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WCC Men's Basketball Recaps

Dec. 17, 2007

Gonzaga - 77
Northern Colorado - 57

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) -- Steven Gray missed the first 10 games of his freshman season after fracturing his wrist, and was cleared to play just last week.

On Monday night, Gray scored 12 points and played 28 crucial minutes as 18th-ranked and injury-riddled Gonzaga beat overmatched Northern Colorado 77-57.

It was the first regular season appearance for Gray, who fractured his wrist in an exhibition game and had a pin inserted on Nov. 14.

With leading scorer Matt Bouldin out with an ankle injury, and starting guard Jeremy Pargo slowed by a hyperextended knee, Gray's expected playing time grew sharply in the past week.

"At first it was `You'll get some minutes at the end,"' Gray said. "Then Matt went down and they told me to be ready to go.

"You have to make the most of your opportunities," said Gray, the latest freshman to give Gonzaga (9-2) a significant lift this season.

Gray, who is also battling a cold, added four rebounds.

"I was proud how Steven came out in his first action," coach Mark Few said.

Freshman Austin Daye had 18 points and seven rebounds for the Zags, while Micah Downs added 17 points, making a career-high five of 10 3-pointers, and Pargo had 10 points and eight assists.

Northern Colorado (5-4) started strong, but the Zags' defense wore them down. The Bears shot 24 percent in the first half and 31 percent for the game. They missed their first 13 shots from 3-point range, and finished 4-of-20 from behind the arc.

"We couldn't get anything going offensively," Bears coach Tad Boyle said. "Our guys aren't used to playing against that size of players."

The status of Bouldin, who averages 13.3 points, is unclear for Thursday's game at Oklahoma, Few said. Gonzaga forward Abdullahi Kuso, who had rolled an ankle, didn't score in eight minutes on Monday.

Few credited Gonzaga's defense for the win. After falling behind 8-0, the Zags outscored the Bears 44-20 over the next 30 minutes to coast to the victory. They won the rebound battle 45-37, and recorded eight steals and four blocked shots.

Jabrik Banks had 18 points for Northern Colorado.

Gonzaga led 37-24 at halftime and then outscored the Bears 11-4 at the start of the second half for a 48-28 lead with 14 minutes left. The Bears did not threaten again.

Gonzaga, coming off a nine-day break for final exams, did not score in the opening four minutes and missed its first six shots to fall behind 8-2. Downs hit consecutive 3-pointers and Pargo made a layup for an 8-0 run that tied the score at 14.

Gray's 3-pointer gave the Zags their first lead, 17-16 with 10:32 left.

Northern Colorado scored just 10 points and made just two field goals over the final 13 minutes of the first half.

Santa Clara - 60
Montana - 49

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - John Bryant had 14 points and 12 rebounds as Santa Clara beat Montana 60-49 on Monday night for its fifth win in seven games.

Brody Angley and Ben Dowdell each added 10 points for the Broncos (7-3), who won at home for the first time since the season opener in November.

Andrew Strait scored 15 points for Montana (5-6), which lost its fourth straight after opening the season with five wins in seven games.

Strait moved into sole possession of sixth place on the Grizzlies' all-time scoring list with 1,325. Next on the list is his current coach, Wayne Tinkle, who scored 1,500 points in the late 80s.

Montana was within 43-33 with 10:06 remaining to play following Ryan Staudacher's 3-pointer as the Broncos went nearly six minutes without a field goal.

The Grizzlies, with leading scorer Jordan Hasquet slowed by an ankle sprain, crawled within eight points in the final two minutes.

Santa Clara took control of the game with an 11-0 run during a four-minute stretch of the first half. Calvin Johnson hit successive 3-pointers to spark the rally. Cedric Latimer also hit a 3-pointer for the Broncos during the run.

Montana's poor shooting in the first half only added to its woes. While Strait was 5-of-8 from the field, the rest of the team struggled with two baskets in 16 tries.

The Grizzlies were also denied second-chance points as Santa Clara won the rebounding battle by a 22-10 margin in the first 20 minutes.

Andrew Zimmerman's layup in the final minute gave the Broncos a 33-20 lead at halftime.

Former NBA and Stanford coach Mike Montgomery was in attendance doing preparation work for his television assignment on Wednesday when the Broncos visit Stanford. Montgomery's first head coaching job was at Montana. He was also the halftime guest for the Grizzlies radio network.

Eastern Washington - 84
Portland - 75

CHENEY, Wash. --- Nik Raivio scored 28 points for Portland, but the Pilots ran into a hot shooting Eastern Washington team in an 84-75 loss to the Eagles at Reese Court on Monday night. Milan Stanojevic led four Eagles in double figures with 18 points.

Senior forward Kellen Williams added a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Eagles (5-8), while freshman forward Luke Sikma added nine points for the Pilots (3-8).

Eastern Washington used a 10-0 run capped by a three-point play by Andris DeLeon with 2:18 remaining to push their lead to 73-61 and made free throws down the stretch to seal the win.

The Eagles shot 56 percent from the field for the game, an opponent season high for Portland, including 11-for-22 from three-point range. Stanojevic connected on five treys, including four in the first half to keep the Eagles close.

Raivio scored 18 first half points to give Portland a 36-32 halftime lead. The Pilots held a 15-8 rebounding edge for the period.

The second half was a different story as EWU owned the boards with a 20-13 margin and shot a blistering 57 percent from the field. The Eagles scored 52 second half points to put the Pilots away

"We got beat in every phase of the game," Portland head coach Eric Reveno said. "They played well and executed with intensity. We normally defend well and have an advantage in rebounding, but not tonight."

Portland entered the contest owning a +4.8 rebounding margin compared to EWU's -5.7 margin.

"There are a lot of excuses that we could use, but we won't make those," Reveno added. "Ultimately you are judged by winning."

The Pilots return home for a Friday doubleheader against Northern Colorado. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the Chiles Center and follows the UP women vs. Colorado State at 5:15 p.m.