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Archive for Saturday, January 24, 2004

Bulldogs win eighth straight

January 24, 2004

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— Ronny Turiaf scored 21 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lift No. 15 Gonzaga to its eighth straight victory, 80-65, Friday night over Portland.

Blake Stepp added 19 points and nine assists for the Bulldogs (15-2, 5-0 West Coast Conference), who put together a 19-6 run at the end of the game to turn away the Pilots.

Eugene Jeter scored 18 points for Portland (8-10, 2-3), which toppled Gonzaga last season. Donald Wilson added 15 points for the Pilots, who put up 17 more shots than the Bulldogs but made just 36 percent.

Stepp hit 10 of 10 free throws for Gonzaga, which has won 15 of 16 against the Pilots. Cory Violette had 17 points and eight rebounds.

Portland was within two points late in the second half, but Gonzaga muscled the ball down low to Turiaf and Adam Morrison for scores and turned the Pilots away four straight times at the other end.

Violette fed Stepp for an 8-footer in the lane to make it 71-61 with 3:27 left, and Kyle Bankhead hit a 3 from the corner with 2:29 remaining to seal it.

Portland opened the game with three straight 3-pointers, taking a 9-5 lead. Violette, who scored 13 in the first half, had nine of the Bulldogs' next 17 points to give Gonzaga a 22-15 lead.

Stepp hit a 3 to extend the lead to 35-29 at 4:32. Wilson scored seven points -- including a three-point play off a steal -- in the next three minutes as the Pilots went on a 9-4 run to close the half down 39-38.

Turiaf took control inside in the second half. The 6-foot-10 forward born in LeRobert, Martinique, scored 11 of the Bulldogs' 16 points over an eight-minute span. But Jeter kept the Pilots in the game, hitting back-to-back 3s to pull to 61-59 with 8:47 left.

Gonzaga outrebounded the Pilots 40-35 and scored 32 points in the paint.

The Pilots surprised the Bulldogs last season, pulling off a 72-68 upset on the road to end their 14-game losing streak in the series. Portland has dropped eight in a row to Gonzaga at home.

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