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Gonzaga-Portland postponed by inclement weather

Gonzaga head coach Mark Few and assistant coach Tommy Lloyd, right, react to a call in the Portland game on Jan. 9. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

PORTLAND – The Gonzaga-Portland men’s basketball game scheduled for Saturday night at Portland’s Chiles Center was postponed due to inclement weather.

Portland athletic director Scott Leykam made the announcement via Twitter at 3:48 p.m.

“For the safety of all involved, we have decided to delay tonight’s game,” Leykam said in a school release. “After consulting with a variety of public safety officials, and with the support of the West Coast Conference, it is the best decision to postpone the game.”

The game will be rescheduled at a later date. It won’t be played Sunday or Monday, a Portland spokesman said.

Light snow fell Saturday morning and early afternoon in Portland but the bigger issue was freezing rain expected to arrive by late afternoon and create treacherous driving conditions. Steady 15-20 MPH winds, with gusts up to 40, didn’t help matters.

The Portland Winterhawks announced at 12:40 p.m. the postponement of the team’s Saturday night Western Hockey League game against Everett. About two hours later, the Portland Trail Blazers, citing forecasts of inclement weather, postponed their Saturday night NBA game against Detroit and rescheduled it for Sunday at 6.

“Unfortunate but you can’t fight Mother Nature,” said Gonzaga athletic director Mike Roth, who didn’t travel with the team.

Longtime Gonzaga officials couldn’t recall the last time a Zags basketball game was postponed for weather-related reasons. U.S. International, which was scheduled to visit Gonzaga in December, 1979, forfeited the contest after its efforts to reach Division I status failed.

The Gonzaga-Pittsburgh game in Okinawa, Japan, in November, 2015, was called off after the first half due to slippery floor conditions. The start time for the Gonzaga-Pepperdine game in Malibu in January, 2015, was pushed back 30 minutes. There was a traffic jam on the Pacific Coast Highway that was caused when an inattentive driver knocked over a light pole.

Portland area law enforcement agencies throughout the day urged drivers to stay off the roads, posting Twitter pictures of ice and snow covering I-5 with no cars in sight. Light freezing rain was in the forecast until the early morning hours Sunday and residents were told to prepare for possible power outages.

The GU-Portland game was sold out, thanks in part to the significant number of Zags fans that typically attend the annual contest at the 4,852-seat Chiles Center.

Tickets purchased for Saturday’s game will be honored at the rescheduled date, according to Portland’s release. Fans that purchased tickets to the game but choose not to attend on the rescheduled date will be offered a ticket to another future Pilot home game of their choosing, based on inventory availability.

Roth said GU purchased all of the tickets allowed by WCC rule and those will be honored at the rescheduled game.

Portland’s Dec. 10th road game against Boise State was postponed when poor weather prevented the Pilots from flying to Boise. That game is expected to be rescheduled for next season.

Karnowski CLASS Award finalist

Gonzaga senior center Przemek Karnowski is one of 30 candidates for the Senior CLASS Award.

The award honors an NCAA senior men’s basketball player with notable achievements in community, classroom, character and competition.

Karnowski has completed his undergraduate degree. He earned Dean’s List honors for fall semester 2014 as well as making the WCC’s All-Academic team in 2014-15. He’s visited the children’s hospital multiple times, the Boys and Girls Club, Union Gospel Mission and the VA Hospital. He’s also helped with the Catholic Charities Food Drive and Habitat for Humanity.

Karnowski is one of nine players in program history with 1,000 career points and 600 rebounds. He was first-team All-WCC in 2015 and WCC All-Freshman in 2013.