Gonzaga completes nonconference schedule with Central Washington, Texas Southern

Gonzaga’s Rui Hachimura and Texas Southern’s Lamont Walker chase a loose ball during the Zags’ season-opening win last November. GU will entertain the Tigers on Nov. 10. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Gonzaga filled out its men’s basketball schedule with an exhibition game against Central Washington and a home contest versus Texas Southern.

The Zags will entertain Central Washington on Nov. 1, five days before the season opener against Idaho State. CWU finished 15-13 overall last year, 10-10 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.

The NCAA Division II Wildcats hired Brandon Rinta, a familiar coaching name in the Inland Northwest, in April to replace head coach Greg Sparling. Rinta was an assistant coach at Eastern Washington from 2001-06 and spent the last seven years as head coach at Lewis-Clark State College in Lewiston.

Rinta guided LCSC to three Frontier Conference regular-season titles and five NAIA Tournament appearances in seven seasons. He played at Yakima Valley for former Gonzaga assistant coach Leon Rice before completing his career at CWU.

Texas Southern, which lost 97-69 to Gonzaga in last year’s season opener, visits GU on Nov. 10. Head coach Mike Davis left Texas Southern for Detroit Mercy after taking the Tigers to their fourth NCAA Tournament in his six seasons. TSU defeated North Carolina Central in the First Four before falling to Xavier.

The Tigers hired former LSU head coach Johnny Jones to replace Davis.

Damontrae Jefferson, a 5-foot-7 sophomore guard who led the Tigers with 20 points against GU, announced in June he was leaving the program. Jefferson averaged a team-high 23.1 points. TSU also lost seniors Donte Clark and Kevin Scott, who combined for 24 points against the Zags.

The Tigers, known for difficult, road-heavy nonconference schedules under Davis, lost to Gonzaga 94-54 in December 2014 at the McCarthey Athletic Center.

Gonzaga has 10 nonconference home dates counting the exhibition game, four neutral site matchups (three at Maui Invitational and Tennessee in Phoenix) and road games against Creighton and North Carolina.