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Turiaf bounces back with 16 points

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) -- Ronny Turiaf was back in top form on his
22nd birthday, and J.P. Batista took full advantage of his first
start for Gonzaga.

Batista, a junior college transfer, scored 17 points, and Turiaf
had 16 to help the Bulldogs (No. 20 ESPN/USA Today; No. 16 AP) beat Loyola Marymount 76-65 on
Thursday night.

Gonzaga (12-3, 2-1 West Coast) rebounded from a loss Saturday
night at Saint Mary's, the Bulldogs' first conference loss in two
years.

Turiaf also rebounded after averaging six points in his last
three games.

"He's back," coach Mark Few said. "That was the old Ronny. He
was bouncing around, he played with confidence and played with
fire. He was really solid tonight."

Turiaf got a birthday cake and the sellout crowd of 6,000
serenaded him with "Happy Birthday" both during and after the
game.

But Loyola Marymount (9-7, 1-2) almost spoiled the party.

After trailing 40-27 at halftime, the Lions roared back to cut
it to 58-57 with about 6 minutes left. But the Bulldogs managed to
clamp down on defense, outscoring the Lions 18-8 the rest of the
way.

Loyola shot just 39 percent in the game, and was 3-of-19 from
3-point range as Batista and Turiaf clogged up the inside.

"With Batista and Turiaf in the paint, that forces you to take
perimeter shots," Loyola coach Steve Aggers said.

He noted that Saint Mary's, which snapped Gonzaga's conference
winning streak at 17 games, hit 16 3-pointers to beat the Bulldogs.

Aggers was proud that his team played Gonzaga tough in a place
where they have lost 14 straight since 1991.

The Lions sent Gonzaga to the foul line 39 times, and they made
27 of those. Loyola Marymount was 6-of-11 from the line.

"We were able to pound it inside and get to the line," Few
said.

Few started Batista in place of sophomore Sean Mallon as a
reward for Batista's strong recent play. As a bonus, Mallon also
played well off the bench, scoring 13 points and adding five
rebounds.

"He's got a lot of character," Few said of Mallon, who scored
11 of his points in the second half. Batista had 15 of his 17 in
the first.

Point guard Derek Raivio led Gonzaga with eight rebounds, and
added eight assists and 13 points.
Matthew Knight led Loyola with 20 points, while John Haywood
added 13.

Trailing by 13 points at halftime, Loyola Marymount opened the
second half with a 17-7 run, six by Knight, to cut Gonzaga's lead
to 47-44 with 12 minutes left. Gonzaga had only one field goal in
the first 6 minutes of the second half.

Turiaf's slam ended a 6-0 Gonzaga reply for a 53-44 lead.

But Loyola fought back, and Haywood's shot over Adam Morrison
cut Gonzaga's lead to 58-57 with just under 6 minutes left.

Raivio's 3-pointer gave Gonzaga a 64-59 lead with 4:31 left.
Loyola cut that lead to 66-63, but Gonzaga used five free throws
and a put-back by Turiaf in the closing 2 minutes to build a 73-63
lead and ice the game.

In the first half, Loyola Marymount trailed just 21-17 thanks to
10 points by Knight. Batista scored seven points during a 13-2
Gonzaga run late in the first half to build a 36-21 lead.
The Lions missed their first 11 3-point attempts before Wes
Wardrop hit one in the final minutes to help cut Gonzaga's halftime
lead to 40-27.

Gonzaga shot 53 percent in the game, making 23 of 43 shots.

Loyola Marymount has lost 19 of its past 20 games against
Gonzaga, winning at home in 2003.

Gonzaga has not lost consecutive games since losing to Indiana
and Kentucky early in the 2002-03 season.

Gonzaga is 30-0 at home when ranked, and has won 18 home games
in a row.