Gonzaga, Illinois to meet in 8th Annual Comcast Battle in Seattle

Gonzaga University and the University of Illinois will meet December 4th at the Comcast Battle in Seattle at KeyArena.

The game will match the West Coast Conference champion Bulldogs, who advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season and the Fighting Illini from the Big Ten Conference who made it to the 2010 NIT quarterfinals.

The Seattle event will be the forth all time meeting between the teams, with Illinois currently leading the series 2-1.  The teams played last season with the Zags winning 85-83 in overtime on a Elias Harris layup with :12 to play.  Illinois trailed by as many as 21 in the first half of that game and led by eight in the second but needed a 3-pointer by Dominique Keller in the closing seconds of regulation after a miss by Demetri McCamey to tie it 79-79.

Illinois’ appearance in the Emerald City will mark the first time a team from the Big Ten has played in the annual Seattle contest.

Led by head coach Bruce Weber, the Illini welcome back its top five scorers including first team All Big Ten performer Demetri McCamey.

The 6’3” point guard led the team with 15.1 points per game as a junior and led the Big Ten and ranked second in the nation in assists with school-record average of 7.1 apg.  McCamey was named to the USBWA All-District V Team, First-Team NABC All-District 7 and Big Ten All-Tournament Team.

The team from Champaign also features reigning conference Freshmen of the Year D.J. Richardson.  The Illinois native started 35 games, the most starts by a freshman in Illini history, and averaged 10.5 points and 2.7 rebounds.  Known for his outside shooting, the guard’s 69 three-pointers are second-most ever by an Illini freshman.

But Richardson won’t be the only impact freshmen from a season ago to take the floor at KeyArena.  Gonzaga’s Elias Harris was named West Coast Conference Newcomer of the Year as well as All-WCC First Team.   The 6’8” forward from Germany averaged 14.9 points and 7.1 rebounds per contest as the Zags won their 10th-straight WCC regular-season title in 2009-2010.

Also leading the way for the Zags will be senior guard Steven Gray.  A native of Western Washington, Gray has thrived playing in the Comcast Battle in Seattle, averaging 15.6 points in his three games in Seattle.  Shooting 56 percent from the floor during those games, Gray clearly enjoys playing at KeyArena.

Tickets for the Comcast Battle in Seattle will go on sale Sept. 18th at all Ticketmaster outlets. There will be a Spokane only pre-sale on Sept. 11th through Spokane-area Ticketmaster outlets.

Mark Few and company have 4-3 record in Comcast Battle in Seattle games.  Last season the 20th ranked Bulldogs scored 103 points to defeat the Davidson Wildcats.  Harris led the way with 27 points and 5 rebounds.  The Bulldog’s other victories in the history of the event have come over Missouri (2003), UMass (2004), and Oklahoma State (2005).

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