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Gonzaga rolls to 28th straight home victory

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) -- With its starting point guard out with an
injury, a tough loss to cross-state rival Washington in the
immediate past, and the rugged defense of Washington State slowing
down their high-scoring offense, the stage was set for an upset of
Gonzaga (No. 11 ESPN/USA Today, No. 9 AP).

Instead, the Bulldogs (5-2) got 25 points from Adam Morrison and
23 from J.P. Batista, and played some rugged defense of their own
in beating the Cougars 67-53 on Thursday night.

"That was a great win for us," coach Mark Few said, noting his
team held Washington State to 37 percent shooting while hitting 54
percent itself.

Point guard Derek Raivio sat out the game after injuring his
back against Washington. He may not be ready for Saturday's game
against Oklahoma State, Few said.

But freshman guard Jeremy Pargo had four assists and five
rebounds in 29 minutes.

"As long as I keep it simple and get it to the guys who can
score, I feel good," Pargo said.

Morrison, who leads the nation with an average of 29 points per
game, was 8-of-16 from the field. He scored 43 points against
Washington, the second time he reached that figure this season.

"I thought we were respectable against Morrison," Washington
State coach Dick Bennett said.

But Batista was dominant inside, going 9-of-11 with nine
rebounds and four assists.

"I never played against anyone so strong," Washington State
forward Chris Henry said of Batista.

Gonzaga also got 12 points from forward Sean Mallon, and seven
from guard Pierre Marie Altidor-Cespedes. Only the four players
scored for the Zags in the game.

Few was not distressed at having so few players score, noting
WSU's team is built around defensive stops.

"The bottom line is getting it done," he said.

Washington State (4-2) lost for the seventh straight time to
Gonzaga. Robbie Cowgill led the Cougars with 14 points, while Josh
Akognon had 13. Leading scorer Derrick Low was held to three points
and second leading scorer Ivory Nelson did not score.

"We have not shown the improvement I expected," Bennett said.

However, the Bulldogs were held 18 points below their season
average and committed 18 turnovers.

The Zags have won 28 straight home games, the second longest
streak in the nation. They have won 40 of their past 41
non-conference home games, and have yet to lose in the 2-year-old
McCarthey Athletic Center in 16 games.

The Cougars fell to 5-107 all-time against teams ranked in the
Top Ten.

Gonzaga led the entire game, although Washington State stayed
about 10 points down for much of the contest.

The Cougars made a rally late in the second half, after Morrison
completed a three-point play for a 55-43 lead. A basket by Cowgill
and a 3 by Akognon brought Washington State within 55-48 with 6:56
left. However, the Cougars didn't score for nearly 4 minutes.

Meanwhile, Mallon made a basket and free throw and Morrison
buried a 3-pointer and two free throws for a 63-48 lead.

Gonzaga built a 16-7 lead midway through the first by holding
WSU scoreless for nearly 6 minutes.

Randy Green's layup cut Gonzaga's lead to 22-19 with 7:20 left.
But Gonzaga held Washington State to two field goals over the final
7 minutes of the first half, outscoring them 14-5 for a 36-24 lead.

The Cougars shot just 35 percent in the half, compared to 57
percent for Gonzaga, and were outrebounded 35-23 in the game.