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This Week in Gonzaga History: The Butler Way

This week is pretty bad, folks. You’ve been warned.


Gonzaga and San Francisco put together another classic on The Hilltop Saturday night. Two experienced, well-coached teams with excellent guard play led to a combined nine turnovers all night. Depending on how this season goes, that game could be seen as a memorable one when someone does this feature in 2029. Speaking of memorable games, we’ve got some more for you today. Unfortunately, this week is going to bring up some pretty bad memories. You’ve been warned. Hop in the time machine and let’s take a look at the week of January 13-19 in Gonzaga History.

January 13, 2000 – Matt Santangelo breaks the assists record

Matt Santangelo scored 26 points and dished out five assists as Gonzaga routed San Francisco, 96-73. The five assists were enough to pass John Stockton’s mark of 554 for most all-time in school history. He finished his career with 668, a number that Josh Perkins (599) should pass by the end of this season. Santangelo also holds the single-season record, set in the same 1999-2000 season with a whopping 225 assists. John Stockton and Blake Stepp are the only other Zags to reach the 200 assist plateau.

January 14, 2016 – BYU beats Gonzaga in Spokane

For whatever reason, in these BYU upsets, Gonzaga likes to jump out to double digit leads at home and still lose. In this one, they were up by 11 with 11 minutes to go and up seven with 5:30 to go. Then Kyle Collinsworth took over. Collinsworth scored 18 of his 20 points in the second half and Nick Emery hit the game winning three with a minute to go to stun the Zags. It was the only shot Emery made all game. Kyle Wiltjer missed the second free throw that would have tied the game and got blocked on a runner that would have won it. Domas Sabonis was in foul trouble all night and was held to five points. Eric McClellan and Josh Perkins combined to shoot 5-for-20. This was the second of three straight BYU wins in Spokane.

January 14, 2017 – Gonzaga beats up Saint Mary’s

Gonzaga was 16-0. Saint Mary’s was 15-1. The Gaels were looking to prove they belong and the Bulldogs were looking to make a statement. The Zags prevailed in their quest by smacking the Gaels 79-56 in Spokane. Gonzaga shot 64 percent to Saint Mary’s 39. It prompted Nigel Williams-Goss after the game to say this: “We are as good as we think.” Final Four Good.

January 15, 2015 – LA Traffic causes chaos in Pepperdine

Gonzaga got caught in a massive traffic jam and arrived to Pepperdine just 25 minutes before tip-off. Marty Wilson was kind enough to push the tip back by 30 minutes. The Stacy Davis-led Waves, who were incredibly scrappy that season, kept the game close throughout and cut the lead to a single possession multiple times in the second half, thanks in part to Gonzaga’s 14-for-33 performance at the foul line. In the end, Gonzaga held on to a 78-76 win behind a 9-for-9 night from Domantas Sabonis off the bench and 24 points from Kyle Wiltjer. Silas Melson also added 11 off the bench on 4-of-4 shooting.

January 15, 2007 – Saint Mary’s Storms the Court

Diamon Simpson scored a career-high 29 points. Freshman Omar Samhan scored a career-high 20 points. Ian O’Leary dunked the ball with a second to go and the fans rushed the court before receiving a technical. It was all a disaster. It was Gonzaga’s first conference loss in two years and the second time in three seasons the Zags have lost in Moraga. Enjoy (or don’t enjoy) this interview with Gary Radnich and Randy Bennett the day after it happened.

January 17, 2003 and 2004 – Gonzaga beats Saint Mary’s

In 2003, Gonzaga got 16 points and 15 rebounds from Cory Violette to hold on to a 56-53 win in Moraga. One year later, Violette put up 20 points and got some help from Ronny Turiaf (19 points, 8 rebounds) and Blake Stepp (16 points, 7 rebounds, 9 assists) to outlast the Gaels, 75-61. Saint Mary’s finally beat the Zags the following year and truly ignited the rivalry.

January 18, 2018 – The Jock Landale Game

Saint Mary’s was picked to win the WCC in 2018. They came to Spokane 6-0 in conference, tied with the Zags atop the standings and looking to show why they were the perceived “top dog.” Jock Landale scored 26 points on 12-for-15 shooting, Emmett Naar dished out eight assists, and Calvin Hermanson had a huge second half to lead the Gaels to a 74-71 victory in Spokane. Obviously the rematch didn’t go very well for the Moraga boys, and they ended their season prematurely in Vegas, and ended up in the NIT, but hey, they’ll always have this win to look back on fondly.

January 19, 2013 – The Butler Way

This is still one of my favorite Gonzaga games of all time because of the two programs involved, how much I respect Brad Stevens, how much national play it got, and how intense it was. The ending was just… WELP