Shooting for the title in the 2012 Old Spice Classic, the 17th-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs go up against the Davidson Wildcats in Orlando on Sunday evening.
Gonzaga, which won this event in 2008 with an 83-74 victory over Tennessee in the championship game, is back in that position once more thanks to victories over Clemson (57-49) and Oklahoma (72-47). The squad remains perfect at 5-0 thanks to additional wins over Southern Utah, West Virginia and South Dakota, all by at least 34 points.
Meanwhile, the Wildcats are lucky this event came along because it allowed them to put an end to a two-game slide which saw Davidson go down against New Mexico and Milwaukee, both in enemy territory. The Wildcats ended up here in the title game after defeating Vanderbilt (75-62) on Thanksgiving and then holding on to post a 63-60 victory versus West Virginia.
The series between these two teams is tied at 1-1, with the most recent encounter coming in 2009 when the Bulldogs logged a 103-91 win in the Battle in Seattle at KeyArena. On a more relevant note, both teams have faced West Virginia already through the first two weeks of the campaign and by far the Bulldogs were the most dominating in their meetings as they produced an 84-50 victory over the Mountaineers back on Nov. 12.
In a game that experienced three ties and three lead changes, the Wildcats went from trailing by eight points late in the first half to taking an 11- point lead following the break before holding on to the three-point win against WVU two days ago. Chris Czerapowicz led four players in double figures with his 15 points, adding nine rebounds in addition to converting 3-of-7 shots behind the three-point line. De'Mon Brooks kicked in another 12 points and five steals, followed by Jake Cohen and Clint Mann with 11 points apiece for a unit that overcame 20 turnovers. Scoring an even 76.0 ppg, the Wildcats are paced by Brooks with his 18.2 ppg, his point production being aided heavily by 30-of-34 shooting at the free-throw line. The team as a whole is making good on 77.1 percent at the charity stripe. JP Kuhlman checks in with 13.3 ppg and while he missed the last game against the Mountaineers, he is being listed as back in the starting lineup for Sunday.
The Bulldogs absolutely dismantled Oklahoma two days ago, holding the Sooners to a mere seven field goals in the first half and 16-of-50 shooting from the floor for the entire game. Gonzaga overwhelmed the opposition on the glass as well, easily winning the rebounding battle by a margin of 51-24, while limiting the Sooners to just five boards at the offensive end of the floor. Elias Harris emerged as the lone double-digit scorer for a well-balanced Gonzaga squad, coming away with a game-high 18 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the floor. If there was one flaw in Gonzaga's attack it came out on the perimeter where the group knocked down just 6-of-22 shots. Harris, an even 50 percent shooter from the floor through five games, leads an offensive attack manned by six who are scoring in double figures, as he drops in 14.0 ppg. Przemek Karnowski checks in with 11.2 ppg, Kelly Olynyk 10.5 ppg, Gary Bell 10.2 ppg and both Kevin Pangos and Sam Dower with 10.0 ppg. The unit is shooting a very healthy 51.8 percent from the field, but a not-so-perfect 56.5 percent at the free-throw line.