Frahm's shooting was a big reason both for Gonzaga's early struggles and for its resurgence. He shot a combined 12 for 38 (31.6%) in losses to Cincinnati, Temple and Oregon in December—at one point during the slump deciding to grow out the bleached tips of his dark hair in hopes of changing his luck—but over his last 10 games he had made 58.4% of his shots, including 52.8% from three-point range. "Richie's a little crazy," Few says, "but he has really grown as a competitor."
In Frahm, 6'8" junior Casey Calvary and 6'1" senior Matt San-tangelo, the Bulldogs have three starters from the team that advanced to the Elite Eight of last year's NCAAs. The trio has needed time, however, to adjust to life without 5'8" Quentin Hall, who as a senior last season shared point guard duties with Santangelo. After being slowed by mononucleosis for two months this season, Santangelo has raised his assist-to-turnover ratio to almost 3 to 1, and last month he dethroned John Stockton as Gonzaga's alltime assist leader. Santangelo isn't as effective in transition as Hall was, though, which means that he, Calvary and Frahm have had to get more shots in the half-court offense. "It took about 15 games for them to get comfortable," Few says.
Still, the Bulldogs' mediocre performances outside the conference leave doubt about whether they can again knock off higher-seeded teams in the NCAA tournament. Frahm, for one, appears concerned about his pattern of starting games slowly. "I need to go play somewhere beforehand so I can do better in the first half," he said after the game against Pepperdine. Then again, this team is on quite a hot streak. Maybe this is one instance in which he shouldn't change a thing.
Manhattan's Record Setter
Seals Has Nose For the Ball
First-year Manhattan coach Bobby Gonzalez had hoped to slowly bring along his 6'5" freshman swingman, Bruce Seals, but when the Jaspers lost three scholarship players earlier this season—two to injury, one to pro ball in Europe—Gonzalez had no choice but to make Seals his go-to guy. "At first Bruce had a yellow light to shoot, but he made so many big shots early in the season, we've given him the green light," says Gonzalez, who had been an assistant to Pete Gillen at Xavier, Providence and Virginia before becoming Manhattan's coach.
Last week, in a 105-98 quadruple-overtime loss to Canisius, Gonzalez gave Seals a "double green light," and he responded with 41 points on 14-of-39 shooting, including an NCAA-record 27 three-point attempts, of which he hit nine. During the game, in which he played all 60 minutes, Seals kept begging Gonzalez for a breather, but several Jaspers were in foul trouble and three ended up fouling out, so Seals had to stay on the floor. Without him, the game might have been over much sooner. He made the game-tying shot at the end of regulation to force overtime.
"Bruce kept saying, 'Coach, I don't want to shoot every time,' but we were down to six players, and we had to keep going to the well until the well went dry," says Gonzalez, whose team was 11-10 through Sunday. "It was an unbelievable performance."
Seals, whose father, also named Bruce, played forward for five seasons with the Utah Jazz and the Seattle SuperSonics, was averaging 15-7 points through Sunday, while making 38.9% of his treys. "I don't think I've ever taken that many shots, even in practice," he says of his exhausting effort against the Golden Griffins. "I like to shoot and consider myself a scorer, but I've never been through anything like that."