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Raivio continues scoring touch as Gonzaga tops Texas

Dec 2, 2006 - 10:42 PM PHOENIX (Ticker) -- Not even Texas could slow down Derek Raivio's scoring binge.

Raivio scored 27 points as 21st-ranked Gonzaga pulled away from the No. 25 Longhorns for an 87-77 victory in the Hall of Fame Challenge.

Taking it on himself to pick up the scoring loss due to the early departure of Adam Morrison to the NBA, Raivio scored at least 20 points in his sixth consecutive game. The senior guard, who shot 9-of-19 from the field with seven 3-pointers, had failed to string together consecutive 20-point games prior to his current binge.

Raivio helped open up a tight contest by scoring eight points during a 17-6 spurt that closed out the first half for the Bulldogs (8-1), who led 43-33 at the break.

Raivio, who hit two 3-pointers during the spurt, added another in the opening moments of the second half. He finished 7-of-14 from the arc.

Despite averaging 22.2 points during his hot streak, Raivio is very dependant on ball movement to create open shots for him.

"When we move the ball then we can create things for (Raivio)," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. "When we hold it he has to create things for himself and he doesn't get as (many) easy looks. That's when we struggle and turn the ball over more."

The Bulldogs did experience a rough stretch when the youthful Longhorns ripped off a 12-4 run to close within 55-51 with 14:04 left.

Gonzaga, whose starting five includes two seniors and a junior, answered right back, as Jeremy Pargo and Matt Bouldin each contributed five points to a 12-0 run. After a jumper by Texas' Dexter Pittman, Raivio hit another 3-pointer to make it 70-53 with 11:24 to play.

"When they cut it to four, that is when our maturity started to show a little bit," Few said. "We didn't panic and we went back and spread it out (offensively) and started making the extra pass and understanding we don't have to hit the home run."

"I just told our team to stay aggressive," said Raivio, who hit a jumper during the spurt. "The main thing was that they were beating us on the boards and getting easy transition buckets. I said we just had to get back and shore some of that up. We also had to be patient."

The Longhorns, who lost the rebounding battle by a 38-34 margin, got no closer than the final margin thereafter.

"I thought for stretches we played some of the best basketball we have played this year," Few said. "The way we were moving the ball and I thought we finally did a nice job of keeping their athletes under control and keeping them off the glass."

Pargo finished with 18 points and six assists and Josh Heytvelt had 13 points and 12 rebounds for Gonzaga, which shot 50 percent (31-of-62) and handed out 20 assists.

Freshman Kevin Durant tied a season high with 29 points for Texas (5-2), which shot 41 percent (25-of-61).

"It is not about me, we just wanted to come out and get a win," Durant said. "It is a disappointing loss but now we have to work hard because we have some big games. They are a great team but we came back in the second half and spread the floor.

"It is good for us to play a ranked team like them early. It gave us some experience. If we played them again down the road we will put up a better fight."

Justin Mason added 17 points but second-leading scorer A.J. Abrams managed just seven, shooting 3-of-17 from the field and 1-of-11 from the arc.

"I had to work real hard, harder then I have had to do in any other game just to get open," Abrams said. "They contested shots real good but I think it was a combination of me not making shots and their defense."

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