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Galaxy of former Zags stars shine in inaugural Gonzaga Alumni Game

Jim Meehan

It was a Who’s Who of Gonzaga basketball, from the ones who suited up, all key contributors in GU’s run of 18 consecutive NCAA tournaments, to honorary coaches (Adam Morrison, Ronny Turiaf for Team Dickau; Jim McPhee and Kevin Pangos for Team Pargo), to legends in attendance (John Stockton).

And the 22 who participated in the inaugural Gonzaga Alumni Game, which kicks off Hoopfest weekend, once again showed they can play.

“I know the fans had fun. We had fun,” Dan Dickau said. “There were a bunch of good players on that court.”

It seemed like old and new times as Team Pargo defeated Team Dickau 108-93 in front of an appreciative crowd of 2,000 Friday inside the Convention Center. Pargo, who played in China this season, scored a game-high 31 points and earned bragging rights over Dickau.

“It should be a long night for him at (the postgame event) Hopfest,” Pargo cracked. “And on Twitter as well.”

Casey Calvary seemingly grabbed every rebound. Dickau drove and scored on Gary Bell Jr.; Bell answered with a 3-pointer at the other end. Ryan Floyd, 39, dished to Mike Nilson, 39, for an easy layup. Alex Hernandez scored on a crafty putback. Erroll Knight soared for a dunk.

Pargo fed Ira Brown for a jam. Blake Stepp swished a 3-pointer. Micah Downs dunked a lob pass from Dickau. David Stockton buried three straight field goals. Derek Raivio made a clever scoop shot. Raivio, Colin Floyd and Nilson scrapped on the floor for a loose ball. Drew Barham drained a corner 3.

“Because we were missing a lot of shots,” a smiling Calvary said of his collection of boards. “Lots of opportunities.”

Pargo came up with the idea for the Alumni Game and passed it on to former Zags great Matt Santangelo.

“I’ve thought about it for a long time,” Pargo said. “With Matt running Hoopfest we have somebody behind it and can control things here. Can’t thank him enough.”

Zags from the program’s lengthy run of NCAA tournaments have convened for pick-up games through the years at the old Kennel, the McCarthey Athletic Center or the Warehouse, but this collection took it to another level.

“That was awesome,” said David Stockton, who led Team Dickau with 22 points. “For me, I grew up watching those guys, just like every fan here. To be on the court with them was a true honor.”

Calvary said the best part was “just that generational mix that we always get around Gonzaga. It’s that type of program.”

Pargo had 15 points in the first half as his squad led 59-46. Raivio finished with 19 points and Brown added 15.

“I had a blast,” said Brown, who has played in Japan for several years. “I would do it every year for as long as I could.”

Downs scored 18 points; Dickau 15 and Stepp each had 15.

There were some turnovers and an occasional airball but those were erased by highlight-reel plays and light-hearted moments like Pargo bumping into a fan in pursuit of a loose ball, then pausing to embrace the fan.

“For a brand new event, it turned out really well,” said Santangelo, who played sparingly while juggling other duties. “I just love the support we got from the players. They did it just because, and that was really touching to me.”

Proceeds go to the Boys and Girls Club of Spokane and the Ignite Basketball Association, an outreach program between Hoopfest and Spokane Public Schools.

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