Gonzaga University, a defending West Coast Conference co-champion, concludes a run of three games against Big Sky Conference foes tonight when it invades Reese Court for a 7:05 matchup against Eastern Washington.
The Bulldogs (4-4) are coming off a layoff that followed last Saturday’s 67-63 overtime loss to Montana. Prior to that, they dusted off Montana State 91-76.
Eastern (4-4) is also coming off a loss, having dropped an 89-87 decision at home Tuesday night to Santa Clara, the team that tied GU for last year’s WCC regular-season title.
Gonzaga has won nine consecutive and 15 of its last 16 games against EWU. The Bulldogs beat the Eagles twice last season, but GU coach Dan Fitzgerald said the recent history of the series means nothing - especially with EWU boasting a roster full of newcomers and his own team still struggling to deal with its own immaturity and the loss of senior center Paul Rogers (broken foot).
“They’ve brought in some very talented players,” Fitzgerald said of the Eagles, who start four transfers who were not on the active roster last season. “But they’re still maturing and so are we.
“They’re playing really well right now, and I’m pleased with the way we’ve played, lately. But I know there will be some missed free throws and ball kicks late.”
Second-year EWU coach Steve Aggers said he expects GU to show the same intensity and discipline as last year.
“It’s just too bad we have to play them over Christmas break,” Aggers said. “It should be a good game.”
With most of its students having left the campus for the holidays, Eastern drew less than 700 fans to the Santa Clara game.
Subscribe to The Spokesman-Review’s sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.