Revisiting the U.C.L.A. Sweet 16 NiGhTmArE

Ok, I know not many people want to remember this game, especially Zag fans. But because we are so close to Halloween and people are still talking about this devastating nightmarish loss, I figured it was a good time to rehash what happened to what I feel was the single best team in Gonzaga’s history. Coach Few is on record as saying this team was the one that had the best chance of reaching that elusive first final four. It looked so promising, but then our hopes all came crashing down. What went wrong?

For those of you that do not remember this game {lucky for you} a quick recap is in order.

In 2006 Gonzaga faced U.C.L.A. in the Sweet Sixteen. At the time the Zags were a # 3 seed in the Big Dance, sporting a 29-3 record, and ranked #5 in the nation.

The Zags were led by it’s All American, Adam Morrison, in what would be the final game of his collegiate career. The Zags looked superior, went up by as many as 17 points, and led the whole way. However, late in the game U.C.L.A. made a remarkable comeback, and then things went terribly wrong.

With 19 seconds to go, Gonzaga led by a single point but had possession. JP Batista had the ball stolen after the inbounds pass and UCLA made an easy lay-up to go up by one. With approx. 9 seconds left, plenty of time left to still win the game, Derek Raivio sped up court with the ball and turned it over. There was a mad scramble for the ball, and that was basically the end. The TV game announcer, Gus Johnson, was screaming, and Adam Morrison lay crying on the floor.

Some say Raivio was tripped. Some say he was first tripped, and then fouled again. Others say JP Batista was fouled and that should have been called. Still other people say Raivio was fouled again as he tried to regain possession fighting for the ball while on the floor.

JP might have been fouled, and what of the mystery foul on him a minute earlier that sent a Bruin player to the line that gave them 2 extra points? Was Ravio fouled? How many times? Can this loss be attributed to any one Gonzaga player? How about our coaches? They did after all, allow a 17-point lead to be squandered, and that allowed the devastating end to even have a chance to take place. And what of the refs? There were several questionable calls that went against the Zags in the last couple of minutes of this game.

Whatever you feel or decide, the NiGhTmAre scenario that played out, and the bizarre finish is one that will haunt Zag fans forever.

And now, here is a short video of that heart-breaking end:

After hopefully watching the video and the end very closely, I am curious…what do you readers say happened? Could we have done anything different that would have changed the outcome?

This post does not reflect the views of the blog authors or SB Nation.

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