Last week was another successful one for the Gonzaga Bulldogs. With their win over Creighton, they now have victories over the ACC, Big 10, SEC, Pac-12, and Big East. With two more power conference match-ups coming up this week, let’s hop in the time machine and look at some of the biggest showdowns Gonzaga teams of the past have been a part of - some good, some not so good. This is the week of December 2 – December 8 in Gonzaga History.
December 2, 2002 – Gonzaga Holds Off Washington
Blake Stepp poured in a career-high 33 points in a 95-89 overtime victory over the Huskies. Corey Violette added 17 points and 12 rebounds in a game that saw the Zags blow a five-point lead in the final minute before regrouping in overtime. Stepp was 16-for-20 from the foul line. Gonzaga as a team shot a ridiculous 49 free throws. Oddly enough, Gonzaga has faced UW and WSU a combined four times on December 2 that last 20 seasons. The Zags are 4-0 in those contests.
December 2, 2006 – Gonzaga beats Texas and Kevin Durant
Derek Raivio hit seven threes as the Bulldogs defeated the Longhorns 87-77. Some young freshman named Kevin Durant had 29 points and 8 rebounds for Texas in a losing effort. Gonzaga used a 24-4 run in the second half to put the game away. Jeremy Pargo added 18 and Josh Heytvelt chipped in 13.
December 3, 2016 – Gonzaga beats Arizona in LA
Przemek Karnowski scored 18 points and dominated Dusan Ristic all night long as Gonzaga got their second win over Arizona in eight tries. The Zags moved to 8-0 on the season. Johnathan Williams and Zach Collins held Lauri Markkanen to 4-of-14 shooting and Josh Perkins chipped in 16 points while playing all 40 minutes. This was also the beginning of the Karnowski-Jay Bilas Beard Saga.
December 4, 2004 – Gonzaga Beats UMass in Seattle
Ah, the old Battle in Seattle… The loss of which most of us are still disappointed over. In this one, Adam Morrison scored 20 points and Ronny Turiaf added a double-double of 19 and 14 to defeat Massachusetts 68-57. The Zags trailed by two with nine minutes remaining before Adam Morrison nailed a three and started a 13-2 run that gave Gonzaga the cushion they needed to pull away.
December 5, 2012 – Kevin Pangos’ Game-Winner in Pullman
Gonzaga is 2-5 under Mark Few on December 5, including back-to-back losses to Washington State. They also lost to Wake Forest at home in 2009 after Elias Harris randomly got ejected and then fell to Arizona at home in 2015 after blowing a 10-point halftime lead. Last year, they got beat up by Villanova at Madison Square Garden. But let’s focus on the one good thing that happened on this day: Kevin Pangos’ game-winner in Pullman to beat the Cougs in 2012. Pangos was 1-for-11 before that shot and it moved Gonzaga to 9-0, their best start in school history.
December 6, 2001 – Gonzaga beats Jerry Tarkanian’s Fresno State
Dan Dickau scored 20 of his 29 points in the second half and Corey Violette brought down a whopping 20 rebounds as Gonzaga upended #16 Fresno State in the battle of Bulldogs. Gonzaga hit 10 threes and dominated the glass against Fresno State’s zone. This was legendary coach Jerry Tarkanian’s final season before he finally retired.
December 6, 2003 – Gonzaga beats Maryland in DC
Blake Stepp scored 27 points and hit a BB&T tournament record seven threes as Gonzaga knocked off Maryland 82-68. It was the first time in school history Gonzaga had beaten Maryland, a team that would end up as a number four seed in the tournament later that season. Adam Morrison added 18 for the Zags and sharpshooter Kyle Bankhead hit a trio of triples.
December 7, 2002 – Gonzaga beats Wazzu 110-104 in OT
Blake Stepp scored a career-high 34 points and Ronny Turiaf added 21 off the bench, but the story of the night was Richard Fox. The big man played one of the best games of his career, going 7-for-8 from the field and 4-for-4 from the line, en route to an 18-point, 9-rebound performance in just 26 minutes. Gonzaga overcame an insane 42-point outburst from Marcus Moore to win in Pullman for the first time since 1986.
December 7, 2013 – Gerard Coleman Leads Gonzaga over NMSU
This isn’t really a significant game in Gonzaga history, but it’s notable because Gerard Coleman scored 21 points in 21 minutes. The transfer from Providence was 10-for-19 from the floor and those 21 points were the most he scored in a Gonzaga uniform. He fell out of favor midway through the season and transferred out before his senior year.
December 8 – The Brandon Paul and Klay Thompson Games
In 2010, Klay Thompson scored 21 points in the second half, including four threes, to lead WSU over Gonzaga. Gonzaga gave up 11 threes on the night. Then, in 2012, Brandon Paul came into The Kennel and put on a show for Illinois. In a battle of 9-0 teams, the Illini fought back from an 11-point first half deficit and got 35 points from Brandon Paul to beat Gonzaga 85-74. Paul finished 10-of-16 from the field and 10-for-11 from the line and nobody was able to stop him all night. It was eerily reminiscent of Draymond Green’s performance from the year prior (more on that doozy next week).
Tune in next week where we re-live the Draymond Green game and a couple wins over Big 12 schools.