SAN DIEGO (AP) -- As soon as the buzzer sounded and Gonzaga had
avoided an upset, the Zags raced to mob Erroll Knight near
Knight got a rare chance to be the big man, hitting a 3-pointer
from the right corner with 8 seconds left to give the
Bulldogs (No. 8 ESPN/USA Today; No. 6 AP) a 64-63 victory over San Diego on Saturday.
It was a well-deserved celebration for the senior guard, who
missed the season's first eight games after having two arthroscopic
surgeries on his left knee in a span of 20 days.
"If I could pick one person in the whole world that I would
want to hit a 3-pointer at the end of the game based on everything
they have been through, it would be Erroll," coach Mark Few said.
"What a great reward. An awesome reward."
Adam Morrison agreed.
"He deserves that shot," said Morrison, the nation's leading
scorer who had an average night with 16 points. "It's a big boost
of confidence for him. This is a tough place to play."
Nir Cohen made a short jumper to give San Diego a 63-61 lead
with 28 seconds left.
Knight said he was supposed to set a screen for Derek Raivio,
who had missed an off-balance 3-pointer a few seconds earlier.
Pierre Altidor-Cespedes rebounded and passed to Raivio, who swung
around and found Knight open in the corner.
"As soon as it left my hand I knew it was in," Knight said.
"And it felt great to hit a shot like that. I'm happy for the
program and I'm happy for myself."
Knight said his left knee is at about 80 percent. He had his
first surgery on Nov. 8 to repair a piece of frayed cartilage. He
accompanied the team to the Maui Invitational and developed an
infection, possibly from going swimming in the ocean. He had a
second surgery on Nov. 28.
"It still hurts and it's something I have to deal with for the
rest of the season," said Knight, who would have been a starter if
not for the surgeries. "But I'm doing my rehab and getting
Knight had a season-high 10 points.
After Knight hit his 3-pointer, San Diego had a last chance at
jumper at the buzzer was short.
Gonzaga (15-3, 5-0 West Coast Conference) won its sixth straight
game. The Bulldogs had trouble scoring late. Knight had a putback
with 3:34 left, then the Zags didn't get another field goal until
his winning shot.
Morrison came in with an average of 28.3 points. He had his
lowest output since scoring 15 points in a season-opening win over
The Bulldogs got a big lift from J.P Batista, who scored all 16
of his points in the second half and added 10 rebounds for his 10th
career double-double. He scored 14 straight points in a 6:20 span
in the second half to keep Gonzaga in the physical game.
Morrison said he was used as a decoy late in the second half.
"Nobody's going to help off me," he said. "What we did was
rub off J.P. and he went to work. People are so involved in trying
to stop me. I'm trying to win games here and win another WCC title.
That's first and foremost, the most important thing."
Batista's run started shortly after Morrison picked up his third
foul with more than 14 minutes to play when he tangled with Corey
Belser under the basket. Gonzaga led 38-37 at the time, with
Morrison having scored five straight points.
Batista scored on a putback with 11:30 left for a 43-37 lead. He
had a three-point play and a 3-point shot during his run, which
finished with a baseline shot with 5:10 left that pulled the Zags
The Bulldogs needed every one of his points because San Diego
made five 3-pointers, including three by Nick Lewis, during his
Lewis scored 18 points for San Diego (11-6, 1-3) and DeRogatis
"We played great defense," USD coach Brad Holland said. "We
held Gonzaga to 64 points. That's unheard of."
It was Gonzaga's lowest output since a 60-57 win at Saint Louis
on Dec. 22.
"We're still in a bit of shock right now," Lewis said. "It
Gonzaga held the Toreros scoreless in the final 5 minutes of the
first half and led 31-26 at halftime. Morrison had nine points and
two airballs in the first half.
- Bob Sitov
- Randy Burkhart
- Scott Harris