The Kennel moved from the McCarthey Athletic Center to the John J. Hemmingson Center, where Gonzaga students gathered to watch the Bulldogs defeat Xavier 83-59 and reach the Final Four for the first time.
And the students came out in a full force – a sea of red and blue packed the Hemmingson to witness history.
Classic Gonzaga chants were shouted by the students to support their Zags 900 miles away, and the enlarged head posters with players’ faces were distributed to students. At halftime, with the Bulldogs leading by 10 points, the students at the Hemmingson began singing Bon Jovi’s hit song “Livin’ On A Prayer”.
“(This is) the closest you can get to being in the Kennel, and being in the Hemmingson is the perfect place for it,” said Brandon Lim, the social media manager for the Kennel Board.
The Hemmingson was airing the Elite Eight matchup against Xavier on three large screens, two via projectors, for students wishing to sit on the main floor of the student union building. The basement auditorium also was showing the Bulldogs’win.
“Just being in the Elite Eight and being in a position where we can get to the (program’s) first Final Four ever gets everyone super excited. Everyone wants to be a part of the atmosphere because not everyone can travel to San Jose,” Lim said.
Chuck Faulkinberry, the director of the Hemmingson Center and Auxillary Services, said many other departments at Gonzaga also cooperated with the Hemmingson.
The Gonzaga bookstore was selling apparel and Zag Dining had prepared food for those in attendance. An inflatable basketball hoop was behind a projector screen for those wishing to put up some shots.
Faulkinberry said a team had planned the event over the past week, and began setting up the festivities eight hours before tip-off.
The Hemmingson was Skyping live with the watch party on Xavier’s campus.
The difference between the two gatherings? A loud roar from the Bulldogs when the final buzzer sounded a Gonzaga victory.