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Gonzaga Basketball

Gonzaga faces needy BYU

Thu., Feb. 20, 2014, midnight

College basketball: No. 25 Gonzaga (23-4, 13-1 WCC) visits BYU (18-10, 10-5) tonight in Provo, Utah.

A victory would give the Bulldogs an outright conference championship. BYU, tied for second in the loss column with Saint Mary’s and San Francisco, needs quality wins to enhance its NCAA Tournament resume.

Earlier this week ESPN bracketologist Joe Lunardi said BYU needs to beat Gonzaga “or the conversation is over” regarding the Cougars’ at-large chances. Gonzaga is 1-1 at the Marriott Center, which seats 21,900. BYU is 7-0 in WCC home games this season.

“It’s a really cool environment,” GU senior guard David Stockton said. “Warming up the student section is clapping for you. It’s a little weird and kind of effective, it throws people off. Once that game starts, they’re not clapping for you anymore.”

TV: ESPN2, 8 p.m.

Jim Meehan

Shock open camp today

Arena football: The Spokane Shock open training camp today with a familiar roster and major changes in its administrative offices. It was often the opposite in the arena football team’s first eight seasons.

Players will undergo physicals today and lighter practices Friday and Saturday before padding up Sunday. Spokane’s 35-player roster will be trimmed to 24 by March 8.

Erik Meyer, the 2013 Arena Football League MVP, returns at quarterback, as well as five veteran offensive linemen. Adron Tennell, who owns several franchise records, and Brandon Thompkins, who had 16 touchdown catches in 11 games last year, are proven targets at receiver. Taylor Rowan is back at kicker.

The defense will have at least three new starters. ‘Mac’ linebacker Beau Bell has joined the L.A. KISS and five-year veteran Terrance Sanders is the lone returner in the secondary.

The new ownership group, led by Seattle-area businessman Nader Naini, purchased the Shock from original owner Brady Nelson in January.

Spokane opens the season at home against Iowa on Saturday, March 15.

Jim Meehan

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