home winning streak dating back to the last home game of the 1999-00 campaign, the current streak ranking ninth. Michigan State University heads the current list with 53 straight victories at the Breslin Student Events Center.
FORBES HAS CAREER NIGHT: Junior guard Germayne Forbes, who was just 3-for-11 from the field and 2-for-8 from 3-point range in seven previous appearances this season, went 7-for-12 from the field, 5-of-10 from beyond the arc and scored a career-high 20 points against Eastern Oregon University in Gonzaga University's last outing Dec. 21. He had just 11 points prior to the EOU outing, his averaging going from 1.6 ppg to 3.9 ppg following the outburst.
TURIAF HOT: Freshman Ronny Turiaf is 13-for-18 from the field in his last four games for a 72.2 percent clip. He's shooting 61.8 percent from the field for the season. He went 7-for-10 from the field in his first career start Dec. 21 against Eastern Oregon University and scored 23 points.
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 277 straight games. Gonzaga made a school record 291 treys in 1999.
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