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College basketball

Gonzaga averts a scare

By wire services
Published February 28, 2006

SPOKANE, Wash. - Adam Morrison scored 34, but his assist on Pierre Marie Altidor-Cespedes' 3-pointer with a second left lifted No.5 Gonzaga to a 75-72 victory over San Francisco on Monday. The win completed the Bulldogs' second undefeated run through the West Coast Conference in three seasons.

Morrison scored 17 during the final 11:43 as Gonzaga (25-3, 14-0) won its 16th consecutive game, tying No. 7 George Washington for the longest streak in the nation. The Bulldogs have won 23 consecutive conference games and are 40-2 in the past three seasons.

Gonzaga trailed 62-54, but Morrison scored 10 over the next 31/2 minutes, with his 3-pointer giving it a 66-64 lead with 5:14 left.

The Dons (11-16, 7-7) came right back, with Armondo Surratt converting a three-point play and Jerome Gumbs hitting a 3-pointer from the corner for a 70-68 lead with 4:12 left. Morrison tied it with 3:06 left.

Neither team scored for the next 21/2 minutes, and Gonzaga got the ball with 34 seconds left after Erroll Knight blocked Surratt's layup.

After a timeout, J.P. Batista hit a spinning layup with 25 seconds left for a 72-70 Gonzaga lead. Gumbs made a layup to tie it, and Gonzaga called timeout with 9.7 seconds left.

Altidor-Cespedes, who finished with nine points, took a pass from Morrison and buried a 3-pointer from the right side. Jason Wallace-Carter then missed a long jumper at the buzzer.

NO. 19 OKLAHOMA 67, OKLAHOMA ST. 66: Terrell Everett made two free throws with .6 seconds left for the host Sooners. Byron Eaton's 3-pointer from about 26 feet put the Cowboys up 64-62 with 34 seconds left. The Sooners (20-6, 11-4 Big 12) got a quick basket from Taj Gray before JamesOn Curry missed a one-and-one for the Cowboys with 14 seconds left.

Kevin Bookout put Oklahoma up with a dunk with 8.8 seconds left and was fouled but missed the free throw. Jamaal Brown got the rebound, drove to the basket and was fouled. His two free throws with 4.7 seconds left gave the Cowboys (15-14, 5-10) the lead. But Everett dribbled up the left sideline and collided with Eaton, who was called for a foul.

Big East: West Virginia holds off Pitt, clinches bye

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Kevin Pittsnogle, held scoreless by Pittsburgh two weeks ago, had 26 to lead No.16 West Virginia to a 67-62 victory over the No.8 Panthers. The Mountaineers (20-8, 11-4), who clinched a first-round bye in the Big East tournament, did not trail in earning a second straight 20-win season for the first time since 1997-98.

No.2 Connecticut and No.4 Villanova also have clinched byes. Pittsburgh (21-5, 10-5) needs a win at home Friday against Seton Hall and losses by Marquette and No.20 Georgetown to earn the final bye.

The Mountaineers, who took over third in the conference, lost 57-53 at Pittsburgh on Feb.9, a game in which Pittsnogle went 0-for-12 from the field and fouled out with 6:42 left. Monday, he made five of West Virginia's 12 3-pointers.

The Mountaineers made seven consecutive baskets on 3-pointers to build a 41-30 lead 2:11 into the second half. Ronald Ramon's 3-pointer ended a three-minute scoring drought for the Panthers and brought them within 61-58 with 1:40 left. But West Virginia's Johannes Herber broke through a screen, took an inbounds pass and made an uncontested layup with 25 seconds left.

VILLANOVA: Guard Allan Ray has a mild sprain in his left knee and is questionable for Wednesday's game against St. John's. The No.4 Wildcats feared worse after Allan heard a pop in his knee late in Sunday's loss to Connecticut. An MRI exam revealed the sprain. Ray, the team's second-leading scorer at 18.9 points per game, complained of soreness Monday and did not practice. Nation: Washington State coach expected to retire

PULLMAN, Wash. - Washington State scheduled a news conference for today at which coach Dick Bennett is expected to announce his retirement. He will be succeeded by his son. Bennett, 62, who was hired in March 2003, is 36-46, including 11-14 and 4-12 in the Pac-10 this season. Tony Bennett, an associate coach and primary recruiter who played for his father at Wisconsin-Green Bay, was named his successor in the summer. But his father did not give a timetable.


LSU: Center Tyrus Thomas, the league's top shot blocker and second-best rebounder, is doubtful for tonight's game against South Carolina. The freshman sprained his right ankle when he tried for a long pass Saturday against Kentucky. Women: Rutgers clinches title by beating UConn

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Cappie Pondexter scored 26 and No.6 Rutgers won its second straight Big East regular-season title with a 48-42 win over No.7 Connecticut.

The Scarlet Knights (24-3, 16-0) finished undefeated in the Big East for the first time in the 11 seasons in the conference and are the first team since Miami in 1992-93 to sweep the season series from the Huskies (26-4, 14-2).

Rutgers trailed by as many as 18 points in the first half but cut it to five by halftime. Pondexter's 3-pointer as the shot clock expired put it ahead 42-41 with 6:35 left. Pondexter made 1 of 2 free throws with 1:03 left to give Rutgers a 43-42 lead, and Ann Strother missed a jumper at the other end. Kia Vaughn followed with two free throws for Rutgers with 44 seconds left. Pondexter added another free throw with 16 seconds left.

[Last modified February 28, 2006, 00:36:03]

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