Wednesday , Nov , 22 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Tar Heels and Bulldogs meet in Madison Square Garden

New York, NY (Sports Network) – The semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off
concludes tonight with the Gonzaga Bulldogs and the second-ranked North
Carolina Tar Heels squaring off from Madison Square Garden. The survivor of
this game moves on to face either Butler or Tennessee in the finals on

The Bulldogs earned their trip to the Big Apple by winning the West Region
with victories over Rice (88-50) and Baylor (78-69) in Spokane last week.
Gonzaga played one final tuneup before heading to New York, as it trounced
Texas-San Antonio, 92-48, on Sunday to improve to 4-0 on the season. The 92
points scored were a season-high for the Bulldogs, who extended their home
winning streak to 42 games with the triumph.

As for UNC, its visit to New York was made possible by winning the East
Region of the tournament with wins over Sacred Heart (103-81) and
Winthrop (73-66) last week. Much like Gonzaga, the Tar Heels had one game to
get ready for the semifinals, and in that game they dismantled Gardner-Webb
103-50 on Sunday. UNC has had a tremendous amount of success in this
tournament that was formerly known as the pre-season NIT, going 16-2 all-time,
including a pair of championships in 1998 and 2002.

Tonight’s game marks the first-ever meeting between Gonzaga and UNC on the

The Bulldogs have dominated their opponents at each end of the court this
season, as they are averaging a healthy 87.0 ppg behind 50.6 percent shooting
from the field while holding their foes to just 60.5 ppg and a dismal 35.7
percent shooting. Josh Heytvelt currently leads the team in scoring with 17.5
ppg and he is also pulling down 5.8 rpg. Derek Raivio is hot on his heels with
16.5 ppg, while Sean Mallon chips in with 10.0 ppg. In the team’s last game,
Raivio netted 21 points and collected four caroms in leading Gonzaga to an easy
win over Texas-San Antonio. The Bulldogs shot a solid 51.7 percent from the
field in the contest and dominated the boards 49-26. After four games, the
Bulldogs are outrebounding their opponents by an impressive 14.0 rpg margin.

UNC figures to be one of the premier scoring teams in the nation this season
and it has gotten off to a fast start, averaging an eye-popping 93.0 ppg
behind a sizzling 54.7 percent shooting from the field. The team has also done
a tremendous job on the glass, where it is grabbing 14.7 rpg more than its
foes. Tyler Hansbrough, a pre-season All-American, currently leads the team in
both scoring (22.3 ppg) and rebounding (8.7 rpg), and he is also hitting on a
blistering 64.9 percent from the field. Brandan Wright adds 14.3 ppg and 5.4
rpg to this explosive unit, while Wayne Ellington contributes 14.0 ppg. In the
club’s prior outing, Wright tallied 21 points and grabbed nine boards in
leading UNC to an easy win over Gardner-Webb. Ellington turned in 19 points in
the win, while Hansbrough had 18 points and seven rebounds. The Tar Heels
knocked down 58.3 percent of their field goal attempts in the game, in
addition to holding an incredible 58-20 advantage on the boards.