Zags sweep three at home

Arkansas-Pine Bluff, followed by Portland State and regional rival Eastern Washington invaded The Kennel with upsets on their minds. (the photo is of a free handout to Zag fans for the Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery and their 3-point pledge drive)

Gonzaga began their weekend hosting Arkansas Pine Bluff in the Kennel on Thursday. The game began slowly, but Kyle Bankhead who was filling in for Blake Stepp while he rested an ankle hit three shots from behind the arc to light a fire under his team. The Zags continued to hit perimeter shots while capitalizing on the fast break to take a 46-27 lead into the locker room

Arkansas attempted to slow the temp of the game down by using a three quarter and half court trap, but the Bulldogs pushed the ball and continued to hit the three ball while working it into the big guys down low.

Cory Violette managed a double-double while Dan Dickau led all scores with 18 points on 6 of 8 shooting from three point land. The final score of 92-42 marked the eighth time in GU history of winning by 50 or more points.

The second game of the week for Gonzaga was also at home against Portland State University. A team who came to The Kennel after defeating Arizona State and Boise State, hungry for a victory, but the Zags weren't about to let that happen.

During the first half, GU was in a 2-3 zone and worked to get the ball down low against Portland's man to man. The Zags were a little dry on the three ball, unlike two days before, but used the fast break to get some easy points that added up quickly to give them a 41-26 lead at the half.

The Bulldogs came out a little flat in the second half and PSU managed eight unanswered points to bring them within seven. Their momentum ran out though, when Anthony Lackey, the teams leading scorer, got his fourth foul and Zach Gourde threw down a dunk for two of his game high 20 points of the night.

PSU stayed in a man offense and tried to rattle the Zags with a trap,but Gonzaga successfully worked the ball inside while hitting a few shots from the outside of the arc. Lackey returned later in the game, only to foul out a few minutes later with his teams high of 13 points.

GU was 8-11 for three pointers in the second half along with out rebounding the Pilots 44-16 on their way to a 93-56 victory, their 16th straight win at home. Freshmen Ronny Turiaf had 13 points and 9 rebounds showing his relentless approach to getting boards, but Gourde led all scoring with 20, 16 of those in the first half.

On Tuesday night, the place to be was The Kennel where the Gonzaga Bulldogs hosted the Eastern Eagles in a rivalry that is rapidly growing, especially after the game tonight.

The Bulldogs were heavily favored having defeated Eastern Washington in their last 15 meetings. But the Eagles weren't going down without a fight. Taking control from the tip, EWU played intense defense while showing patience on the other end and shooting 60% from the field in the first half. The Eagles capitalized on Zach Gourde's 2 fouls in the first three minutes and kept him in trouble for the entire contest. Cory Violette was the Zags rock in the first half keeping them in the game with 11 points and three rebounds. Eastern went 12 players deep and spread the points around to take a 16 point lead into the locker room at the half.

Gonzaga came out a different team in the second half and went on a 12-0 run keeping EWU scoreless for the first six minutes of play. The Zags chipped away at the Eagles lead and Dikau got the ball down low to Gourde with just over two minutes to go to take a 62-61 lead. Eastern's Keith Brown hit a big three with 1:45 remaining to lead by two. But the Dickau-Gourde duo came back to tie in the same fashion as before with 1:30 left. After a double technical called on Violette and Brown, Dickau hit two free throws to lead by two only to have the Eagles' Lewis score a layup on the other end. After a failed out of bounds play with 40 seconds to go, the two teams went to overtime tied at 66, Dickau missing a long three-pointer near the buzzer.

The last time the Zags went into overtime in the Kennel was back in 1998 against San Francisco where they prevailed victorious. They aren't the ones to mess with a streak like that. Controlling from the tip, Blake Stepp was fouled on a three and made all three free throws, and they never looked back. Dickau led all scorers with 22 and 8 of 8 from behind the charity stripe. Cory Violette added 16 points and 12 rebounds, and even though he played little, and with four fouls, Gourde came through down the stretch with 15 points and five rebounds. EWU shot themselves in the foot with 2-15 shooting in the second half and overtime.

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