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PORTLAND – Early in the second half of Saturday’s game between Gonzaga and Western Kentucky, the Bulldogs’ Josh Heytvelt fell to the floor of the Rose Garden, causing a pileup with teammate Matt Bouldin. Bouldin got up and began limping. Coach Mark Few began to show concern, until his junior guard begged off, saying he didn’t need a sub.
PORTLAND – It had to come up. Though not in the same NCAA tournament region, the placement of Gonzaga and the University of Washington in the same pod at the Rose Garden made the question of their basketball relationship inevitable.
PORTLAND – With all of 200 pounds stretched across 6 feet, 11 inches, Austin Daye doesn’t so much post up as unfurl – legs splayed, one arm telescoped out like Elastic Man hailing a cab. Akron’s Chris McKnight was the poor unfortunate trying to defend this Gumby in baggy shorts late in the first half of the Zips’ NCAA tournament first-rounder with Gonzaga when Daye collected a pass and started to wheel to the basket – only to get whistled for an offensive foul that was immediately eligible for the Dubious Hall of Fame.
PORTLAND – Don’t bother calling it a rematch. It’s a different season, a different cast of characters – at least on Western Kentucky’s roster – and a whole bunch more is at stake.
PORTLAND – If Mark Few heard it once since Sunday, he heard it a dozen times. “Everybody’s talking to me and our guys saying, ‘I won’t be down Thursday, but I’ll be down Saturday,’ ” Few said, shaking his head. “They just don’t get it.”
PORTLAND - Staring at a third straight first-round flop, Gonzaga responded like the talented and NCAA tournament-tested team it is.
Gonzaga defeats Akron in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament in the Portland Oregon Rose Garden Thursday March 19, 2009.
On the eve of Gonzaga's 11th consecutive NCAA tournament appearance, the Rev. Robert Spitzer, the school's president, sat down with Spokesman-Review columnist John Blanchette for an hour-long Q-and-A. What follows is the long version of the interview that appears in Thursday's paper.
The Gonzaga men's basketball team, making its 11th-straight appearance in the NCAA men's basketball tournament, drew Akron and will play in Portland on Thursday in the first round of the NCAA tournament.