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West Coast Notebook

January 16, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

West Coast Notebook

by James Burns

Behind Cory Violette’s 15th career double-double, Gonzaga cruised by fellow West Coast Conference preseason favorite Pepperdine, 92-72 at The Kennel.

Both teams were picked by the coaches before the season to share the conference’s regular season crown. But with the win, Gonzaga (11-5, 2-0) now enjoys a leg up on Pepperdine (9-6, 1-1) who will try and avenge the loss Feb. 5.

The Bulldogs iced the game in the first half, opening up a 41-19 lead with a 20-2 spurt late in the opening frame. Gonzaga led by as many as 28 in the first half.

Violette (17 points) paced the Bulldog rebounding attack, grabbing six of his team-high 10 rebounds in the first.

As a team, Gonzaga out-rebounded Pepperdine 42-29.

Blake Stepp, whose 21-point, nine-assist effort keyed the Bulldogs’ victory against Loyola Marymount in the conference opener, continued his hot hand against the Waves. Stepp poured in 16 points and a team-high 10 assists.

Saint Mary’s storms back

With All-WCC forward Darrell Tucker on the bench with an injury, Saint Mary’s overcame a 52-41 deficit with 10:25 left to play to beat a shorthanded San Francisco (5-9, 0-1) bunch 68-62.

Without Tucker and his 20 points and 10 rebounds, the Gaels swarmed the paint and the glass, dominating the Dons in rebounding and from the foul line. Saint Mary’s (8-6, 1-0) shot 28 free throws, while the Dons shot just 16 for the game.

The Gaels were led by Samuel Saint-Jean, who tallied a game-high 23 points, and Frederic Adjiwanou (15 points).

San Francisco’s John Cox helped fill the void left by Tucker’s injury by scoring a season-high 20 points, but it still wasn’t enough to lift a slumping Dons team.

Upcoming Games:

Gonzaga at Saint Mary’s: Gonzaga goes on the road to face a tough opponent in Saint Mary’s on Friday. The Gaels are fresh off the heels of an upset against San Francisco and are hungry for more. They would like nothing more than to topple the conference’s prince, Gonzaga.

Santa Clara at Pepperdine: Pepperdine returns home on Friday from a failed visit to The Kennel just in time to square off against Santa Clara. Santa Clara could give Pepperdine problems – especially if they shoot well early – but look for Pepperdine to get back on the winning track.

San Diego at Loyola Marymount: Probably the two worst teams in the WCC right now. Loyola Marymount, losers of four straight, should find the winning column Friday against a reeling San Diego squad. Reason: the Lions have won most of their games this season at The Den. This Friday should be no different.


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