Gonzaga Gives Gaels Dose of Defense

In a bit of turnabout-fair-play, Gonzaga gave the St. Mary's Gaels a big dose of their own medicine: tenacious defense. Add a productive offensive night, and it equals a Blowout.

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Most teams can't do it. Most teams won't do it. That is, most teams won't rebound from a devasting loss to dominate its next opponent, but Gonzaga did. Following a dismal loss to Loyola-Marymount, the Bulldogs returned to their true form and put a 73-49 hurt on St. Mary's College.

Ronny Turiaf started the second game of his career and Kyle Bankhead remained the starter in Tony Skinner's place. However, Tony would see action after not participating for more than a week due to an ankle sprain. Possibly still bothered by the injury, Tony scored only two points but made a pretty assist and stole two passes.

The coaches challenged Cory Violette to be more aggressive. He must have listened. Cory scored the Zags' first five points and would continue to dominate the interior for the remainder of the game, scoring 16 points and collecting 5 boards.

The Zags jumped to a 6-0 lead, but the Gaels responded by scoring two treys to tie the game. Gonzaga pulled away with an 11-0 run and was never seriously threatened the remainder of the contest. Blake Stepp, the reigning Player of the Month, played exactly like his title, scorching the Gaels for 18 first-half points. Gonzaga took an impressive 47-29 lead into the locker room at intermission.

The only down-side of the opening half was when Richard Fox collided into a Gael, injuring his left ring finger. X-rays taken of the finger show that it is fractured and it will require three and a half weeks or so to heal. Richard will miss the remainder of the regular season, but should be able to return for any post-season play.

The Zags began the second half with two thunderous dunks, compliments of Ronny and Cory, and had the Kennel rocking. Gonzaga scored the first 15 points and increased their lead to 62-29. The Bulldog's relentless defense kept the Gaels from finding the basket for nearly nine minutes into the half.

Tyler Amaya, Brian Michaelson, Colin Floyd, and Dustin Villepigue got into the mix and finished the night. Blake Stepp scored 28 points and dished 6 assists and Ronny Turiaf tallied 11 points and 5 rebounds.

The Bulldogs out rebounded St. Mary's 39-27, had a 10-4 advantage in steals, and an 18-11 assist edge. All-in-all it was a quick recovery after the letdown against LMU.

Gonzaga hosts the University of San Francisco Dons on Saturday. It could be Mark Few's 100th win in just four seasons.

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