SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) -- Adam Morrison scored, passed,
rebounded, trash-talked and even found time to provide his coach
with some input.
At halftime, Morrison told Gonzaga coach Mark Few to run some
sets for J.P. Batista.
Morrison had 34 points, six rebounds and five assists and Gonzaga (No. 7 ESPN/USA Today, No. 6 AP) got through its toughest conference road trip unscathed,
beating Santa Clara 81-68 on Monday night.
"He said, 'We've got to get the big fella the ball," Few
said. "I don't want to lose site of just how amazing he's playing.
It's sad you almost come to expect it. We had some guys who were
struggling and kind of rattled, especially early there, and he just
Derek Raivio added 18 points and five rebounds and the Bulldogs
won their 11th straight West Coast Conference regular-season game
dating to last season. Batista bounced back from a slow start to
score five straight during one stretch midway through the second
half and finish with 11 points, 10 rebounds, three steals and a
Morrison's three-point play with 6:54 left in the first half
moved him by John Stockton on the school's all-time scoring list.
He shot 12-for-20 and made 8 of his 9 free throws and Gonzaga
(12-3, 2-0 WCC) shot 43-of-47 from the line in its two wins in
"We wanted to send a message to the league that we're still
here," Morrison said. "This is pretty much the same team we had
last year and we wanted to come out and get a couple of road
Morrison, the nation's leading scorer who came in averaging 27.6
points, moved past Stockton (1,340), Cory Violette (1,342) and Bill
Suter (1,354) for 13th place on the school's career scoring list
Travis Niesen scored Santa Clara's first five baskets of the
second half and finished with 22 points and six rebounds, but often
forced it and shot just 9-of-19. Brody Angley added 14 points and
six assists for the Broncos (8-6, 1-1), who had their three-game
winning streak stopped.
Like every other team that plays the Zags, the Broncos were left
wondering how to best defend Gonzaga.
"They've got five guys, that's why he's a tremendous player,"
Niesen said. "It really helps when you have Batista and Raivio as
well. You can't just take away Morrison."
The Broncos lost another heartbreaker to Gonzaga in the sold-out
Leavey Center, where 10 NBA scouts requested seats for the game and
band members among the 4,500 fans held a giant cardboard mustache
to make fun of Morrison's facial hair. It's becoming a common prop
for Gonzaga opposing fans in the WCC -- Saint Mary's students
sported stick-on mustaches.
Santa Clara shot 8-for-26 from 3-point range and hasn't won in
this rivalry since an 84-71 home victory on Feb. 22, 2001.
"The big difference in the game from our perspective was we
didn't make enough shots," Santa Clara coach Dick Davey said.
"Maybe the emotions of the game just took us out of a good
Gonzaga still must return to the Bay Area to play San Francisco
on Jan. 23 after the Dons handed the Zags one of their two WCC
losses last season.
The Broncos have had their share of close games with the Zags at
home, losing their last two by five total points.
Gonzaga, which moved up two spots in Monday's rankings, won last
season's meeting at Santa Clara 91-87, but the Bulldogs produced a
92-75 rout almost a month later.
In the 2004 WCC tournament at the Leavey Center, Santa Clara
lost a 63-62 in the semifinals of the conference tournament.
Santa Clara freshman center John Bryant, 6-foot-10 and 320
pounds -- and his size-18 wide feet -- helped plug up the middle and
alter Batista's game.
Batista, Gonzaga's second-leading scorer behind Morrison at 19.1
points, played only 13 minutes and took one shot in the first half.
He picked up his second foul at the 5:58 mark. Batista missed shots
on the Bulldogs' first two possessions of the second half, then had
a turnover when he got the ball inside a few minutes later before
scoring his first points with a short jumper at 17:05.
Santa Clara started the game 0-for-8 but got six offensive
rebounds early. After beginning 1-for-10, the Broncos made 10 of
their next 19 shots and stayed within 39-34 at halftime despite
shooting 35.3 percent to 55.6 by Gonzaga and making only one basket
in the final 5:54.
Center Sean Denison returned for the Broncos after missing the
last eight games with a stress fracture in his right foot.