Feb. 22, 2013
GAME #29: The USD Toreros (13-15; 6-7 WCC), coming off a 70-67 loss at Portland on Thursday, head to Spokane for a Saturday contest against the 3rd-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs (26-2; 13-0 WCC). Game time is 4:00 p.m. at the McCarthey Athletic Center (6,000).
SERIES RECORD: This is the 83rd meeting between USD and Gonzaga with the Bulldogs owning a commanding 61-21 series advantage... The Zags have won nine straight in the series including this season's first meeting back on February 2nd in San Diego... The Zags held on for a hard-fought 65-63 win... In that contest the Toreros were paced by Johnny Dee with 21 points and 7 rebounds... USD last defeated Gonzaga (ranked #20 at the time) on March 10, 2008 in the championship game of the WCC Tournament played at USD's Jenny Craig Pavilion by the score of 69-62... That was Coach Bill Grier's first season and USD went on to upset #15 UCONN in the first round of the NCAA's before falling to Western Kentucky.
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 televised on ROOT NW and Time Warner Cable Sportsnet (Greg Heister, Richard Fox & Dan Dickau).
A LOOK AHEAD: Following Saturday's game with Gonzaga, the Toreros return to San Diego to close out their regular-season slate with home games against San Francisco (Feb. 28th, 6 pm on FSSD TV) and Pepperdine (Mar. 2nd, 12 pm on TWC-Sportsnet).
WCC STANDINGS (thru Feb. 21st): #3 Gonzaga (13-0 WCC, 26-2), Saint Mary's (12-2, 23-5), BYU (9-5, 19-9), Santa Clara (7-6, 19-9), San Diego (6-7, 13-15), San Francisco (5-9, 12-15), Pepperdine (4-9, 12-14), Portland (4-10, 11-18), Loyola Marymount (1-13, 8-19). UPCOMING WCC GAMES: (Feb. 23) SCU at Portland (2pm), Creighton at Saint Mary's (3pm), USD at Gonzaga (4pm), Pepperdine at USF (6pm), Loyola Marymount at Cal Poly (7pm).
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 13-15 mark and 6-7 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: The Toreros close out their regular season road slate Saturday where they are currently 4-8 in "true" away games and 4-10 overall away from the JCP... USD is 3-4 in WCC road games with Johnny Dee (14.3 ppg) and Ken Rancifer (11.1 ppg) leading the way in those 7 league contests... For the season the Toreros are being paced by Dee's 15.0 points per game (8th in WCC) and his league-best 89.9% from the free throw line (#7 in NCAA)... Rancifer joins Dee in the double-digit column at 10.1 ppg (25th in WCC)... Point guard Christopher Anderson continues to rank among the league's best in steals (2.25, 2nd WCC; #24 NCAA) and assists (5.5, 4th in WCC; #34 NCAA)... Closing in on the end of his second season, Anderson has 58 games under his belt with 305 assists (5.25) and 123 steals (2.2)... Both Dee (8 rebounds) and Jito Kok (9 rebounds) set new personal-bests in this category at Santa Clara last week... With his 17 point effort last week at Santa Clara, senior Ken Rancifer upped his season total to 270 points and pushed past his previous single season total of 257 points (2010-11)... Now with 282 points, he owns 899 career points over 116 career games (7.75 ppg average)... USD is 1st in WCC in 3PT FG% defense (.306).
TOREROS FALL AT PORTLAND 70-67: The Toreros (13-15, 6-7) fell to Portland (11-18, 4-10) 70-67 Thursday evening on the road. The Toreros, who knocked off the Pilots 61-50 at home on January 3rd, were able to jump out to an early 7-1 lead. With nine Toreros scoring within the game's first 12 minutes, USD was able to hold a slight advantage for the majority of the first half. However, the Pilots were able to put together an 8-0 run to close the first half to give Portland a 31-27 lead going into the locker room. In a second half full of momentum swings, both teams shot over 50 percent from the field. After Portland scored the opening bucket in the second half, the Toreros put together a 9-2 run to give them a 36-35 lead with a 17:21 remaining. The Pilots, who outrebounded the Toreros 38-25, quickly took the lead back and held on to it till the 3:25 mark when USD went up 57-56 on a pair of Simi Fajemisin free throws. However, the Pilots would go on an 8-2 run over the next 2:29 to open up a 64-59 lead with just 56 seconds remaining. The Toreros cut the lead to 66-64 on a Ken Rancifer jumper with eight seconds remaining, but the Pilots went 4-4 from the free throw line down the stretch to seal the 70-67 victory. The Toreros were led by sophomore Johnny Dee, who scored 11 of his team-high 13 points in the second half. Seniors Chris Manresa and Rancifer each chipped in 12 points as well. The Pilots, who had four players score double-digit points, were led by Kevin Bailey's 18 points. Ryan Nicholas and Derrick Rodgers tallied 15 points.
SCOUTING THE GONZAGA BULLDOGS: The Gonzaga Bulldogs (26-2, 13-0 WCC), currently the 3rd ranked team in the nation, dealt Santa Clara a convincing 85-42 loss this past Wednesday to improve their WCC record to a perfect 13-0 mark... Forward Elias Harris paced the Zags with 17 points and 9 rebounds... They've won nine straight games with their last loss coming at Butler on January 19th (64-63)... Gonzaga is 13-1 at the McCarthey Athletic Center this season with the lone loss coming to Illinois (85-74) back on December 8th... For all games this season Gonzaga ranks 1st among WCC teams in both scoring (78.5 ppg), scoring defense (60.5), scoring margin (+18.0), field goal percentage (.507) and field goal percentage defense (.390)... Gonzaga is being paced by 7-0 junior forward Kelly Olynyk (17.9 ppg, 6.9 rpg), senior forward Elias Harris (14.6 ppg, 7.5 rpg) and sophomore guard Kevin Pangos (11.8 ppg; 62-140 shooting in threes)... For WCC games only, it is the same trio leading the way in scoring - Olynyk (20.0 ppg), Harris (13.9 ppg) and Pangos (11.6 ppg)... Gonzaga toughest test in league play came from the USD Toreros on Feb. 2nd, a 65-63 Zags win... Head Coach Mark Few is in his 14th year as head coach (368-92) and 24th year overall on the Gonzaga staff.
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