Gonzaga exorcised all their BYU Senior Night demons on Saturday by blasting the Cougars out of the gym and providing some unforgettable moments in the process. Today, we look back at the late-season history of Gonzaga and BYU. We also find a couple huge game-winning shots, and a couple massive wins over the Gaels. Hop in the time machine and take a look at the week of February 24-March 2, the final week before conference tournament memories.
February 24, 2001 – Dan Dickau Clinches WCC Title
Dan Dickau nailed a three from the top of the key with 2.8 seconds remaining to give the Bulldogs a 72-69 victory at San Diego and clinch the regular season WCC championship. They outlasted Pepperdine by a game a year after Pepperdine got the best of them in the regular season. The early 2000s Pepperdine rivalry does not get as much love as it should.
February 24, 2011 – Gonzaga wins at Saint Mary’s in overtime
The Gaels held a one game lead in the standings and had a chance to win the regular season championship on their home court. Gonzaga had other plans. In a classic case of “to be the man, you gotta beat the man,” Gonzaga got a huge three pointer from Marquise Carter to tie the game late and some clutch free throw shooting in overtime to stun the Gaels and tie them atop the WCC standings. Sam Dower scored a team-high 21 points off the bench. Delly had 24, Rob Jones had 21 and Mickey McConnell added 15. What a trio that was.
February 24, 2018 – Gonzaga clinches WCC Title
Remember when Saint Mary’s was selected to win the West Coast Conference last season? Whoops. Johnathan Williams and Zach Norvell combined for 31 points and Gonzaga beat BYU in Provo to clinch their 18th WCC regular season championship in 19 years.
February 25, 2017 – 29 and 1
Gonzaga was 29-0 and looking to finish the regular season undefeated for the first time in school history. Only a handful of teams have ever been 30-0 in NCAA history. They led the game 18-2 out of the gate and looked like they would coast. Instead, BYU clawed back and went on a 15-2 run in the second half to take a lead. Erik Mika took over down the stretch, scoring 29 points and led BYU to a remarkable 79-71 upset and handing Gonzaga arguably the most painful regular season loss in school history.
February 27, 2006 – PMAC!!!!
It’s hard to say which is more remarkable: the fact that Pierre Marie Altidor-Cespedes, of all people, hit the game winning three to cap off Gonzaga’s perfect WCC season, or the fact that Adam Morrison passed him the ball. In any event, PMAC nailed the three, Gonzaga beat USF and ran the table in the West Coast Conference. Morrison dropped a casual 34 points in this one, but PMAC is the real hero.
February 27, 2016 – Gonzaga gets a huge win in Provo
After struggling to win big games all season, the 2016 Zags went into Provo with their HBO camera crew and beat the Cougars, 71-68. After all the turmoil of the up-and-down season, Gonzaga picked up a share of the regular season conference championship after all, and as we know, went on to win the tournament title in Vegas. I don’t want to say it was all because of this game, but the fact that they won in Provo and saw that they could finally close out a game did wonders for their confidence. Kyle Wiltjer scored 21 and Domas Sabonis had a double-double… obviously.
February 28, 2013 – Gonzaga’s last undefeated WCC season
It seems pretty crazy that Gonzaga hasn’t gone unscathed in the WCC since the 2013 season, but that is the case. When you hear someone say “Gonzaga rips through the conference every year,” feel free to tell them that they haven’t been undefeated in six seasons. Kelly Olynyk scored 19 points, Gary Bell hit four threes and the Bulldogs beat BYU in Provo. They went on to defeat Portland two days later to finish off the perfect 16-0 conference slate.
February 28, 2015 – BYU ends nation’s longest home winning streak
BYU led from start to finish and held Kyle Wiltjer and Kevin Pangos to a combined 5-for-23 shooting and beat the Zags 73-70 to end their 41-game home winning streak, ruin their perfect WCC record, and cost them a number one seed in the NCAA Tournament. Kyle Collinsworth scored 20 in the win. This was the beginning of the Corbin Kaufusi curse. He never lost in The Kennel in his three years at BYU.
March 1, 2008 – Gonzaga beats Saint Mary’s
In a battle of 11-1 teams, Gonzaga and Saint Mary’s faced off in a battle of two ranked WCC teams for the first time in the history of the conference. Jeremy Pargo scored all 18 of his points in the second half to lead Gonzaga to an 88-76 win and avenge their earlier loss to the Gaels. Matt Bouldin scored 21 points in a game that featured 17 lead changes before the Zags pulled away.
Next week: tournament action begins!!