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Bulldogs finish undefeated in new arena

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) -- Ronny Turiaf basked in the roars of
another sellout crowd at the end of his last home game at Gonzaga.

With the West Coast Conference title already in the bag and with
it a bye into the semifinals of the league tournament, Monday night
was all about celebrating Turiaf and fellow senior Brian
Michaelson.

Turiaf scored 22 points on 10-of-13 shooting and grabbed eight
rebounds as the Bulldogs (No. 13 ESPN/USA Today; No. 12 AP) crushed Northern Colorado
87-60 to close the regular season.

Turiaf took the microphone to inform the crowd there was more to
come.

"We're not done yet!" said Turiaf, who on Monday was named the
WCC player of the year.

Turiaf talked about why he returned for his senior year rather
than making himself available for the NBA draft.

"I just love my teammates so much. I just love my coaching
staff so much," he said.

"We love you Ronny," the crowd chanted.

"I've got my girlfriend here, you can't love me too much,"
Turiaf said, drawing more roars.

Gonzaga coach Mark Few said he scheduled the meaningless game
with Northern Colorado for after the WCC season in order to give
his team some breathing room following a tough nonconference
schedule that included Illinois, Oklahoma State, Washington and
Georgia Tech.

"We got an extra day in November or December that we weren't
playing," Few said.

The Bears, in only their second season of Division I, didn't
pose much of a challenge for Gonzaga (23-4).

The Bulldogs led 31-9 with 7 minutes left in the first half as
the Bears (8-20) made just two of their first 15 shots.

Gonzaga led 50-19 at halftime after shooting 63 percent,
compared to 20 percent for Northern Colorado.

"We are not gluttons for punishment, but this was an experience
for our young kids," Northern Colorado coach Craig Rasmuson said.
"They'll remember this game the rest of their lives."

Gonzaga went 13-0 in the new McCarthey Athletic Center this
season, and has a 25-game home winning streak, second-longest in
the nation to Oklahoma State's 28-game streak.

Gonzaga is 37-0 at home when ranked.

Sean Mallon had 17 points and J.P. Batista added 16 for Gonzaga,
which shot 55.7 percent in the game and outrebounded the Bears
38-29.

The Bulldogs next play in the semifinals of the WCC tournament
on Sunday at Santa Clara.

Kirk Archibeque had 17 points for Northern Colorado, a Division
I independent, which shot 33 percent, including just 2-of-20 from
3-point range. Sean Taibi added 10 points.

The Bears missed their first 18 3-point attempts before Taibi
made one with 5:34 left. Taibi added a second 3-pointer on their
next possession, by which time they trailed 75-48.

Michaelson, Gonzaga's little-used but popular co-captain, drew
huge cheers from the crowd every time he touched the ball in
anticipation of a shot. He finished with four points. He thanked
leading scorer Adam Morrison for relinquishing his starting spot
for Michaelson's final home game.

"That's the kind of team this is," he said.

But Turiaf was the star of the night, scoring the first points
of each half, and dazzling the crowd with dunks before coming out
with 6:46 left.

Turiaf's 22 points gave him 1,677 for his career, surpassing
Blake Stepp (1,670) for fourth place on Gonzaga's scoring list.

"It was a great send off for him," Few said.