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This Week in Gonzaga History: The Hilltop Curse Strikes Again

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Notables this week: the last double-digit WCC deficit and the last non-BYU/SMC loss

Matt Sumner, Associated Press

Gonzaga was given a couple tests this past week and came out with two hard fought victories over two physical teams. BYU comes to town on Saturday for Senior Night, and we all know how that has gone in the past. Luckily, those come in next week’s edition of This Week in Gonzaga History, so maybe that is a good omen. In this week’s edition, it’s really a smorgasbord of games – some fun wins, some heartbreaking losses, and a classic Adam Morrison game-winner. Let’s dive into the time machine and look at the week of February 17-23.

February 17, 2007 – Memphis Edges Gonzaga, 78-77

Gonzaga gave the 8th-ranked Memphis Tigers all they could handle inside Spokane Arena. Jeremy Pargo capped a second half rally with a jumper to tie the game at 69 and send the game to overtime. But it was Chris Douglas Roberts who hit the game winning layup with five seconds remaining to dash Gonzaga’s upset hopes and hand the Bulldogs their 10th loss. It was the first time in the Mark Few Era that Gonzaga had lost 10 games in a season.

February 18, 2012 – Rashad Green Game Winner

The Hilltop trifecta was completed after the Zags committed 22 turnovers and gave up this game-winning runner from Rashad Green. Rex Walters strikes again!

February 19, 2005 – Adam Morrison Heroics

Sophomore Adam Morrison poured in a career-high 28 points, including the game winner with under a second remaining, to lift Gonzaga over the Dons 75-73. USF staged a furious late game comeback and held a two-point lead with under a minute to go. JP Batista sank two free throws to tie the game and Morrison hit the game winner that I, unfortunately, could not find anywhere on the Internet.

February 20, 2016 – Gonzaga loses to Saint Mary’s at Home

The 2016 team, as we have seen many times in the feature, struggled to win big games all season long (until March). This was no different. They trailed the Gaels the entire way and lost 63-58. The Bulldogs shot just 36 percent. This game, most notably, was the last time Gonzaga trailed by double digits to any WCC opponent. Yes, it’s been three years since Gonzaga has trailed by 10+ points to anyone inside the West Coast Conference. That’s pretty wild, isn’t it?

February 21, 2015 – Gonzaga’s comeback in Moraga

Things were looking bleak for third-ranked Gonzaga. They were on the verge of losing just their second game all season as Saint Mary’s grew a 16-point first half lead. The Zags fought back and cut it to one early in the second half before the Gaels extended back to 10 again. But the defense clamped down from there. Gonzaga allowed just two field goals in the final 11 minutes, outscored the Gaels 29-9 and walked away with a remarkable 70-60 victory. Kyle Wiltjer led the way with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Karnowski and Pangos each added 14.

February 21, 2004 – Gonzaga at Tulsa

Since there aren’t a ton of available highlights this week, here’s a full game from Gonzaga and Tulsa in 2004. The Zags won by 20 and it was highlighted by four triples from senior Brian Skinner.

February 22, 2014 – San Diego Upsets Gonzaga

There are two main reasons this game is important. First, it’s the last time that a WCC team not named BYU or Saint Mary’s has beaten Gonzaga. Second, it gives me an excuse to bring up Johnny Dee, who led the Toreros with 16 points in the 69-66 victory. Gonzaga started the game up 10-2, but the Toreros fought back and hit a flurry of threes at the start of the second half to take control.

February 23, 2017 – Gonzaga absolutely destroys San Diego

Johnathan Williams scored 14 points and grabbed a career-high 19 rebounds as Gonzaga beat San Diego on the road, 96-38, eerily reminiscent of how this year’s team beat Santa Clara. San Diego missed its first 10 shots of the game and Gonzaga cruised to a victory, clinching the WCC Regular Season championship. Just like this season, Gonzaga up to that point had won all 17 conference games by double digits.

Next week is the start of March, which means a lot of really awesome moments and a lot of heartbreakers are on the way. I’ll try to pick the best of the best and the worst of the worst as we ride this roller coaster together.