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It was a close call, but Gonzaga extends streak of opening wins

UPDATED: Thu., March 15, 2018, 8:15 p.m.

Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Josh Perkins (13) embraces Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Jack Beach (2) after they defeated UNC Greensboro during the second half of the first round of the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament on Thursday, March 15, 2018, at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. Gonzaga won the game 68-64. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Josh Perkins (13) embraces Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Jack Beach (2) after they defeated UNC Greensboro during the second half of the first round of the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament on Thursday, March 15, 2018, at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. Gonzaga won the game 68-64. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

BOISE – Gonzaga won another NCAA Tournament opener and extended an active streak only one of college basketball’s bluebloods can match.

By sneaking past UNC Greensboro 68-64 Thursday at Taco Bell Arena, the Bulldogs won in the first round for the 10th consecutive year. Entering the day, only Gonzaga and Kansas had current streaks of nine straight opening wins, so the Bulldogs had the mark to themselves for a few hours until Kansas played and beat Penn 76-60 in a Midwest Region game at Wichita, Kansas.

GU’s streak started on March 19, 2009, when the Bulldogs beat Akron 77-64 in Portland. Thursday was the closest the Zags have been to letting that streak slip away. They trailed UNCG with less than two minutes to play, but went ahead on a 3-pointer from Zach Norvell Jr. with 23 seconds to go.

Four points is the closest margin of victory the Zags have had during the stretch. The next closest was a six-point win over Southern University in 2013 at Salt Lake City.

Below is a full list of Gonzaga results in the first round of the NCAA Tournament:

March 16, 1995: Maryland 87, Gonzaga 63 (Salt Lake City)

March 11, 1999: Gonzaga 75, Minnesota 63 (Seattle)

March 16, 2000: Gonzaga 77, Louisville 66 (Tucson)

March 16, 2001: Gonzaga 86, Virginia 85 (Memphis)

March 14, 2002: Wyoming 73, Gonzaga 66 (Albuquerque)

March 20, 2003: Gonzaga 74, Cincinnati 63 (Salt Lake City)

March 18, 2004: Gonzaga 76, Valparaiso 49 (Seattle)

March 17, 2005: Gonzaga 74, Winthrop 64 (Tucson)

March 16, 2006: Gonzaga 79, Xavier 75 (Salt Lake City)

March 15, 2007: Indiana 70, Gonzaga 57 (Sacramento)

March 21, 2008: Davidson 82, Gonzaga 73 (Raleigh)

March 19, 2009: Gonzaga 77, Akron 64 (Portland)

March 19, 2010: Gonzaga 67, Florida State 60 (Buffalo)

March 17, 2011: Gonzaga 86, St. John’s 71 (Denver)

March 15, 2012: Gonzaga 77, West Virginia 54 (Pittsburgh)

March 21, 2013: Gonzaga 64, Southern 58 (Salt Lake City)

March 21, 2014: Gonzaga 85, Oklahoma State 77

March 20, 2015: Gonzaga 86, North Dakota State 76

March 17, 2016: Gonzaga 68, Seton Hall 52 (Denver)

March 16, 2017: Gonzaga 66, South Dakota State 46 (Salt Lake City)

Overall record in first round: 17-4


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