PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- Adam Morrison is optimistic about March.
Morrison had 22 points for Gonzaga as the Bulldogs
clinched the West Coast Conference title for the fifth straight
season with an 84-68 victory over Portland on Thursday night.
Gonzaga (No. 16 ESPN/USA Today; No. 12 AP) has one more game -- a nonconference contest at home
Monday against Northern Colorado -- and then it's on to the WCC
tournament. And perhaps beyond.
"I think the sky is the limit for us," Morrison said. "If we
just rebound and play defense. We've got the offensive thing taken
Ronny Turiaf had 14 points and 11 rebounds for Gonzaga (22-4,
13-2), which has won nine straight. It is the ninth time since 1994
that the Bulldogs have won the regular season conference
Darren Cooper had 20 points for the Pilots (15-14, 4-10), who
have dropped four straight and eight of their last 10 games. It was
Portland's regular season finale.
Cooper played the entire game with a dislocated right shoulder.
"We really wanted to win this game and have some momentum going
into the tournament," Cooper said. "We just let this one slip
away from us."
The WCC tournament starts March 4 in Santa Clara, Calif., with
the Bulldogs having a first-round bye as the top seed.
Although the Bulldogs fell slightly behind in the opening
minutes, they easily controlled the game, shooting 50 percent from
the floor and leading by as many as 19 points in the second half.
The Pilots shot 42.9 percent.
Turiaf moved ahead of Jeff Brown on the school's career scoring
list with 1,655 points. He now has 806 rebounds for his career,
making him just the fourth Gonzaga player to reach 800 career
It was Turiaf's 24th career double-double and his 10th this
Turiaf's lay-in made it 70-51 before Morrison hit a pair of free
throws with about 5 minutes left for Gonzaga's widest margin.
Gonzaga sophomore guard Derek Raivio, whose father, Rick, played
for Portland and is in the school's Hall of Fame, scored 12 points.
"It wasn't a big game just for me. It was a big game for the
rest of the team," Raivio said. "We had the league pretty much
clinched and we didn't want to share it with anyone."
Gonzaga trailed by as many as four points in the first half.
Down 19-18 after Portland's Andreas Gahlmann hit a jumper, Erroll
Knight's 3-pointer sparked a 16-0 run that put the Bulldogs up
"The run that Gonzaga had in the first half was a big part of
the separation, and we just never recovered from that," Cooper
Morrison already had 14 of his points at the half, and Gonzaga
was ahead 38-25 before a sellout crowd at Chiles Center that
included a large turnout of Bulldog fans.
"We missed some easy ones right at the rim, which was the
difference for them in the first half," Portland coach Michael
Portland's Pooh Jeter, who has scored in double figures in 22 of
29 games this season, had 13 points.
Portland was without reserve center Dreshawn Vance, who was hurt
last Thursday in the Pilots' 58-56 loss to San Francisco.
Earlier this season, the Bulldogs beat the Pilots 91-79 at home
in Spokane, Wash.
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