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Gonzaga Begins NCAA Tournament Play This Thursday

March 14, 2006

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The Gonzaga University Bulldogs were awarded a No. 3 seed in the Oakland Regional as the NCAA announced pairings for this year's NCAA Tournament field. Gonzaga will face No. 14 seed Xavier University (21-10) during first round action on Thursday in Salt Lake City, Utah. GU and Xavier will play in the first game of the night session at the Huntsman Center with tip off scheduled for 5:20 p.m. (4:20 p.m. PST). The winner of the Gonzaga/Xavier game will play the winner of the Indiana/San Diego State game on Saturday.

Oakland Regional
Salt Lake City, Utah
University of Utah
Jon M. Huntsman Center

No. 3 Gonzaga (27-3) vs. No. 14 Xavier (21-10) - 4:20 PM
No. 6 Indiana (18-11) vs. No. 11 San Diego State (24-8) - 6:40 PM

Oakland Regional
Salt Lake City, Utah
University of Utah
Jon M. Huntsman Center

No. 3 Gonzaga/Xavier vs. Indiana/San Diego State - TBD

Gonzaga earned its eighth straight trip to the NCAA Tournament, capturing the WCC's automatic bid with a thrilling 68-67 win over No. 2 seeded Loyola Marymount in the tournament finale. The tournament title was the Zags third in a row and seventh in the last eight seasons and marked the first time that the conference's premier event was held in Spokane.

No. 5 San Diego def. No. 8 Pepperdine - 85-72No. 6 Santa Clara def. No. 7 Portland - 72-68

No. 5 San Diego def. No. 4 San Francisco - 62-59No. 3 Saint Mary's def. No. 6 Santa Clara - 76-72 (OT)

No. 1 Gonzaga def. No. 5 San Diego - 96-92 (OT)No. 2 Loyola Marymount def. No. 3 Saint Mary's - 66-63

No. 1 Gonzaga def. No. 2 Loyola Marymount - 68-67


Gonzaga Bulldogs (27-3 / 14-0 WCC)
- Gonzaga captured their third consecutive WCC Tournament title and seventh in the last eight seasons with a 68-67 win over LMU.

- Gonzaga posted a perfect 14-0 record to win its record sixth consecutive league crown, breaking the previous record of five straight held by San Francisco (1977-1981).

- The Zags are heading to their eighth consecutive NCAA Tournament.

- Adam Morrison earned his second consecutive WCC Tournament MVP honor, joining former GU standout Dan Dickau and former LMU great Hank Gathers as the only players in conference history to garner two tournament MVP honors.

- Gonzaga earned the No. 3 seed and will face No. 14 seeded Xavier in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday at the Jon M. Huntsman Center on the Utah campus.

Loyola Marymount Lions (12-18 / 8-6 WCC)
- The Lions ended their season with a heartbreaking 68-67 decision to Gonzaga in the WCC Tournament final.

- Loyola Marymount was playing in the WCC Tournament title game for the first time in 17 years. The Lions won the tournament in 1988 and 1989, behind former standouts Hank Gathers and Bo Kimble.

- In his first season as head coach, Rodney Tention led the Lions to an 8-6 WCC record, marking the most conference wins for LMU since the 1996 and 1992 seasons.

- Juniors Matthew Knight and Brandon Worthy were named to the WCC all-tournament team. The pair are the first Lions to earn all-tournament honors since Jim Williamson earned the distinction in 1997. Knight earned his league-leading 17th double-double (11 points, 11 rebounds) against GU, while Worthy scored 15 points, added six boards, and handed out six assists.

Pepperdine Waves (7-20 / 3-11 WCC)
- Pepperdine ended a disappointing season with eight straight losses, its longest losing streak since losing eight in a row late in the 1995-96 campaign. The Waves also suffered through just the fourth 20-loss season in the program's 68-year history, and first since 1996-97 when they were 6-21.

- Senior forward Tashaan Forehan-Kelly received honorable mention All-WCC honors and was arguably the most improved player in the league. After averaging just 1.2 ppg to go along with 0.6 rpg in 2004-05, Forehan-Kelly responded by leading the team in scoring (15.5 ppg) and rebounding (5.8 rpg).

- The Waves future looks bright as they received significant contributions from three talented freshmen in Michael Gerrity (14.1 ppg, 3.4 apg), Willie Galick (7.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg), and Chris Oakes (5.9 ppg, 5.2 rpg). Gerrity, who was named to the WCC all-freshmen team, led all conference freshmen in scoring.

Portland Pilots (11-18 / 5-9 WCC)
- The Pilots finished the season with a 72-68 loss to Santa Clara in the WCC Tournament.

- Senior guard Pooh Jeter scored a game-high 26 points in his final outing with the Pilots. Jeter capped his impressive UP career as the school's second all-time leading scorer with 1,708 career points.

- Senior Donald Wilson ended his career on The Bluff with another solid outing of 13 points, six rebounds and three assists. Wilson ends his career ranked 13th on the Pilots' all-time scoring charts with 1,195 career points.

- Portland has not won a WCC Tournament game since claiming the 1996 league championship. The Pilots hope to rebound in 2007 when they will host the WCC Championships at the Chiles Center on the UP campus.

Saint Mary's Gaels (17-12 / 8-6 WCC)
- The Gaels closed out the 2005-06 season with a 76-72 overtime win over Santa Clara in the WCC Tournament quarterfinals and a 66-63 loss to LMU in the semifinals.

- Saint Mary's ended the season with an 8-2 record in its last 10 games and won nine of its last 11 games. SMC's only losses in its last 10 games were a 62-61 loss on the road to No. 5 Gonzaga and in the semifinals of WCC Tournament to LMU (66-63).

- Senior Daniel Kickert ends his career as SMC's all-time leading scorer with 1,875 points, and is the only three-time All-WCC first team selection in program history.

- Freshman Diamon Simpson, who averaged 8.3 ppg and ranked fourth in the WCC in rebounding with 6.8 rpg, was one of 25 players from all 334 Division I men's basketball programs to be recognized on Collegeinsider.com's all-freshman team.

San Diego Toreros (18-12 / 6-8 WCC)
- The Toreros ended their season with a 96-92 overtime loss to Gonzaga in the semifinals of the WCC Tournament.

- Senior Nick Lewis scored a game-high 26 points in his final game as a Torero. Lewis, who garnered All-WCC first team honors this season, caps his career as the second leading scorer in program history and is USD's all-time Division I scorer with 1,453 career points.

- Senior Corey Belser, the 2006 WCC Defensive Player of the Year, was named Collegeinsider.com's National Defensive Player of the Year. Belser led the Toreros in rebounding (6.9) and steals (44) this season, which both ranked among the top five in the WCC

- The future looks bright for the Toreros as freshmen Brandon Johnson and Gyno Pomare were the only teammates on the 2006 WCC all-freshmen team. In addition, Johnson was named to the CollegeInsider.com Freshman All-America Team.

San Francisco Dons (11-17 / 6-8 WCC)
- San Francisco ended its season with a 62-59 loss to San Diego in the quarterfinals of the WCC Tournament.

- Two USF players earned All-WCC honors in 2006 in juniors Armondo Surratt and Alan Wiggins, Jr. Surratt was named to the All-WCC first team and garnered Newcomer of the Year honors. Wiggins, Jr. was named All-WCC honorable mention. Surratt, a transfer from the University of Miami, paced the Dons with 14.5 ppg and led the WCC in assists with 5.11 apg. He is the first Don to lead the WCC in assists since former USF standout and WCC career assist leader Orlando Smart paced the circuit in assists in the 1993-94 campaign.

- Wiggins enjoyed a breakout season leading the WCC in blocked shots at 2.1 bpg, was 12th in scoring (14.1), third in rebounding (8.3), third in field goal percentage (52.7%) and third in double-doubles. With his 58 blocks this season, Wiggins became the first USF player to lead the WCC in blocks since Hondre Brewer accomplished the feat during the 2000-01 season.

Santa Clara Broncos (13-16 / 5-9 WCC)
- Santa Clara defeated Portland, 72-68, in the first round of the WCC Tournament before falling to Saint Mary's, 76-72, in overtime in the quarterfinals.

- Senior forward Travis Niesen, who was named to the All-WCC first team finishes his career ranked 13th on the Broncos' scoring charts with 1,380 career points.

- Freshman center John Bryant, a native of San Pablo, Calif., who became the program's all-time freshman leader in blocked shots with 37, was honored as a member of the league's all-freshmen team.

- Sophomores Brody Angley and Mitch Henke enjoyed solid second seasons. Angley ranked second on the team in scoring (10.1 ppg), while ranking second in the WCC in assists (4.9 apg). Henke ranked third on the team in scoring (9.4 ppg) and rebounding (5.6 rpg).