Gonzaga made history last week by beating Duke for the first time in school history and beating the number one team in the country for the first time in school history. None of the things you’re about to read will match that accomplishment, but it’s still a fun look back at the last 20 years and see how they fared in other holiday tournaments. Today, we hop in the time machine and glance at the week of November 25-December 1.
November 25, 2009 – Gonzaga wins Maui Invitational
How appropriate that we start with this one. It wasn’t quite Gonzaga-Duke, but Gonzaga upended Cincinnati in overtime to win the championship. Steven Gray (18.3 ppg) and Matt Bouldin (15 ppg) were named co-MVPs. The Bulldogs came back from 10 points down to defeat Lance Stephenson and the Bearcats. Cincinnati had a chance to win it in regulation, but Rob Sacre had a huge bucket and a block on an alley-oop attempt to send the championship game to overtime for the first time in tournament history.
November 25, 2012 – Gonzaga wins Old Spice Classic
Gonzaga got 24 points and 10 rebounds from Elias Harris to beat Davidson, 81-67, and win the Old Spice Classic for the second time. Kevin Pangos chipped in 23 and Kelly Olynyk had 14 off the bench. The Bulldogs were 6-0 and moved into the top 15 the following week, en route to what ended up being their first number one ranking in school history.
November 25, 2016 – Gonzaga beats Florida 77-72 in Advocare Invitational
Gonzaga overcame their largest deficit of the season and got some clutch shooting from Silas Melson to overcome the Gators in the semi-finals in Orlando. This game marked the first true test for this version of the Zags, who went to the National Championship. It was this game that signaled to most Gonzaga fans that this team had something special to them. The leadership and shot making down the stretch was unlike teams in the past.
November 26, 2014 – Josh Perkins Gets Kicked in the Face
Somehow, a Georgia player kicked Josh Perkins in the face, broke his jaw, and didn’t get a flagrant foul. The injury changed the trajectory of the Bulldogs for five years. The team didn’t have a back-up point guard behind Kevin Pangos when March rolled around in 2015. It caused them to burn Silas Melson’s redshirt. On the other side of it, Josh Perkins was allowed a medical redshirt and is now in his senior season, where he may break Gonzaga’s all-time assist record. You never want to speculate what could have been, but in retrospect, the injury may not have been the worst thing in the world. Kyle Wiltjer scored 32 points in the win, by the way.
November 27, 2016 – Gonzaga wins Advocare Invitational
After beating Florida, Gonzaga had the task of slowing down hot-shooting Iowa State. They slowed them down for 25 minutes and held an 18-point advantage before the Cyclones caught fire. Deonte Burton scored 21 of his 29 points in the second half and hit a jumper to cut Gonzaga’s lead to one with four minutes to go. Iowa State had two chances to win it late, but both shots bounced off the rim, giving Gonzaga another championship in Orlando. They are 9-0 in Disney all-time.
November 28, 2014 – Gonzaga wins NIT Tip-Off at MSG
Gonzaga used a balanced offensive attack with five players in double figures to take down St. John’s and win the NIT Tip-Off. In the first game without Josh Perkins, Kevin Pangos played all 40 minutes, something he would do five more times that season.
November 29, 2000 – Gonzaga Falls at McKale
Gonzaga’s youth went into Arizona to take on heavily favored and number five Arizona. The Zags erased a nine-point halftime deficit and took the lead in the second half. But Casey Calvary (16 points) fouled out with five minutes to go and an Arizona team loaded with future NBA players (Luke Walton, Gilbert Arenas, Richard Jefferson) took over down the stretch to beat Gonzaga 101-87. Blake Stepp hit six threes, Dan Dickau put up 20 points, and Mark Spink had a career high 14.
November 29, 2003 – Gonzaga defeats Georgia in overtime at Spokane Arena
Ronny Turiaf scored all 11 of Gonzaga’s points in overtime and willed them to a victory over Georgia inside Spokane Arena. Despite battling foul trouble for the entire second half, Turiaf put up 22 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocks in just 29 minutes. Gonzaga shot 3-for-20 from deep in the game, but still somehow managed a victory.
November 30, 2008 – Gonzaga wins Old Spice Classic
#9 Gonzaga beat #12 Tennessee to win their first pre-season tournament since 2003. Steven Gray scored 19 and Matt Bouldin added 17. Jeremy Pargo was named tournament MVP. The Bulldogs led by as many as 18 before the Volunteers staged a furious late-game comeback and cut the lead to six. But some timely free throw shooting and a breakaway dunk from Pargo sealed the victory for Gonzaga.
November 30, 2011 – Gonzaga beats Notre Dame
Elias Harris had a double-double and David Stockton provided 15 points off the bench as the Zags defeated Notre Dame for the first time, 73-53. Stockton went 5-of-6 from the field, 3-for-3 from deep, and also had three steals, three assists, and three rebounds. It was one of the best all-around games in his career. The Zags avenged their loss from the year prior.
December 1, 2004 – Gonzaga beats UW for Sixth Straight Time
Gonzaga was unranked after losing to Illinois. Washington was ranked 14th in the country. Adam Morrison put up a then career high 26 points and Ronny Turiaf added 23 points and 13 rebounds in the 99-87 victory. To this day, the 99 points are the most they’ve ever scored against the Huskies. Gonzaga is also 2-0 when UW is ranked and the Zags are unranked.
December 1, 2017 – Gonzaga beats Creighton 91-74
This felt like the first true Snacks Outburst. After trailing by seven at halftime, Gonzaga got 21 second half points from Zach Norvell en route to a 54-30 final 20 minutes. Silas Melson kept Gonzaga in the game in the first half with 16 points on 5-of-5 shooting. Killian Tillie also added 22 in the game. We’ll see if Gonzaga can get another Snacks Outburst this weekend when Gonzaga travels to Omaha.
Come back next week when Gonzaga beats up on UW some more and plays a couple tight games against Arizona