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After going scoreless in the first 4 minutes of the game, Portland came back to take a three point halftime lead…that is their 33 points to Adam Morrison's 30. Of course, as a team, they trailed the Zags by 8 at intermission. Morrison's early indifividual dominance explains the Kennel Club's cheer, "Adam's Winning….Adam's Winning…"
But in the end, it was the Bulldog team that won. The second half of play was a team effort. Errol Knight, Pmac, and Larry Gurganious harassed Pooh Jeter, the leading 3-point percentage shooter in the WCC, into 0-for-6 shooting treys. After severely limited playing time in the first half, the foul plagued frontline, led by JP Batista, got a chance to show their dominance of the Pilots. Batista came close to recording a double-double in the final 20 minutes alone. For the game, he scored 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Sean Mallon also hit double figures, scoring 10 points and collecting 5 boards, 4 of them offensive. Behind in the battle of the boards at the half, the Zags ended the game with a 9 rebound advantage. In addition to good defense, Pmac and Knight made some nice passes. Pmac's 7 assists led both teams, and Knight made four nifty feeds that led to lay-ins.
And there was still Morrison, who contributed 12 second half points to end the game with 42, his fourth forty-plus outing. This outing propelled him past Casey Calvary into 9th place on Gonzaga's all-time scoring list.
Portland came out swinging in the second half, and soon cut GU's lead to 2 points. They stayed within striking distance until near the end, but with 3:20 remaining, Pmac sent a three pointer in from the corner that seemed to take the last breath away from the Pilots. Jeter, in spite of a mediocre shooting night, still paced his team with 22 points, and Marcus Lewis was steady inside, scoring 16 points on 6 for 8 shooting.
With the 81-64 win, the Zags extend their home winning streak to 33, currently tied for the best in the nation.
Gonzaga University senior Ashley Anderson collected her fifth double-double in seven West Coast Conference games this season as the Bulldogs (10-12, 5-2 WCC) ended the first half of the conference season with a 67-60 win over the University of Portland (4-16, 1-6 WCC). Anderson finished with a career-high 24 points and 11 rebounds as the Bulldogs held off a late Portland rally despite shooting a mere 55 percent from the free throw line.
GU head coach Kelly Graves was pleased with were the Bulldogs stand following the first half of league play. "I'm really glad we are 5-2 in league. We have been playing really well at home this season and with the league tournament in Spokane, we might have a shot at post-season."
Anderson finished hitting 7-of-11 from the floor and 10-of-12 from the free throw line for her 24 points. Jami Bjorklund added 12 points and Stephanie Hawk 11 for the Bulldogs.
Now the ladies must take this momentum on the road to face Santa Clara and St. Mary's next weekend. Meanwhile, the men continue to enjoy the friendly confines of the Kennel by hosting the same two conference foes next weekend.