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WCC Men's Basketball Recaps

Nov. 11, 2007

Gonzaga - 77
Montana - 54

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - Gonzaga's Austin Daye had jitters in his first college basketball game, what with his father in the stands and missing his first two shots.

But Daye found his range, scoring 20 points and grabbing 10 rebounds as No. 14 Gonzaga pounded Montana 77-54 in its season opener on Sunday.

"I hope I didn't set the bar too high," said Daye, the son of former UCLA and NBA player Darren Daye.

The 6-foot-10 Daye, from Irvine, Calif., is one of the most prized recruits in Gonzaga history, and he showed why as he made 8 of 13 field goals, both his 3-point attempts and led all players in rebounding. He also had two blocks and two steals.

"My dad was watching my first college game. It was pretty nerve-racking," Daye said.

Coach Mark Few said Daye hadn't put on such a display in practice.

"Austin is a gamer," Few said. "It's only one game out, but it's an incredible opening act."

Gonzaga's impressive win was tempered by news that star forward Josh Heytvelt will have surgery on Monday to insert two screws in his foot, and will miss four to six weeks.

"It's another setback I have," said Heytvelt, who was recently reinstated to the team after missing the last nine games of last season following his arrest for drug possession.

Few also said that freshman Steven Gray suffered a broken wrist in the exhibition game against Emporia State and will be out six weeks. And Theo Davis flew home to deal with an illness in his family.

"All that depth is poof, just like that," Few said.

Gonzaga (1-0) had plenty of depth for Montana (1-1), which is expected to be one of the contenders in the Big Sky Conference this season.

The Grizzlies fell behind by double digits early because of poor shooting, and never threatened after that.

The Bulldogs made 53 percent of their field goals and 15 of 21 free throws. Montana made just 30 percent of its shots, including 5 of 22 3-pointers.

"I think it all started with the defense," said Gonzaga's Jeremy Pargo, who scored 17 points and had five assists. Matt Bouldin added 13 and Larry Gurganious 12 points, and the Zags dominated the rebounding 40-29.

The Grizzlies were led by Matt Martin's 18 points.

"They're a very good team," Martin said of the Zags. "They should probably be in the top 10."

Martin was also impressed by Daye's debut.

"He changed a lot of shots out there," Martin said. "On offense, he shoots like a wing."

The Zags blew the game open with a 15-4 run late in the first half for a 36-16 lead with 5 minutes left.

Gonzaga led 44-25 at halftime, after holding Montana to 29 percent shooting while shooting 55 percent.

Seven different Zags scored in the first half, led by Daye's 12 first-half points.

Montana went on a 10-2 run in the second half to close the deficit to 51-37. But the Zags answered with an 11-3 run, holding Montana scoreless for 5 minutes, for a 62-40 lead with 9:44 left. The Grizzlies scored only seven points during a 10-minute span late in the game.

"I wish we could play like that every game," Few said.

Once a member of the Big Sky, Gonzaga leads the series 101-48. Montana has not won since 1996, and has lost nine straight in the series.

Gonzaga is 40-1 in the McCarthey Athletic Center since it opened in 2004.

Gonzaga finished 23-11 last season.

Portland - 73
Liberty - 62

FRESNO, Calif. --- Freshmen Jared Stohl and Luke Sikma provided second half lifts and led the Portland Pilots to a 73-62 victory over the Liberty Flames at the World Vision Classic on Sunday. Stohl drilled three second half three-pointers, while Sikma recorded his second double-double of the weekend with 10 points and 10 rebounds as Portland (1-2) earned its first win of the young season.

"I'm happy for the guys," Portland head coach Eric Reveno said. "They have been working hard and had a couple of great learning experiences on Friday and Saturday, but it's tough when you're not rewarded for improvement in the wins column."

Stohl drilled back-to-back three-pointers midway through the second half to give the Pilots a 53-44 lead. He then hit his fourth trey of the game to give the Pilots a 62-50 margin with 7:55 remaining. Portland led by as much as 14 before Liberty cut the lead to 66-57 on a lay-up by Anthony Smith with 2:30 remaining. But the Pilots made defensive stops and free throws down the stretch to hold on for the victory.

"Jared can do some things in terms of shooting," Reveno said, "and when the match-up is right, I'm confident in putting him out there to make a difference."

Stohl finished 4-for-5 from three-point range with 12 points off the bench. Sikma added six assists, four steals and two blocked shots in another terrific all-around performance. Sikma is averaging 9.7 points and 11.0 rebounds per game through the team's first three contests.

Junior guard Walter Thompson scored a team-high 15 points, while sophomore forward Robin Smeulders reached double figures for the third consecutive game with 11 points.

"Today was a fantastic team effort," said Reveno. "I've told the guys that on different nights we need different guys to step up, and we got a good all-around effort today."

Alex McLean led the Flames (0-3) with 19 points and 10 rebounds, while Virginia transfer TeeJay Bannister added 17 points and seven assists.

Portland outrebounded Liberty 35-30 and held the Flames to 39 percent shooting. The Pilots, who struggled shooting in the first two games, finished 8-for-15 from three-point range and shot 46 percent from the floor. The Pilots also made 21-of-26 free throw attempts.

The Pilots led by as much as eight in the first half with a balanced scoring attack and took a 34-31 lead at the break. Portland made 8-of-9 shots to open the game, missed 12 of their final 14 attempts from the floor in the half. Bannister led the way with 10 first half points for the Flames.

Portland will return to the Chiles Center and host the No. 12 ranked Oregon Ducks on Saturday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. Tickets are still available through Ticketmaster by calling (503) 224-4400 or visiting ticketmaster.com.

Western Michigan - 70
Pepperdine - 65

EUGENE, Ore. - The Pepperdine men's basketball team gave a spirited second-half effort to get back into its game against Western Michigan, but the Broncos hit their free throws down the stretch and went on to a 70-65 win at the World Vision Invitational at McArthur Court on Sunday.

Pepperdine (0-2) trailed by as many as 12 points in the first half and 34-26 at halftime. But the Waves opened the second half on a 12-4 run to tie the game at 38-38.

The Waves would take their first lead of the game at 61-60 on a three-pointer by senior guard Jason Walberg (Fresno Calif./Clovis West HS/Saint Mary's) with 2:47 left, and another three-pointer by freshman center Daniel Johnson (Perth, Australia) put the Waves up 64-63 with 1:35 to go. However, Western Michigan (1-1) hit seven of its eight free throws in the final 1:15, while Pepperdine missed a couple of three-pointers and made only one foul shot in the final minute.

"Good teams and experienced teams find ways to win," Pepperdine Coach Vance Walberg said. "They had five starters back. We've got a guy who's played five games for us. Our pressure was a lot better today. For us to be successful we need to be at least +10 in turnovers and we were at +8 today. In the first half they dominated us on the boards but in the second half we outrebounded them. It's unfortunate not to win this game but it's a growing experience."

Freshman forward Malcolm Thomas (San Diego, Calif./Crawford HS) recorded his first career double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out with 1:15 to go. Johnson scored a game-high 15 points.

Overall, the Waves shot just 30.9% compared to 38.1% for Western Michigan. A few more made three-point shots would have made the difference, as Pepperdine was just 7-for-38 (18.4%) from behind the line.

Freshmen again carried the scoring load for Pepperdine, accumulating 47 of the 65 points (72 percent).

The Waves finish their three-game swing in Eugene with a contest against Pacific on Monday at 5 p.m. Fans can listen to Al Epstein's call of the action at www.pepperdinesports.com.