No. 12 Gonzaga 117, Southern U. 72

Steven Gray, Gonzaga’s lone senior, scored 25 points to lead the

12th-ranked Bulldogs in their season opener. After the game,

however, Gray was praising the play of freshman Mathis

Monninghoff.

”To see him come out in the first game and just shoot with

total confidence was really good to see,” Gray said. ”I hope it

can carry over through the weekend and through the start of the

season.”

Monninghoff and Gray combined to go 9 of 12 from 3-point range

and Monninghoff finished with 12 points to lead Gonzaga to a 117-72

win over Southern University on Friday night.

Gray had nine assists and Gonzaga had six players score in

double figures. Sam Dower scored 15 points, Elias Harris added 12,

Robert Sacre contributed 11 and Kelly Olynyk finished with 10.

Madut Bol led Southern with 12 points, while Julius Ingram,

Patrick Coleman and Jameel Grace all scored nine. The Jaguars shot

41.1 percent from the field.

The Bulldogs led 56-30 at halftime and extended the lead to

91-50 with 7:57 remaining. Gonzaga, which had all 12 players see

action, led by as many as 48 points.

”It was a good first game,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. ”We

obviously shot the ball well and that cures the ills.”

Gonzaga started slow, holding a 22-20 lead with 9:55 remaining

in the first half. But the Bulldogs woke up and went on a 31-7 run

over the last 7:45 of the half to take a 56-30 lead.

”They came out and hit a lot of shots, playing really

confident,” Gray said. ”It was nice to see this team not crumble.

Not get worried over that.”

Gonzaga used its taller lineup to wear down the Jaguars. Gonzaga

started two 7-footers, Sacre and Olynyk, and controlled the paint

by holding a 57-16 rebounding margin. Gonzaga made 13 of 22

3-pointers and shot 54.2 percent (39 of 71) from the field.

Southern didn’t have the size to battle Gonzaga in the paint

with their tallest starter, Quinton Doggett, listed at 6-8.

”Coming into the ballgame tonight, I knew it was going to be

tough for us around the boards,” Southern coach Rob Spivery said.

”Scoring, as well as rebounding the basketball. Tonight they just

killed us on the boards.”

Gonzaga and Southern had never faced each other although the

programs are familiar with each other because Southern’s athletic

director, Greg LaFleur, is the father of Sacre, Gonzaga’s center.

LaFleur was a tight end in the NFL from 1981-86.

”It was nice of his dad to put this together,” Few said. ”He

(LaFleur) arrived here early and was able to spend some time with

him (Robert).”

Gonzaga returned four starters from last season but lost Matt

Bouldin, their leader and top scorer, to graduation. The backcourt

is the big question mark heading into the season.

The Bulldogs went 27-7 last season, 12-2 in the West Coast

Conference, and lost in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Gonzaga is coming off its 10th consecutive West Coast Conference

championship.

This was the first of three games in five days for Gonzaga.

IUPUI comes to town on Sunday, followed by No. 25 San Diego State

on Tuesday. Southern travels to Washington State on Saturday.