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GONZAGA UNIVERSITY NEWS RELEASE
Dale Goodwin, Director
Peter Tormey, Associate Director
|TRACKING THE ZAGS VI: San Diego Heat Blisters Zags|
March 11, 2008
By Dale Goodwin
(SAN DIEGO) - Gonzaga basketball fans enjoyed the 80-degree day, the blue skies and the multitude of activities here, but the men's and women's basketball teams both found the Jenny Craig Pavilion and its University of San Diego Toreros too much to handle. On Monday night, the Gonzaga men dropped the championship game of the West Coast Conference Tournament, 69-62. The day before, the women Zags watched the tournament championship slip away, losing the title game also to the San Diego Toreros.
The Toreros beat the Bulldogs in front of 5,100 fans Monday night. Perhaps 1,500 of those were GU fans, including more than 200 Kennel Clubbers who were here enjoying their spring break from Gonzaga.
Now both GU teams return to Spokane to await the NCAA selection shows, the men's on Sunday and the women's next Monday. Neither is assured a spot in the postseason tournament, but coaches for both teams will have their teams prepared.
The last time Gonzaga men did not win the WCC tournament, 2003, was the last time it was played at San Diego. The winner that year? Also the Toreros.
Gonzaga Coach Mark Few, while disappointed in the outcome of last night's game, was happy for his former assistant coaches Bill Grier and Kyle Bankhead. Grier is taking the Toreros to the NCAA Tournament in his first year as a head coach. Bankhead had played on a few Tournament teams for the Zags.
"Billy is like a brother to me. I'm happy for him, and for Kyle and the other coaches. That team showed a lot of character, being down to Saint Mary's the night before, and winning in double overtime, then beating us to most of the loose balls tonight. They played very hard for 40 minutes, in front of their home crowd, with a chance to go to the NCAA Tournament," Few said.
Grier had special words for Zag co-captain and WCC Player of the Year Jeremy Pargo after the game. "Coach Grier told me to keep playing hard and to stay together as a team," Pargo said. "We have to look ahead and see what's down the road. We're a fighting team, and we'll keep fighting."
Pargo had 22 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists on the night, and was named to the all-tournament team. Gonzaga outshot San Diego, but the Toreros dominated the boards, outrebounding GU 38-25.
Many Gonzaga fans will miss San Diego as a tournament city next year. The sunshine and warm climate presented quite a contrast to Spokane's March climate. Sea World, the San Diego Zoo, La Jolla Cove and golf courses everywhere made this a wonderful winter tournament stop.
Next year the tournament moves to its first neutral site in 23 years, the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.