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Rare back-to-back matchups with Pilots give Zags shot at their 20th victory

Gonzaga guard Nigel Williams-Goss challenges Portland center Philipp Hartwich at the basket during an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, at the McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga guard Nigel Williams-Goss challenges Portland center Philipp Hartwich at the basket during an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, at the McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
By Michael Gulledge Correspondent

Following Saturday’s 73-52 win over the Portland Pilots, the Gonzaga Bulldogs look to win again in their rematch Monday night at Portland.

A win for GU would be its 20th of the season. The Bulldogs have reached the 20-win mark in each of the last 19 seasons. Before the previous 19 seasons, Gonzaga earned 20 wins only eight times dating back to 1907-1908.

It is rare for the Bulldogs to play an opponent in back-to-back games. This last occurred in 2008 when the Zags defeated Santa Clara in the regular-season finale and the opening round of the WCC tournament.

In 2000, Gonzaga beat Loyola Marymount in back-to-back games, which marks the last time GU faced an opponent in two consecutive games during the regular season. The Zags beat Portland back-to-back during the regular season, also in 2000.

Monday’s game was originally scheduled for Jan. 7, but was postponed because of inclement weather.

In Saturday’s game, GU’s guard Nigel Williams-Goss suffered a hip injury late in the second half and did not return. Gonzaga has not yet made an official announcement on his status for Monday’s matchup.

Portland’s leading scorer Alec Wintering suffered a season-ending knee injury last Thursday.

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