In the first half, Gonzaga took a 27-19 lead on a break away dunk by Ronny Turiaf. The All-WCC first teamer recorded a double-double in the first half with 14 points and 11 rebounds, including seven offensive boards. The Zags owned the glass in the first half with a 26-13 advantage. A layup by Turiaf at the 1:02 mark gave Gonzaga its largest lead of the half at 39-25. SMC??s E.J. Rowland sprinted down court to end the half with a lay up just before the halftime buzzer to cut the Bulldogs lead to 39-29 at halftime. Rowland recorded eight points and added three assists and two steals in the first half. The all-tournament guard finished the night with 16 points and five assists.
In the second half, Gonzaga took a 50-36 advantage when Fredric Adjiwanou scored a lay-up and a free-throw, while Jonathan Sanders hit a short jumper to cut the lead to 50-41. Adjiwanou nailed a bucket and another free-throw to cut the lead to 60-53 with 11:41 left. A rebound and putback by SMC??s Paul Marigney cut the deficit to 62-57. Turiaf put the lead back to double figures, 69-59 with a layup and free-throw at the 7:37 mark. A three-pointer by SMC??s Tyler Herr and a pair of Rowland free-throws cut the Zag lead to 70-66 at the 5:00 mark. A three-pointer by Tony Skinner and a three-point play by Turiaf extended the lead to 76-66. The Gaels would get no closer than eight points the rest of the way as Blake Stepp nailed four free-throws down the stretch on the way to 19 points and six assists on the night.
Stepp??s 19 points places him 3rd all-time on the WCC Tournament scoring list with 163 points. Tournament MVP Ronny Turiaf led all scorers with 29 points and 14 rebounds. Joining Turiaf on the all-tournament team were teammates Stepp and Cory Violette. Stepp becomes the second player in tournament history to be named all-tournament for four years. Saint Mary??s E.J. Rowland and Santa Clara??s Doron Perkins were also all-tournament selections.
The NCAA Tournament Brackets will be announced on March 14th.
2004 WCC ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Ronny Turiaf MVPGON