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Of all the exams taken during Finals Week at Gonzaga University, perhaps none was passed with such flying colors as the late-Saturday test in Las Vegas against ACC power Georgia Tech.
The Bulldogs took the bull by the horns and came out firing, putting Tech on its heels for the better part of the 1st-half. Adam Morrison and Derek Raivio led the way with fearless shooting and savvy offensive execution, hitting treys as well as mid-rangers.
The Yellow Jackets would ride B.J. Elder's early hot shooting to tie the game and give each team brief leads in a seesaw battle. But then Tech ran out to a 30-23 lead.
That was short-lived. Gonzaga stormed back with sticky defense and solid offense to forge a halftime lead of 45-41, due in large part to a spectacular steal from Jerrett Jack and 19-foot shot by Raivio.
Did Derek Raivio outplay Jerrett Jack?
The Zags would never look back. A hobbling Ronny Turiaf (17 points, 10 rebounds) still outplayed Luke Schensher while Erroll Knight and Pierre-Marie Altidor-Cespedes (4 assists) provided some highlight reel defense, offense and hustle to keep the Zags' energy level high.
Morrison was impressive with 24 points and numerous rebounds. But most impressive was how sophomore Raivio arguably outplayed the highly regarded Jack at the point. Raivio had 21 points, two assists and zero turnovers. Jack had 15 points, 4 assists and 5 turnovers.
After stretching the lead to 16 at one point, Tech made a desperate run at GU to cut it to 5, but the Bulldogs kept their foot on the Jackets' throat and ended the game going away: 85-73.
Erroll Knight and Adam Morrison celebrate.
Now Gonzaga must guard against a letdown in their next game against regional foe Eastern Washington in the Spokane Arena at 6pm Tuesday, December 21. Mark Few's squad will then celebrate Christmas before their December 28 date with Oklahoma State in Oklahoma City.