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A look back at five classic Gonzaga-Washington games

The Gonzaga and Washington men’s basketball teams will resume their off-again, on-again basketball rivalry Sunday in Seattle. (The Spokesman-Review)
The Gonzaga and Washington men’s basketball teams will resume their off-again, on-again basketball rivalry Sunday in Seattle. (The Spokesman-Review)

Gonzaga and Washington resume their off-again, on-again basketball rivalry Sunday in Seattle.

Washington won 28 of the first 34 meetings in a series that dates back to 1910. The Zags have claimed 10 of the last 11.

There have been several lengthy breaks, including a nine-year absence following the Zags’ 97-77 victory in December 2006. The teams renewed acquaintances at the Battle 4 Atlantis in November 2015 and opened a four-year, home-and-home series last December in Spokane.

Here’s a look at five games from the last two decades that shaped the respective programs.

1) Gonzaga 82, Washington 71 (Dec. 8, 1998)

Washington 7-footer Todd MacCulluch, right, powered for 28 points and Gonzaga’s Jeremy Eaton scored 25 points at the Spokane Arena on Dec. 8, 1998. (FILE / SR)
Washington 7-footer Todd MacCulluch, right, powered for 28 points and Gonzaga’s Jeremy Eaton scored 25 points at the Spokane Arena on Dec. 8, 1998. (FILE / SR)

The Zags took down 22nd-ranked Washington for their first victory in the series since 1981 (0-3 in that stretch).

Gonzaga’s Jeremy Eaton and UW’s Todd MacCulloch staged an interesting battle of big men. Eaton used his quickness to score 25 points. The 7-foot MacCulloch powered for 28 points and 13 rebounds.

Gonzaga relied on Eaton and a better supporting cast. Richie Frahm scored 21 points, Matt Santangelo added 12 and Quentin Hall contributed nine assists.

Chris Walcott had 18 points for the Huskies, who played without injured guard Donald Watts. UW sophomore guard Dan Dickau scored five points.

The Zags went on a magical run that ended in the Elite Eight. Dickau announced he would transfer to Gonzaga a few weeks after the NCAA Tournament. GU coach Dan Monson was hired by Minnesota in July and Mark Few was quickly elevated from assistant to head coach.

2) Gonzaga 95, UW 89, OT (Dec. 2, 2002)

Gonzaga’s Blake Stepp scored a career-high 33 points in win over Washington on Dec. 2, 2002. (FILE / SR)
Gonzaga’s Blake Stepp scored a career-high 33 points in win over Washington on Dec. 2, 2002. (FILE / SR)

Blake Stepp, whose left arm was in a sling leading up to the game, scored 28 of his 33 points after halftime to fuel the Zags win in the old Kennel.

Washington, 0-2 entering the game, led 44-36 in the second half after a pair of 3-pointers by Will Conroy, who poured in 32 points.

Conroy made a long 3-pointer just before the buzzer to force an extra session. Stepp made eight consecutive free throws in the final 1:51 of overtime.

Washington “gave just an incredible, courageous effort and just stayed with it and stayed with it,” Few said. “But so did we.”

The Zags’ Ronny Turiaf scored 18 points and Cory Violette added 17 points and 12 boards.

Few had visited with Husky officials eight months before about their coaching vacancy but elected to remain at Gonzaga. Washington hired Lorenzo Romar two days later.

3) Washington 99, Gonzaga 95 (Dec. 4, 2005)

Gonzaga’s Adam Morrison scored 43 points in loss at Washington on Dec. 4, 2005. (John Froschauer / Associated Press)
Gonzaga’s Adam Morrison scored 43 points in loss at Washington on Dec. 4, 2005. (John Froschauer / Associated Press)

The Huskies weathered Adam Morrison’s 43-point outburst to snap a seven-game losing streak in the series.

Jamaal Williams, Justin Dentmon and Bobby Jones combined for 54 points. Dentmon took over in crunch time.

“That was about as high a level basketball game as you can get,” Romar said. “Dentmon stepped it up big time in the second half.”

Morrison made 18 of 29 shots in a performance Romar called “phenomenal.” The visiting Zags, who lost Derek Raivio to a back injury in the first half, were 1 of 15 beyond the arc.

4) Gonzaga 97, Washington 77 (Dec. 9, 2006)

Gonzaga’s Matt Bouldin, making his first start, powers past UW’s Ryan Appleby in the second half on Dec. 9, 2006. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga’s Matt Bouldin, making his first start, powers past UW’s Ryan Appleby in the second half on Dec. 9, 2006. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Freshman Matt Bouldin had 21 points and five assists as the 18th-ranked Zags thumped the 13th-ranked Huskies.

Raivio delivered 25 points and Josh Heytvelt had 14 points and seven rebounds to help GU extend the nation’s longest home winning streak to 45, the last 33 at the McCarthey Athletic Center.

“That’s why we brought him in here and what he’s capable of doing,” Few said of Bouldin. “He’s a complete guard. He does everything well.”

The GU-UW series went dormant for nine years before they squared off in November 2015 in the Battle 4 Atlantis with the Zags won 80-64.

5) Gonzaga 98, Washington 71 (Dec. 7, 2016)

Johnathan Williams scored Gonzaga’s first seven points in win over UW on Dec. 7, 2016. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Johnathan Williams scored Gonzaga’s first seven points in win over UW on Dec. 7, 2016. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

No. 8 Gonzaga led by as many as 34, threatening its series record 37-point victory in 1943.

The Zags’ Nigel Williams-Goss, a UW transfer, scored 23 points, Przemek Karnowski 17 and Jordan Mathews 14. After a UW basket, Karnowski beat the Huskies down the floor for an and-one dunk.

“It couldn’t have been any more fun,” Williams-Goss said.

Washington freshman guard Markelle Fultz finished with 25 points, many coming after GU built a big lead, on 10-of-26 shooting. Six months later, Fultz was the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA Draft.

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