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Updated: Sunday, February 1, 2004 2:27 AM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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(10) Gonzaga 79, Santa Clara 63

SANTA CLARA, California (Ticker) -- Blake Stepp turned in a solid game to help 10th-ranked Gonzaga overcome a halftime deficit and remain unbeaten in the West Coast Conference.

Stepp scored 21 points to lift Gonzaga to a 79-63 victory over Santa Clara, its ninth straight win.

"They've all been battles," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. "In a tough road environment to dig out a win against a team that wanted a piece of us, we're ecstatic."

The Bulldogs (16-2, 6-0 WCC) trailed, 38-36, at halftime but used a 13-3 run to build a 75-59 lead with 2:38 remaining.

Travis Niesen and Doron Perkins scored 11 points each for Santa Clara (12-10, 4-3), which lost for the third time in four games.

"They are a seasoned, tough-minded team that knows how to win on the road," Santa Clara coach Dick Davey said. "They are solid as a rock. They have a team capable of beating a lot of people."

Perkins and Gonzaga center Cory Violette were assessed double technicals with 7:44 to go. Violette fell on top of Niesen while attempting to block his shot and also was given a personal foul. Perkins entered the scuffle and pushed Violette.

Violette finished with 14 points and nine rebounds. Bulldogs forward Ronny Turiaf was held to eight points, seven below his average.

Gonzaga will climb in the upcoming polls since three top 10 teams were beaten Saturday. Its losses were to Stanford and St. Joseph's, the only remaining unbeaten teams.


© 2005 STATS, Inc
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