College Basketball Today
PORTLAND AT GONZAGA
Gonzaga (4-6 in the West Coast Conference, 15-7) plays Portland (7-3, 16-6) in a game that has been pushed back to 8:30 p.m. to accommodate a live Prime Sports Northwest telecast. Gonzaga’s women open action at the Martin Centre at 6.
At a glance
Under rookie coach Rob Chavez, Portland is one of the league’s success stories. The Pilots haven’t had a winning season in 13 years, but stand only two games back of league-leading Santa Clara.
“They’ve got lots of talent and are very, very physical,” GU coach Dan Fitzgerald said. “(Loyola Marymount coach) John Olive said that he thought they have the two best big men in the league, and I think he might be right.”
Those two are Canaan Chatman and Curt Ranta. Chatman, a versatile 6-8 forward, is third in the league in scoring and fifth in rebounding, while the muscular Ranta is a force at 6-foot-10 and 245 pounds.
With a four-game win streak and momentum building toward the conference tournament, the Bulldogs need to perform well, Fitzgerald said. “This is a big, big game for us because we’re really climbing. We’ve won 15 games, we’ve battled back hard and now we have to see if we can beat somebody better than us.”
These two are the best shooting teams in the conference. One clear Portland advantage, though, is in ball control. The Pilots are the only team in the league with a positive ratio in turnovers, forcing 22.5 a game - triggered by their leaguehigh 11.4 steals a game.
The Zags are still living by a balanced attack, with four players averaging between 11.4 and 13.1 points a game.
Gonzaga: Jon Kinloch, 13.1 points per game; Jason Rubright, Paul Rogers, 5.3 rebounds; Kyle Dixon, 4.0 assists. Portland: Canaan Chatman, 19.5 ppg; Chatman, 6.7 rpg; Lemont Daniels, 2.9 apg.
Radio/TV: KJRB (790 AM), pre-game 15 minutes before tipoff. TV, Prime Sports Northwest.
COLUMBIA BASIN AT SPOKANE
The Sasquatch (4-6 NWAACC, 7-15) will host Columbia Basin (7-3, 13-8) tonight at 8 at Spokane Falls.
At a glance
This is a big game for Columbia Basin. The Hawks are in a three-way tie for first place with Big Bend and Wenatchee Valley. Even though CCS is out of the playoff race, the Sasqautch would like nothing better than to end the Hawks’ title hopes.
“We just want to finish off as good as we can,” CCS coach Sam Brasch said. “We’re certainly capable of doing it.”
Columbia Basin features 6-foot shooting guard David Bull and 6-foot-3 point guard Joey Kearns. “They are a patient team and look for good shots on the offensive end,” Brasch said.