Feb. 2, 2009
SAN BRUNO, Calif. - Junior guard Nik Raivio and freshman forward Alexis Gannis made it a University of Portland sweep as both were named the West Coast Conference Player of the Week following an epic weekend of basketball. It's the first conference player of the week honor for both Raivio and Gannis.
Raivio averaged team highs of 22.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game to help the Pilots defeat San Diego and 18th-ranked Saint Mary's. During Saturday's 84-66 romp of the Gaels, Raivio hit 11 of 19 from the field en route to a game-high 27 points. The native of Vancouver, Wash., also grabbed five rebounds against SMC to help UP pick up its first win over a ranked opponent since 1981. On Thursday, Raivio just missed a double-double with 17 points and nine rebounds as the Pilots cruised to a 69-55 win over the Toreros. Raivio, who is the top rebounding guard in the conference, is averaging 17.3 points and 8.6 rebounds in seven WCC games this year. He ranks third overall in scoring during league contests, is fifth in rebounding and is second in steals (12).
The two home wins allowed Portland to improve to 15-7 overall and to 6-1 in the conference, the best start to WCC play in program history. Saturday's win over the Gaels marked the team's sixth straight victory and eighth in the last nine games. The 15 wins overall match the program's best since finishing 19-11 and advancing to the NCAA Tournament in 1996.
The weekend sweep sets up a showdown with No. 18 Gonzaga (16-4, 7-0 WCC) for first place in the conference standings on Thursday in front of a national television audience. The game, which will be shown live on ESPN2, is set to tip-off at 8 p.m. at the Chiles Center.
The second-place Pilots, who are 4-0 in conference road games this season, face another road test this week as they travel to Spokane, Wash., for a game against first-place Gonzaga (19-4, 7-0 WCC). UP and GU will play on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. at the McCarthey Center.
Courtesy of University of Portland Sports Information