<
>

San Francisco snaps its 12-game skid against 'Zags

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Gonzaga is quickly learning it better play
hard for 40 minutes if it wants to win in the talented West Coast
Conference this season.

San Francisco beat the Bulldogs almost the same way
Saint Mary's did 12 days earlier: by exposing Gonzaga's
inconsistent perimeter defense.

Jerome Gumbs had 18 points and a career-high 13 rebounds, and
USF snapped a 12-game losing streak to Gonzaga (No. 20 ESPN/USA Today; No. 11 AP) by shocking the Zags
73-70 on Thursday night.

"We made a mistake coming out not fired up enough," Gonzaga
forward Ronny Turiaf said. "We just waited until the last 10
minutes to come out and play with better energy and higher emotion.
It was too late."

The Dons improved to 9-0 at home this season behind 10
3-pointers, but they had to hold off a furious comeback attempt in
the closing minutes. USF (11-6, 2-2 WCC) upset a Top-20 opponent
for the first time since an 82-69 victory over No. 13 Xavier on
Nov. 28, 1998, in the Puerto Rico Shootout.

"Not only as a team, but as a program this is a huge win,"
Gumbs said. "Hopefully, we can build off this."

Derek Raivio scored seven straight points in the final two
minutes for the Zags (13-4, 3-2), who pulled to 72-70 on David
Pendergraft's 3-pointer with 11.3 seconds left.

USF's Dommanic Ingerson then missed the first of two free throws
with 9.3 seconds to go, giving Gonzaga a final chance to tie it
with a 3. But Raivio missed from long range at the top of the arc
moments before the final buzzer, setting off a wild celebration at
midcourt.

"It seems like in games like this, we wait until it's too
late," Raivio said. "They already made their run. We get up for
big games, but have the tendency to play to our competition
sometimes."

Hundreds of students from the sellout crowd of 5,300 stormed the
floor at Memorial Gym after watching the home team outhustle and
outshoot Gonzaga, which has reached the NCAA tournament every year
since 1999.

Now, the standings are clogged again in the balanced WCC -- and
favored Gonzaga is vulnerable a season after running through the
league schedule with a perfect 14-0 record.

"We've still got too many guys who relate everything to
offense," Zags coach Mark Few said. "They're not giving us what
they need to give us at the other end."

John Cox added 13 points, seven rebounds and five assists in
USF's biggest win over a league opponent since the Dons defeated
the Zags 80-67 in the conference tournament final in 1998 to reach
the NCAA tournament.

USF's players appreciated the support from their fellow
students, many of whom came back a week early from winter break;
second semester classes don't start until Monday.

Raivio finished with 18 points and Turiaf had 18 points and 10
rebounds. J.P. Batista added 15 points and nine boards for the
Zags, who trailed by as many as 19 in the second half and shot 41
percent.

Turiaf hit two free throws with 1:44 left to make it 68-60 after
drawing Alan Wiggins' fifth foul. After two free throws by Tyrone
Riley on the other end, Raivio scored and Adam Morrison stole the
ensuing inbounds pass. Raivio then hit a jumper with 1:02 to go to
make it 70-64.

Gonzaga, which came out in a scrappy man-to-man defense, beat
Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine at home following an 89-81 loss at
Saint Mary's on Jan. 8 in the team's last trip to the Bay Area.
Gonzaga gave up 16 3s in that game.

The Zags used a 10-0 spurt to pull to 58-49 with 10:43 left. But
the Dons kept hitting big shots and going to the floor for loose
balls.

Cox, the WCC's leading scorer, came in averaging 27.3 points in
conference play. The 6-foot-8 Morrison defended Cox and limited him
to 4-for-17 shooting. But Ingerson made three 3-pointers to help
take the pressure off Cox.

Cox hit consecutive 3s during a 9-0 run late in the first half
that gave the Dons a 34-21 lead. He scored a career-high 31 points
Saturday as USF rallied from a 10-point deficit in the second half
to beat San Diego 78-73, the first WCC victory for new Dons coach
Jessie Evans.

Gonzaga played without starting guard Erroll Knight, who
sprained his left foot in practice Wednesday. Knight stood up for
much of the game, nervously tugging at his sweat pants. Few said
Knight would be questionable for Saturday's game at San Diego,
though Knight said he would play "for sure."

"For whatever reason, we don't play with as much energy without
him," Few said.

Pierre Marie Altidor-Cespedes started in Knight's place and
finished with no points.

Gonzaga struggled to move the ball effectively on offense early
and was held without a basket for 3½ minutes during one stretch.
USF committed five early turnovers, but took the lead with strong
3-point shooting and held a 42-27 edge at the break.