Gonzaga's five seniors -- Jeremy Pargo, Josh Heytvelt, Micah Downs, Ira Brown and Andrew Sorenson -- went out in style in their home finale. The Bulldogs cruised to a 90-40 win over USC Upstate on Tuesday night in front of 6,000 at the McCarthey Athletic Center.
Read on for my unedited game story that will run in Wednesday's S-R. (Sorry, let's try that again!)
Back in the locker room after Gonzaga’s 90-40 feel-good victory on Senior Night, the five Bulldogs’ seniors posed for a picture with Andrew Sorenson’s father, Don, manning the camera.
Just another memento on an evening filled with highlights. Sorenson, who went from freshman Kennel Clubber to walk-on to scholarship senior, made his first start and scored a career-high 15 points.
Jeremy Pargo, with his mom and grandmother on hand to see their first game at the
Whether you’re reading this at 6:30 in the morning or 1 in the afternoon, chances are pretty good there’s still a smile plastered on Sorenson’s face.
“Oh man, I said I would never forget this night,” Sorenson said. “My goodness. My kids are going to get sick of hearing this story.”
Sorenson, who had scored 32 points in 110 minutes the last three seasons, hit a couple of free throws near the end of the first half, then opened the second half with a 3-pointer. He made a couple more 3s, including one just seconds before exiting with 1:39 left to a standing ovation and chants of “SOR-EN-SON.”
“He was the one who electrified everything,”
Head coach Mark Few gave each senior a final curtain call in the closing minutes. Heytvelt departed first, followed by Pargo,
“It was an exciting time for each and every one of us,” said Pargo, who signed his shoes and tossed them into the crowd during a post-game ceremony that featured brief speeches by the five seniors.
“Just to get to start my last home game, especially with the other seniors, was a memorable moment,” Brown said.
Heytvelt choked up when he addressed the crowd.
“I’ve been thinking about what I was going to say all season and I thought I had it down pretty well and I wasn’t going to do that,” he said. “For everything I went through, it was just fine that it choked me up a little bit.”
On the court, the Zags (24-5) dashed in front with the five seniors in the starting lineup. It was 8-0 before the Spartans’ Bobby Davis made a jumper with 16:18 left. Gonzaga’s lead swelled to 43-16 at half as USC Upstate committed 15 turnovers. GU converted those miscues into a 26-0 edge in points off turnovers.
The five seniors also started the second half and the lead quickly grew to 32.
“The whole atmosphere, the building, the excitement everyone was playing with, it was awesome,”
The Bulldogs finished with 18 steals, 19 assists and just four turnovers. Ten Bulldogs scored and the team shot 47.3 percent from the field. Junior Matt Bouldin had a team-high 16 points and five steals.
Gonzaga enters the WCC Tournament this weekend in
“It ended up being a perfect ending at home for the seniors,” Few said. “I don’t think I could have scripted it any better.”