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Zags entertain USF, Blanchette on conference landscape

Gonzaga, fresh from a 20-point win over BYU on Thursday, takes on visiting San Francisco on Saturday at the Kennel. The Dons have won two straight, including a 75-72 victory at Portland on Thursday.

USF has knocked off Gonzaga the last three years at Memorial Gym in San Francisco, but the Dons haven't won in Spokane since 1988-89 season (67-64).

My short game preview for Saturday's S-R is below.

Update: John Blanchette weighs in on the Catholic 7 and Gonzaga after a visit with  WCC commissioner Jamie Zaninovich.

By Jim Meehan

Staff writer

Gonzaga has a pair of goals tonight. One, win a WCC game against visiting San Francisco. Two, continue raising money to help win the fight against cancer.

The 10th-ranked Bulldogs (18-2, 5-0 WCC) take on the Dons (9-11, 2-5) at 5 at the McCarthey Athletic Center. San Francisco has won two straight conference games. Cole Dickerson’s last-second 3-pointer gave USF a 75-72 victory over Portland on Thursday and lifted the Dons out of the WCC basement.

Gonzaga, which shot 56.9 percent in an 83-63 win over BYU Thursday, faces another defense that will attempt to push its offense out of its comfort zone.

“You’ll see a team that traps the first pass, the first dribble, traps the ball screen, anything to get you out of rhythm offensively,” said coach Mark Few, whose team dealt with a similar strategy from BYU, but was slowed at times by 19 turnovers. “You have to be strong with the ball, make plays and play with some poise.”

USF made 53 percent from the field, 43 percent of its 3-pointers and 94 percent of its free throws against Portland. Dickerson averages a double-double (14.9 points, 10 rebounds). Veteran point guard Cody Doolin averages 12.3 points and 5.8 assists, fourth in the WCC. De’End Parker, a 6-foot-6 guard, chips in 12.3 points and has made 48 percent of his 3-pointers.

Tonight’s game is part of Coaches vs. Cancer week in the region. “Believe” t-shirts will be on sale at the game and they’re also available at several area outlets (www.cvctee.comfor more details).

“It means everything to Marcy and myself, just the support we’ve had over the years from Spokane, the media. Here I am congratulating you guys, when’s the last time I slapped you guys on the back? That’s how much it means me to right there,” Few joked. “It’s been a huge blessing in my life and the players’ lives. Hopefully more and more awareness will happen Saturday and save a couple a lives because of it.”

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Jim Allen Sports reporter Jim Allen's primary coverage areas are Eastern Washington University football and men's basketball, and college and high school soccer. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Jim Meehan Jim Meehan's coverage areas include Gonzaga University men's basketball, Spokane Shock football, golf and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Chris Derrick Chris Derrick is a sports reporter. His primary coverage areas are the Spokane Chiefs, Spokane Indians, women's basketball and high school softball and volleyball. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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Josh Wright Josh Wright is a freelance correspondent who covers the University of Idaho football team and men's basketball team.

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Vince Grippi is the online producer for SportsLink, a product of The Spokesman-Review.

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