NO SURPRISES IN SPOKANE
By Robert Longo
For The Observer
SPOKANE Not since the days Bing Crosby walked the halls of Gonzaga University has Eastern Oregon University handed the Bulldogs a defeat.
In their nine past meetings Gonzaga had won eight straight; the lone Mountaineer victory was in 1939. Friday evening in The Kennel, the Bulldogs resoundingly added another win to the list with a 105-45 win. The 60-point rout set a school record for Gonzaga (10-2) .
Gonzaga standout point guard Dan Dickau arrived for the game against Eastern in a suit. The Wooden Award nominee has been nursing a sore knee and Gonzaga coach Mark Few decided it was best for him to set out. This was just a good solid week we could give him to heal. He hasnt even been working out with the team.
Even with Dickau out, Gonzaga, ranked 24th in the Division I poll, put 11 players on the court Friday, all of whom scored. Ronny Turiaf, in his first start, led the team with a career high 23 points, and Germayne Forbes also had a career high 20 points.
The experience of three-consecutive Sweet-Sixteen appearances was apparent not only in the final score but also in the 51-27 rebounding edge. The beefier Bulldogs also flexed a few extra shots by outscoring Eastern 26-6 in the paint. Both teams had almost identical shot opportunities - Eastern had 66 and Gonzaga 65. The main difference being only one team stepped to the free throw line. Gonzaga was 21-of-29 from the charity stripe while the Mountaineers never attempted one free throw.
Kevin Hayes led the Mountaineers (4-5) with 13 points and three 3-pointers. Trevor Exline and Jonathan Stoddard scored six apiece.
Both teams came into the game with realistic expectations knowing both could gain insight and valuable experience from it. Gonzaga used the evening to test four different presses, new lineups, and new point guards.
This (game against Eastern) was a good reward for the guys whove been busting their tail all year. We havent had enough games where they could get in, Few said.
Eastern set several goals including limiting their turnovers to 20, of which they had 13, and to hold Gonzaga to 15 offensive rebounds, and the Bulldogs only had eight.
This was a great opportunity for our guys to play a team of this caliber, Eastern Oregon coach Art Furman said. I felt like we played as good of a game as were capable of playing. We got some good looks, we just didnt put them down.
Along with being a learning experience for the Eastern players it allowed the team to experience playing in front of more than 4,000 people. More than 100 people drove to Spokane to cheer on the Mountaineers in what Furman hopes is the beginning of renewed campus spirit. We would love to create that kind of atmosphere in La Grande, Furman said.
Both Gonzaga and Eastern rest for the Holidays, with Gonzaga facing Monmouth University on Dec. 26 and Eastern Oregon traveling to Evergreen State in Olympia, Wash., on Dec. 28.
EASTERN OREGON (4-5)
Exline 3-10 0-3 6, Stoddard 3-8 0-0 6, Williams 0-4 0-0 0, Toby 0-2 0-0 0, N. Collins 0-3 0-0 0, Hayes 5-11 0-0 13, S. Collins 1-4 0-0 3, Cauffman 1-2 0-0 3, Fox 1-2 0-0 3, Neibling 1-6 0-0 2, Miller 2-7 0-0 4, Hall 0-4 0-0 0, Martin 2-3 0-0 5. Totals 19-66 0-3 45.
Gourde 1-4 2-2 4, Turiaf 7-10 9-11 23, Brooks 1-5 0-0 2, Forbes 7-12 1-1 20, Hernandez 4-4 1-1 9, Stepp 4-7 4-4 13, Michaelson 4-7 1-3 10, Bankhead 2-4 0-0 6, Reason 1-3 1-3 4, Violette 2-5 2-2 6, Sherrell 4-4 0-2 8. Totals 37-65 21-29 105.
HalftimeGonzaga 56, E. Oregon 25. 3-point goalsE. Oregon 7-22 (Hayes 3-8, Martin 1-1, S. Collins 1-1, Fox 1-2, Cauffman 1-2, Exline 0-3, Williams 0-1, N. Collins 0-1, Neibling 0-2, Miller 0-1), Gonzaga 10-25 (Forbes 5-10, Stepp 1-3, Michaelson 1-3, Bankhead 2-3, Reason 1-2, Brooks 0-3, Volette 0-1). Fouled outnone. ReboundsE. Oregon 27 (Stoddard 5), Gonzaga 51 (Forbes 9, Turiaf 8). AssistsE. Oregon 11 (Toby 4), Gonzaga 19 (Brooks 7). Total foulsE. Oregon 20, Gonzaga 6. A4,000.