SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) -- Portland was the last West Coast
Conference team to beat Gonzaga at home.
And on Saturday night, the Pilots had the Bulldogs scrambling
But J.P. Batista posted career highs with 25 points and 12
rebounds, and Gonzaga (No. 23 ESPN/USA Today; No. 17 AP) survived a second-half rally by pesky
Portland to post a 91-79 victory.
Gonzaga (15-4, 5-2 West Coast Conference) made 34 of 39 free
throws and outrebounded the Pilots 42-22.
"It was a pretty much even game the whole time," Batista said.
Except the Pilots had no answer for the 6-foot-9, 269-pound
Brazilian, who made 8-of-11 field goals and all eight of his free
"That dude is huge," Portland's Pooh Jeter said of Batista.
"He's a rock."
Jeter scored 22 points, making 6-of-11 3-pointers, to lead the
Pilots (13-9, 2-5). Portland beat Gonzaga 72-68 on Feb. 19, 2003.
Portland trailed by as many as 14 in the first half before
taking the lead several times in the second half. In all, the game
was tied 11 times and the lead changed six times.
"Clearly the difference in the game was their effort on the
glass," Portland coach Michael Holton said. "When you are
outrebounded by 20 in a game, it's tough to win it."
Holton said he was pleased with the way his team came back in
the second half and stayed alive until the closing minutes.
Gonzaga is 32-0 at home when ranked. They have won 20 home games
in a row.
Trailing by six at halftime, Portland scored the first seven
points of the second half, with Wilson's two free throws giving the
Pilots a 48-47 lead.
After Batista scored, Portland scored four more points for a
The teams traded the lead, mostly on free throws, repeatedly for
the next 11 minutes.
Batista hit a pair of free throws and Morrison made a layup as
Gonzaga built a 76-70 lead with 5:27 left.
Sullivan hit a 3-pointer, but Batista replied with a layup for a
78-73 Gonzaga lead.
Jeter hit a pair of 3-pointers to cut Gonzaga's lead to 82-79.
But Raivio sank two free throws, Portland turned over the ball
and Morrison made them pay with a 3-pointer for an 87-79 Gonzaga
lead with 1:50 left.
"We dug out a couple of key stops in a row tonight," said
Gonzaga coach Mark Few, who has been critical of his defense after
"We're a better team now than we were in November," Few said.
"We need to continue to rely on our defense."
In the first half, Batista scored 11 points as Gonzaga jumped to
a 22-14 lead. After Sullivan's 3-pointer for Portland, Gonzaga
scored nine straight for a 31-17 lead. Jeremiah Dominquez's
3-pointer at the buzzer narrowed Gonzaga's lead to 47-41 at
Portland shot 45 percent in the game. Gonzaga, after shooting 60
percent in the first half, struggled with 37 percent shooting in