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West Coast Notebook

December 5, 2002 Conference Notes No Comments

West Coast Notebook

by James Burns

Holiday ‘Feast Week’ Frenzy

Maui Invitational

Even with a fourth place finish at the Maui Invitational, Gonzaga got just what they needed from a holiday excursion to Hawaii – experience.

The Bulldogs routed Utah in the opening game 71-52, than faltered twice to No. 19 Indiana (76-75) and No. 15 Kentucky 80-72.

Sophomore Ronny Turiaf and Blake Stepp emerged as offensive weapons for the Bulldogs, and the two should bring added relief to inside-outside threat Corey Violette. Turiaf, who came off the bench for Gonzaga, tallied 60 points during tournament play, including a pair of 24-point outbursts against Utah and Indiana. Stepp kept the Bulldogs close in their consolation match-up with Kentucky, draining 4-of-5 from 3-point range. Stepp scored a team-high 24 points in the loss.

Great Alaska Shootout

Loyola Marymount fell to Villanova in the first round of the Great Alaska Shootout, 87-71.

The Lions, with one of the youngest squads in the nation, led the Wildcats 47-46 with less than 15 minutes left in the second half, but just couldn’t find an answer Jason Fraser. Fraser scored a game-high 24 points, including a pivotal 14 points midway through the second half to give Wildcats all the lead they would need.

Beleaguered Big Sky team too much for Dons

The Big Sky’s Sacramento State, playing without several key players, outlasted the San Francisco Dons 62-57 at Hornet Gym.

Sac State’s freshman point guard DaShawn Freeman sparked the Hornets late, nailing a late 3-pointer and pair of free throws to seal the victory. Freeman and center Tony Champion led the Hornets in scoring with 13 apiece.

Champion, who has shed 80 pounds over the last two years, helped negate San Francisco’s Darrell Tucker. Tucker, who had 16 points and 15 rebounds, was silent down the stretch. Facing a 2-3 zone for a majority of the game, Tucker was forced away from the hoop.

“Bottom line, I knew what Tucker wants to do,” said Hornet head coach Jerome Jenkins. “I wanted him to put the ball on the floor. And the way we play defense, I thought that worked towards our advantage.”

Tucker’s frustrations were evident, turning the ball over two times while clanking several 15-footers late.

“I’m getting tired of (the 2-3 zone),” Tucker said following the loss. “But our guys need to step it up when that happens. Everybody’s got to pick it up.”

The Dons (1-4, 0-0) were led by John Cox, who netted a game-high 17 points. Guard Michael Chambers added 12, including a deep 3-pointer with under a minute to play.

“We didn’t knock down our shots,” Tucker added. “If we would have hit it would have been a whole different story. Coming in to their place and hitting shots, it would have been a big win for us.”

Tucker led the Dons to an 82-71 victory over Southern on Monday, Dec. 2. Tucker notched a career-best 33 points.

The Luke and Luke Show avenges loss

Oregon’s “Luke and Luke Show” avenged an upset loss last season to the Portland Pilots, hammering the WCC contingent 96-66. Luke Jackson garnered a double-double, finishing with 21 points and 12 rebounds. His brethren, Luke Ridnour, chipped in 17 points.

Last season, the Pilots upset the Ducks in Portland 79-78 triggering Oregon’s best season in school’s history.

Oregon got things rolling early, opening up a 15-3 advantage on the Pilots. Jackson stole the spotlight, making a sizeable impression on the box score early in the first half (six points, five rebounds and an assist).

Around the horn

Gonzaga – Stepp poured in a career-high 33 points in Gonzaga’s 95-89 overtime victory against Washington. The win pushed the Bulldogs home winning streak to 28 straight, the third-longest streak in the nation.

Pepperdine – Pepperdine got their first win of the season, squeaking by Long Beach State 65-63 in the Pyramid. The Waves were paced by Terrance Johnson (18 points), Boomer Brazzle (13 points) and Jimmy Miggins (11 points).

Santa Clara – The Fresno State Bulldogs’ bite was too much for Santa Clara, who fell 70-55. Kyle Bailey led the Bronco attack with 15 points.

Loyola Marymount – UC Irvine handed the Lions their road loss of the season, 81-66. Freshman star Brandon Worthy led the Lions scoring attack with 15 points, nailing 9-of-10 from the charity stripe.

St. Mary’s – It wasn’t even a contest. The Gaels rolled over San Jose State 92-64 behind Chase Poole’s 22 points. Poole went 9-of 12 from the field.


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