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Zags on ESPN networks at least 13 times

Gonzaga will appear at least 13 times on ESPN’s family of networks during the 2014-15 college basketball season.

GU’s non-conference matchups against SMU, Arizona, Washington State, UCLA and Memphis are among a minimum of 44 ESPN telecasts involving WCC teams.

The Zags’ showdowns with BYU (Dec. 27 and Feb. 28) and Saint Mary’s (Jan. 22 and Feb. 21) are on ESPN’s schedule. The ESPN networks will have expanded coverage of the WCC Tournament in Las Vegas, beginning with a pair of quarterfinal games Saturday, March. 7.

More here.

—Below, find ticket information for the GU-WSU game Dec. 10th at the Arena.

 

Zags open WCC with three road games

The WCC released its 2014-15 schedule — yes, GU plays conference games in late December again — and it looks nothing like last year's slate. The Zags open with three straight road games, including a WCC lid-lifter at BYU, followed by dates with San Diego and Portland. GU plays five of its first seven on the road.

Last year, Gonzaga opened the WCC with four consecutive home games.

BYU is picked second behind Gonzaga in most preseason polls (I'm picking Saint Mary's at No. 2). San Diego and Portland are contenders to finish in the top five. The Zags' home opener will be against USF, which shared second place with BYU last season, on Jan. 8. Gonzaga takes on Saint Mary's on Jan. 22 in Spokane and visits Moraga on Feb. 21.

The Bulldogs close the WCC schedule against BYU at the McCarthey Athletic Center on Feb. 28.

GU's non-conference and television schedule will be released at a later date.

More on Gonzaga's WCC schedule here and here's a link to the entire WCC schedule.

 

Coleman headed to Georgetown (Kent.) College

 

Former Gonzaga Bulldog Gerard Coleman will play his senior season of basketball for Georgetown (Kent.) College.

Tigers coach Chris Briggs expects Coleman to be a productive player for the NAIA program, which won the national championship two years ago.

Coleman transferred to Gonzaga from Providence, where he was a double-digit scorer for two seasons. The 6-foot-4 wing from Boston averaged 6 points and 1.6 rebounds as a Zag last season. He reached double figures five times in the first nine games, including a 21-point effort versus New Mexico State.

Coleman’s playing time and production decreased over the last three months of the season.

Rivalry returning for GU, UW

The Gonzaga-Washington men's basketball rivalry will return in the 2016-17 season, the schools announced Monday. It's a four-year, home-and-home agreement. The teams last met in Dec., 2006, with Gonzaga winning 97-77 (Matt Bouldin and UW's Ryan Appleby pictured above in the '06 meeting).

It sounds like GU coach Mark Few and UW counterpart Lorenzo Romar ironed out most of the details over the weekend in Las Vegas. Gonzaga has three Pac-12 foes on this year's schedule (UCLA, Arizona and Washington State).

More below.

 

NIT puts GU in scheduling bind

Gonzaga's season opener is approximately 3 1/2 months away and five of its non-conference games are still TBD. (The Zags had 13 non-conference games in the 2013-14 regular season.)

The main hold-up is the NIT Season Tip-Off, which hasn't delivered on its original format for host schools Gonzaga, Georgia, Minnesota and St. John's (two home games, win those two you advance for two games at Madison Square Garden). The NIT hasn't been able to fill out a 16-team field.

The NIT's next proposal was one home game & three at the MSG (one a quasi guarantee game against Stony Brook that would fall between the semifinals and the championship/consolation and have no bearing on the final day pairings (yes, that makes no sense).

Gonzaga is hoping the NIT can find a better solution, possibly one with the Zags hosting one game and then playing two in MSG, provided it wins at the McCarthey Athletic Center. Not ideal, but it's late in the scheduling process to find suitable replacements.

The other snag is finding a foe for the annual Battle in Seattle. The matchup was thought to be ready for an announcement a couple weeks ago but it fell through.

Also, longtime basketball director of operations Jerry Krause will step down following the season.

More on the schedule and Krause here.

McClellan transferring to GU

Gonzaga has added another key transfer. Vanderbilt's Eric McClellan announced Sunday that he'll transfer to Gonzaga after he finishes up three classes this summer. Byron Wesley, a three-year standout at USC, announced last month that he'll join the Zags for the upcoming season.

McClellan will likely be eligible for the second half of the 2014-15 season, but he hopes to obtain a waiver that allows him to be eligible immediately.

I spoke with McClellan for about 10 minutes after finishing up Ironman Coeur d'Alene duties and put together the article below for Monday's S-R.

Read on for an unedited version.

Meikle leaving Gonzaga

Luke Meikle, who rarely saw the court as a freshman, won't return for his sophomore season. Gonzaga announced on Tuesday that Meikle has been granted his release to pursue other opportunities.

The 6-9, 203-pound forward from Tacoma's Bellarmine Prep logged just 60 minutes in 15 appearances. It wasn't immediately known what schools Meikle is considering. If he transfers to a Division I school, he'll have to sit out next season under NCAA rules.

More below.

 

 

Wesley transferring to Gonzaga

Gonzaga landed another key addition to its promising 2014-15 roster. USC transfer Byron Wesley announced Sunday he'll join the Zags.

My unedited article is below.

A couple of things that didn't make the article. Wesley was scheduled to visit Pitt on Friday, but decided to reschedule because that was the same day as USC's graduation ceremonies. 

“I talked with my family and we decided this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (to walk) and we felt it was the best thing for me,” said Wesley. “It was nothing against Pitt. Then once I decided Gonzaga was the place for me, I decided not to visit Pitt.”

Wesley said coach Mark Few and assistant Donny Daniels visited his home in Southern California. Wesley was joined by his parents when he visited Gonzaga last weekend.

“They were really impressed,” Wesley said. “They know the pedigree of Gonzaga basketball and the history and things they've done in the past. My dad  is a big basketball fan and really pays attention to all that stuff.”

Gerard Coleman leaving Gonzaga

Gerard Coleman, a Providence transfer who played last season at Gonzaga, is transferring elsewhere for his senior season, Bulldogs coach Mark Few said. Click here for our story.

WSU to play Gonzaga in Spokane next season

From Pullman — Football practice meant that I couldn't get this blog post up until now, but earlier I tweeted the news that Washington State will play Gonzaga in Spokane for the second straight year next season as part of a three-year contract. The terms of the contract say that Gonzaga will host WSU the first year (this past season), the teams will play a “neutral site” game at Spokane Arena in the second year (next season) with a game in Pullman during the third and final year.

It's likely that the schools will split the revenue from next year's game but I haven't been able to confirm that. I should have more tomorrow.

Sabonis signs with Gonzaga

Domantas Sabonis, the 17-year-old son of former Portland Trail Blazer center Arvydas Sabonis, has signed with Gonzaga. Article here.

It's a big get for the Zags, who bolstered their frontcourt and added a highly skilled forward to go with Przemek Karnowski, Kyle Wiltjer and Angel Nunez. As GU's release indicates, Ryan Edwards has told coaches he plans on redshirting next season.

The word that came to mind watching Sabonis on this highlight tape is smooth. He has polished moves and scores in a variety of ways. He's probably similar to Wiltjer in many ways, minus the 3-point accuracy at this point. Sabonis moves well and should only get bigger and stronger as he ages. He speaks fluent English (Spanish, too).

Numerous tweeters have asked if he'll play right away. My guess is he'll see a lot of playing time.

Zags have strong crew returning

The college basketball season ended last night with UConn winning the national title over Kentucky. Gonzaga's season ended March 23rd with an 84-61 loss to Arizona.

I took a look back and look ahead for the Zags, who will be under the expectation spotlight again next season with a strong group of returning players joined by Kyle Wiltjer, who sat out last season under NCAA transfer rules. Here's my article that ran in today's S-R.

GU is No. 15 in one of those way-too-early rankings for next season.

 

Zags pay for turnovers in 84-61 loss

About the only question in the closing minutes was whether Gonzaga would suffer its worst NCAA tournament loss. They didn't, but it hardly eased their pain as the Bulldogs were crushed by Arizona 84-61 Sunday at Viejas Arena.

GU's 87-63 loss to Maryland in 1995 — the school's first NCAA trip — remains its most lopsided. This one wasn't close as Gonzaga couldn't handle with Arizona's pressure defense and coughed up 21 turnovers, leading to 31 Wildcats' points.

Przemek Karnowski had 14 points and 10 rebounds. Kevin Pangos played through a sprained ankle to make four 3s and finish with 12 points. But the Bulldogs made just 41 percent of their shots and scored only 27 points in the second half.

Here's my game story, John Blanchette's column and Dan Pelle's photos.

 

Zags take their shot at top-seeded Arizona

Gonzaga, back in its familiar role as NCAA tournament underdog, takes on No.-1-seeded Arizona tonight in San Diego.

The Zags have pulled more than their share of tourney upsets — No. 7 Minnesota, No. 2 Stanford, No. 6 Florida in 1999, No. 7 Louisville and No. 2 St. John's in 2000, to name several — but they've never knocked off a No. 1. They're 0-5.

They've come close twice, falling to No. 1 UConn 67-62 in 1999, 77-62 to Michigan State in 2001, 96-95 in double OT to Arizona in 2003, 99-78 to North Carolina in 2009 and 87-65 to Syracuse in 2010.

Here's our coverage: My game preview, my notebook and look back at the memorable 2003 contest, and John Blanchette's column on a couple of 7-footers. A capsule look at the teams and keys to victory below.

In-game updates on twitter tonight @srjimm.

Gonzaga toughs out 85-77 win

Good evening from San Diego. Gonzaga defeated Oklahoma State 85-77, behind Kevin Pangos' 26 points, Gary Bell Jr.'s 17 and Przemek Karnowski's 15.

Here's the S-R coverage: My game story and notebook, John Blanchette's column and sidebar, and Dan Pelle's photos.

Long and short of GU-OSU matchup

Good evening from San Diego. Gonzaga and Oklahoma State go about their business in different ways and that contrast of styles will be on display when they collide Friday in a round-of-64 game at Viejas Arena.

Here's my game preview, with several notes tacked on to the bottom. Here's Dan Pelle's photo gallery. And here's John Blanchette's column on Kevin Pangos.

Lastly, we have a capsule look at GU and OSU below.

Looking back at GU-OSU series

We took a look back through the S-R archives at the brief Gonzaga-Oklahoma State series. They've played five times since 2004 in five different venues in five different cities. Gonzaga has won all five.

Here's a link to my article that ran in today's S-R. The Daily Oklahoman has an article on OSU sharp-shooter Phil Forte.

Press conferences this afternoon. Back later with more.

Zags put words into action

Gonzaga was coming off a stinging 0-2 road trip last month that sounded warning signs, particularly with another two-game road trip coming up, followed by the neutral-site WCC Tournament and wherever the NCAA road took them, if the Zags were fortunate enough to make the big dance.

The Bulldogs gathered prior to practice for, as Sam Dower Jr. put it, “a man to man” talk. The Zags have won five games since that meeting and seem to have become a more hardened squad that deals better with adversity.

More on the meeting and the aftermath here.

Closer look at OSU’s season

Gonzaga has faced its share of adversity this season: injuries, come-from-ahead losses, tough road trips. Nearly every team goes through it.

Oklahoma State, GU's opponent Friday in the NCAA tournament, experienced the extremes of college basketball's four-and-a-half month grind. More on OSU's season here.

Zags draw Oklahoma State

Eighth-seeded Gonzaga will open the NCAA Tournament against No. 9 Oklahoma State on Friday in San Diego.

Here's my article on the matchup that will run in Monday's S-R.

I checked in with Boston Celtics president Danny Ainge at the WCC Tournament for this update on Kelly Olynyk that ran in Sunday's S-R.

I cut-and-paste a capsule look at GU-OSU below.

Below that, I cut-and-paste my game story from Gonzaga's 69-68 win over OSU last New Year's Eve.

Day after BYU

Gonzaga took all the guesswork – other than seeding, opponent and location — out of Selection Sunday by winning the WCC Tournament title over BYU on Tuesday. Had the Zags lost, most pundits still had them in the NCAA field as an at-large team but it would have been an uncomfortable few days waiting for Sunday’s announcement. (I’m guessing an 8 or 9 seed, I’m pulling for a trip to San Diego).

GU did it with a near flawless first half, leading by as many as 21 before settling for a 17-point edge at the break. The cushion helped the Zags withstand BYU’s second-half rally for a 75-64 victory.

Here’s my game story, John Blanchette’s column and Colin Mulvany’s photos. The view from Utah here, here, here, here and here. The Zags doubled up on championships as Gonzaga's women thumped BYU. My game story here and Colin's photos.

Onward for my day-after BYU post.

 

Gonzaga beats BYU for WCC crown

As junior guard Gary Bell Jr. put it afterward, “No more bubble talk.”

Gonzaga secured the WCC Tournament title with a 75-64 victory over BYU on Tuesday, earning its 16th straight NCAA Tournament berth. Sam Dower, with 20 points and 13 boards, was named MVP. David Stockton had seven assists, five rebounds, four points and three steals to join Dower, BYU's Tyler Haws and Kyle Collinsworth and USF's Cole Dickerson on the All-Tournament team.

My unedited game story is below. Check back tomorrow for my day-after post.

Zags roll to another WCC title

Gonzaga rode its defense to another WCC title.

The Bulldogs limited BYU to 14 first-half points and cruised to a 71-57 victory Tuesday in the championship game at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.

Keani Albanez led the way with 20 points, Sunny Greinacher added 16 and Lindsay Sherbert had 15.

My unedited game story is below.

Day after Saint Mary’s

Another busy day ahead in Las Vegas with the Gonzaga men and women playing for titles at Orleans Arena — GU-BYU women at 1, GU-BYU men at 6 — so we'll move on to our day-after Saint Mary's post.

It'll be shorter than usual. Heading to the arena soon and Gonzaga players had exited the locker room by the time the Bulldogs' press conference ended.

GU roughed up the Gaels again Monday night, 70-54, to advance to the championship game. Here's my game story, John Blanchette's column, Colin Mulvany's photos (many of these pictures show the physical nature of the contest), and recaps in the San Francisco Chronicle and Contra Costa Times.

GU's women handled Saint Mary's on Monday. Photo gallery here.

BYU's men went cold for the last 6 minutes of regulation but managed to advance to the title game by edging San Francisco in overtime. More on that game here, here, here and here. BYU's women pulled away in the second half against Pacific.

 

Gonzaga drubs Gaels again

Gonzaga took apart Saint Mary's for the third time this season, the latest a 70-54 rout Monday that sends the Bulldogs into the WCC Tournament title game for the 17th straight year.

GU beat the Gaels by 21, 28 and 16 in three meetings.

David Stockton, building a strong case for MVP through two games, equaled his career high with 21 points. GU (27-6) will face No. 2 BYU or No. 3 San Francisco in Tuesday's title game.

My unedited game story is below.

Gonzaga women advance to championship game

Haiden Palmer scored 16 points, Lindsay Sherbert had 14 in the first half and Shelby Cheslek added 11 points and 14 rebounds Gonzaga defeated Saint Mary's 68-60 on Monday.

The victory moves the top-seeded Bulldogs (28-4) into Tuesday's championship game against No. 2 BYU, a 77-64 winner over No. 3 Pacific.

Here's a link to my game story. Here's Colin Mulvany's photo gallery.

 

Saint Mary’s in path of GU men, women

The brackets for the men and women at the WCC tournaments look similar, at least from Gonzaga's perspective. The top four seeds in both tourneys advanced to the semifinals.

That means No. 1 Gonzaga will take on No. 4 Saint Mary's twice today. The women collide at noon, the men at 6. No. 2 BYU and No. 3 Pacific tangle at 2 in the second women's semifinal. No. 2 BYU and No. 3 USF meet in the men's late-night semi.

Here are my advances of the GU men and GU women, and another advance from the San Francisco Chronicle.

Day after Santa Clara

Back with a day-after post from Gonzaga's 77-75 survive-and-advance special over No. 9 Santa Clara.

David Stockton hit the game-winner, a mad dash down the lane finished off by a right-handed layup from the left side of the rim. Sam Dower Jr. provided the foundation for the victory with 23 points, including a 15-of-15 night at the free-throw line.

Here's my game story and John Blanchette's column. Here's a game story from the San Francisco Chronicle and another on Saint Mary's win over Pepperdine. GU takes on the Gaels on Monday in the semifinals.

More below.

Stockton’s shot sinks Santa Clara

David Stockton's twisting layup with 1.4 seconds left lifted Gonzaga past Santa Clara 77-75 at the WCC Tournament on Saturday. The victory sends GU (26-6) into a semifinal matchup Monday at 6 against No. 4 Saint Mary's, which defeated No. 5 Pepperdine late Saturday night.

The Bulldogs trailed most of the game before catching the Broncos in the final 5 minutes. Sam Dower Jr. made 15 of 15 free throws and scored 23 points. Przemek Karnowski added 16 points and 12 rebounds.

Santa Clara's Jared Brownridge put on a shooting clinic in the first half, using his quick-trigger release to score 18 of his 24 points. His jumper tied it at 75 before Stockton's game-winner.

My unedited game story is below.

Zags down Dons, advance to semis

Gonzaga's top-seeded women withstood a spirited effort from No. 8 San Francisco, posting a 81-68 victory that moves the Bulldogs into Monday's semifinals against No. 4 Saint Mary's, which rallied from 17 down to edge No. 5 San Diego.

Here's my game story and John Blanchette's column on Sunny Greinacher, who led GU with 22 points.

Four men's games today at Orleans Arena, beginning with No. 6 San Diego vs.. No. 3 San Francisco (upset alert) at noon. Gonzaga takes on Santa Clara at 6 — updates on twitter @SRjimm.