Skinner (broken hand) out till February

Updated: January 1, 2004, 2:26 PM ET news services

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Gonzaga's romp over local rival Eastern Washington turned out to be expensive, with seniors Tony Skinner and Richard Fox sustaining injuries.

Skinner, a starting forward, broke his right (non-shooting) hand early in Gonzaga's 70-49 victory Wednesday. Fox, a center, went out with a knee injury.

Gonzaga coach Mark Few told he's hopeful that Skinner will be able to return in February. Skinner is expected to have his hand placed in a splint, not a cast, meaning he may have enough pain tolerance to be able to play four-to-five weeks from now.

Fox, meanwhile, continues to be bothered by a knee that buckles on him. Few said Fox likely will be able to play through the discomfort.

The injuries to Skinner and Fox will test the Bulldogs' reputed depth. Few told that Erroll Knight will start in place of Skinner and Sean Mallon and Derek Raivio will gain many more minutes in light of the injuries.

"That depth we talked about, now is the time to use it," Few told The Associated Press.

Few was pleased with the way the Zags dominated a local rival that made strong upset bids the past two seasons.

"They are tough, hard-nosed and they know how to compete," Few said. "We beat a good team in a rivalry game."

Gonzaga (9-2, No. 18 ESPN/USA Today, No. 16 AP) got 15 points each from Ronny Turiaf and freshman Adam Morrison. Turiaf blocked three shots and added six rebounds. Blake Stepp had 14 points and eight assists for the Bulldogs.

Gonzaga has won 18 in a row and 26 of the past 27 games against Eastern Washington, a Big Sky Conference school in suburban Cheney. Eastern's last win was in 1990, Gonzaga's last losing season.

Gonzaga also beat Washington State and Washington to sweep the other Division I programs in the state for the third consecutive season. The Bulldogs have not lost to an in-state rival since falling to Washington State and Washington in the 1997-98 season.

Information from senior writer Andy Katz and The Associated Press was used in this report.