For the most part, televised reruns are never as much fun as the original.
But when reruns happen in sporting events, as they have quite often for Gonzaga basketball games this season, then it seems easier to take.
Especially when the Zags just continue to win.
They won their 16th game of the season Thursday night, a 93-55 rout of Loyola-Marymount in front of a staid crowd at the McCarthey Athletic Center.
And it was that crowd that became part of the story, the televised story anyway.
The win, Gonzaga’s 21st out of the last 22 in the series, was like a lot of other GU games this season, featuring a mundane start and a slow, consistent stretch by the Bulldogs that built the lead to 10, 15, 20 and then 30.
None of which overly excited the 6,000 fans listed in attendance.
And that seemed to grate a bit on Dan Dickau, Gonzaga’s former star guard who is part of KHQ’s announcing crew.
Twice in the first half Dickau mentioned how quiet the student-deprived Kennel crowd was, referencing the difficult time Spokane-area residents have getting tickets. And wondering, aloud, when they do have a chance to get them, with the students still on holiday break, why they don’t want to cheer.
Play-by-play man Greg Heister and analyst Richard Fox let the comments pass. But Dickau didn’t give up.
He mentioned the crowd again midway through the second half. Silence. Then, with 3 minutes and 52 seconds left, the Zags leading by 35, Dickau went to the rim one more time.
“That gets a little bit of a golf clap from the crowd,” he said after a Silas Melson reverse layup, “before they settle back in.”
This time Fox answered.
“You are on the crowd tonight,” he said.
Dickau began to respond, getting out a “well,” before Heister broke in with a “they are not watching,” seemingly trying to snap the comment train. But he really didn’t need to.
Rui Hachimura took care of the task, driving coast-to-coast and throwing down a one-handed transition dunk that lifted the crowd to its feet. And brought out the noise.
Dickau sensed defeat.
“That got the crowd into it, that’s for sure,” he said.
And before he could go on, the last media timeout of the game popped up, with KHQ showing three views of Hachimura’s dunk on the way to commercial.
But honestly, it was a game to sit on hands.
There was little flow. As Heister said early, and Dickau and Fox reiterated often, Loyola was going to play a physical game and try to slow the pace. In the first half the Lions did just that.
But as Dickau pointed out, the fifth-ranked Zags wear teams down. They did it again, outscoring LMU 47-20 after halftime.
And they did it even though Nigel Williams-Goss, the reigning WCC player of the week, couldn’t survive the dreaded announcer’s curse.
OK, there is nothing of the sort, but the urban legend seemed to be in play after Heister spent time early gushing over Williams-Goss’ play last week. It was appropriate because Williams-Goss followed that up by hitting his first two shots against the Lions.
“There’s a long way to go,” Heister said less than 5 minutes in, “(but) Williams-Goss has made 14 of his last 17 field goals. He’s in a groove.”
After that, the junior guard got out of it quickly, missing nine of his final 11 shots.
But Heister is nothing if not fair. He also “jinxed” Loyola.
With 5:25 left in the first half, he mentioned the Lions were 6 of 9 from 3-point range. That’s all it took.
As Gonzaga was pulling away in its first game in a week – last Saturday’s game at Portland was postponed until Jan. 23 due to weather conditions – there was plenty of time to talk about the game of the week.
That would be Saturday’s contest with 21st-ranked Saint Mary’s of course.
Surprisingly, the announcing crew hardly mentioned the Gaels in the first half. After halftime, though, and coming down the stretch, they spent more time on the matchup.
The consensus? The Gaels are going to be a tough out, the first one this conference season.
They have confidence, after having defeated GU in both conference matchups last year. They have experience, with their top seven players back. And they are well coached.
It’s a big game, one that Dickau hopes will have a different feel, stating with more than 9 minutes left against the Lions, “I hope the crowd comes out and really brings the energy, brings the effort and brings the excitement.”
In other words, a rerun of the past 12 years of basketball in the McCarthey Athletic Center.
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