Toreros host No. 7 Gonzaga Saturday at 8pm

Chris Manresa

Chris Manresa

Jan. 29, 2013

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GAME #23: The USD Toreros (11-11; 4-3 WCC) will play host to the No. 7 Gonzaga Bulldogs (19-2, 6-0 WCC) this coming Saturday, February 2nd. Game time is slated for 8:05 p.m. at the Jenny Craig Pavilion (5,100 capacity). Gonzaga plays at LMU this Thursday, January 31st before heading to San Diego.

The Last Meeting
San Diego57
February 25, 2012
San Diego, CA
Toreros fall in conference finale to Gonzaga, 65-57
The University of San Diego Toreros gave the Gonzaga Bulldogs all they could handle Saturday night, but couldn't come away with the win in a 65-57 defeat in the WCC finale.

SERIES RECORD: This is the 82nd meeting between USD and Gonzaga with the Bulldogs owning a commanding 60-21 series advantage... The Zags have won eight straight in the series with two wins last season - 77-60 win in Spokane, Washington on January 21st, and 65-57 on February 25, 2012 in San Diego... Torero senior Darian Norris paced USD with 20 points in Spokane... In the last meeting at the JCP, Gonzaga opened the game with an 8-0 run, and with the game tied 57-all with 2:07 to go, the Zags closed with another 8-0 run... Johnny Dee led USD with 13 points... USD's last win over Gonzaga (ranked #20 at the time) came on March 10, 2008 at the JCP in the championship game of the WCC Tourney (69-62)... In 2006, Gonzaga was ranked No. 6 in game played at JCP and Toreros lost 64-63.

RADIO-TV: All USD home and away games will be broadcast live on The Mighty 1090 or ESPN 1700 AM with Andy Masur (6th season) bringing you all the action; his pre-game shows air 15 minutes prior to tip-off. Saturday's game airs on The Mighty 1090. The game will also be on ESPNU (Roxy Bernstein, Paul Biancardi and Paul Carcaterra).

A LOOK AHEAD: Following Saturday's game with Gonzaga, the Toreros continue their tough slate of four games in eight days - @ LMU (Feb. 4th, 7pm), vs. BYU (Feb. 7th, 7pm, BYUtv) and with Saint Mary's College (Feb. 9th, 8pm, ESPNU).

WCC STANDINGS (thru Jan. 29th): Gonzaga (6-0 WCC, 19-2), Saint Mary's (6-1, 17-4), BYU (6-2, 16-6), Santa Clara (4-3, 16-6), San Diego (4-3, 11-11), Pepperdine (2-5, 10-10), San Francisco (2-6, 9-12), Loyola Marymount (1-6, 8-12), Portland (1-6, 8-14). OTHER WCC GAMES THIS WEEK: (Jan. 30th) Saint Mary's at USF. (Jan. 31st) BYU at Pepperdine, Portland at Santa Clara, Gonzaga at LMU. (Feb. 2) USF at Pepperdine, Portland at Saint Mary's, Santa Clara at BYU, Gonzaga at USD. (Feb. 4) San Diego at LMU.

COACH GRIER (6TH YEAR): Coach Bill Grier (Oregon, 1990) is in his sixth season at the helm of the USD program... He enters the Gonzaga contest with a 11-11 mark and 4-3 WCC record... Last season's squad finished 13-18, but won 4 of its final 6 regular-season WCC games and then advanced to the quarterfinals of the WCC Championships before falling to BYU by just 5 points... The 2010-11 season was highlighted by a 74-66 home win over #23 Saint Mary's, along with a 67-64 win over Utah... The 2009-10 season was highlighted by wins over Stanford, #25 Oklahoma, Houston and Boise State... His 2008-09 campaign (16-16) was highlighted by road wins over Oregon and Mississippi State... In his rookie year (2007-08) he guided the Toreros to an overall mark of 22-14 and 3rd place finish in the WCC race at 11-3... He guided the Toreros to three wins and the championship title at the WCC Tournament with wins over Pepperdine, Saint Mary's and No. 20 Gonzaga... The Toreros then upset No. 15 UCONN in the NCAA Tournament opener with a 70-69 overtime victory, before falling to Western Kentucky in the second round... His 11 WCC wins were the second most for league wins in a single season in program history... Grier is USD's 11th head coach overall and just the 4th head coach since the Torero program moved to the NCAA Division I ranks in 1979-80... His 22 wins in 2007-08 were also the most by a Torero coach in his first season at USD. In addition to knocking off Kentucky on the road, 81-72, the Toreros earned three wins over Top-25 teams: #21 Saint Mary's, #20 Gonzaga and #15 Connecticut... Bill and his wife, Nicole, have two daughters, Giselle & Ashley.

TORERO TIDBITS: Saturday's game against Gonzaga begins a tough stretch of four games in eight days... Gonzaga comes to the JCP ranked No. 7 in the nation... GU is also the highest ranked team to have appeared in the JCP, having been ranked No. 6 on January 21, 2006 (64-63 Gonzaga win on a three-pointer by Erroll Knight from the right corner with 8 seconds left)... USD has beaten Gonzaga twice when they've been nationally ranked... The first time came on Feb. 4, 1999 (a 75-67 victory in the old USD Sports Center when Gonzaga was No. 25)... The second came on March 10, 2008 (a 69-62 win at the JCP in the title game of the 2008 WCC championship)... USD's highest ranked opponent ever is No. 1 Kansas, a 101-71 loss at the San Diego Sports Arena on Dec. 9, 1995... Johnny Dee continues to lead USD in scoring at 14.4 ppg (he is also the lone Torero averaging in double-digits in WCC games, 12.7 ppg)... Among WCC players he is first in free throw percentage (90%, 54x60)...Christopher Anderson ranks 23rd in the nation in steals (2.33), and 4th in WCC in assists (5.4)... Jito Kok is 2nd in WCC in blocked shots (1.7)... For overall games this season the Toreros rank 1st in 3-point percentage defense (.301) among WCC schools, and 2nd in scoring defense (64.7) and blocked shots (4.2).

HOME SWEET HOME: USD is 8-3 at home this season and saw their 6-game winning streak snapped last Saturday by the Santa Clara Broncos (64-50)... The Toreros are averaging 70.5 ppg while limiting opponents to 63.6 ppg (+6.9 scoring margin)... Johnny Dee averages 15.6 ppg at the JCP, and is followed by Chris Anderson (10.4 ppg)... Ken Rancifer (9.9 ppg) and Chris Manresa (8.9 ppg, 6.3 rpg) just miss the double digit scoring mark.

SCOUTING THE GONZAGA BULLDOGS: The Gonzaga Bulldogs (19-2; 6-0 WCC) are ranked No. 7 in both polls... The Zags play at LMU on Thursday before heading south to San Diego... They have only dropped two nonconference games this season - at home to Illinois, 85-74 (Dec. 8, 2012) and at Butler, 64-63 (Jan. 19, 2013)... This past week they won both WCC contests at home against BYU (83-63) and San Francisco (66-52)... The Zags are being paced by 7'0" junior forward Kelly Olynyk who sat out last season as a redshirt... For the season he is averaging 18.2 points and 7.0 rebounds... In the team's two WCC wins this past week he averaged 19.5 ppg and 8.5 rpg while shooting 67% from the field... Olynyk is followed by 6'8" senior forward Elias Harris (15.3 ppg, 7.3 rpg) and 6'2" sophomore guard Kevin Pangos (12.0 ppg)... For WCC games only, Olynyk ranks 1st in scoring with his 23.3 ppg average... For all games among WCC schools, Gonzaga ranks first in both scoring (78.9 ppg) and scoring defense (62.6)... They have similar number for their six WCC games (77.6 ppg while limiting opponents to 63.0)... GU has been to the NCAA's 14 straight seasons... Head Coach Mark Few (14th season) owns a career mark of 361-92 (79.7 winning percentage).