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Gonzaga, Creighton agree to home-and-home series, beginning in Spokane next season

UPDATED: Mon., May 22, 2017, 5:50 p.m.

Creighton’s Marcus Foster, right, grabs a rebound against Georgeton last season. (NATI HARNIK / AP)
Creighton’s Marcus Foster, right, grabs a rebound against Georgeton last season. (NATI HARNIK / AP)

Gonzaga and Creighton have agreed to a home-and-home series, beginning with the Bluejays visiting the McCarthey Athletic Center next season, sources told The Spokesman-Review.

Creighton is coming off a 25-10 season. The Bluejays tied for third in the Big East Conference and lost to Rhode Island in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Gonzaga, which won 37 games and lost to North Carolina in the NCAA championship game, lined up a marquee home opponent to help balance a schedule stocked with strong road and neutral-site contests.

The Zags will take on Big East power Villanova at Madison Square Garden in New York and they’re part of the PK80, a loaded, 16-team event in Portland honoring Phil Knight’s 80th birthday. There will be two eight-team tournaments and teams include Duke, North Carolina, Oregon, Michigan State, Oklahoma and Florida.

Gonzaga faces road games against Washington and San Diego State.

Creighton was one of the last unbeatens in Division I last season, winning its first 13 games. The Bluejays struggled after standout point guard Maurice Watson’s season-ending torn ACL in mid January. He was leading the nation in assists prior to the injury.

Watson was suspended in February and charged with sexual assault about 10 days later.

The Bluejays have played in four of the last six NCAA tournaments under head coach Greg McDermott, who is entering his eighth season. Creighton returns first-team All-Big East selection Marcus Foster and Khyri Thomas, the conference co-defensive player of the year.

Foster, a transfer from Kansas State, scored 14 points against Gonzaga in the Wildcats’ 72-62 win over GU in Wichita in Dec., 2013.

Center Justin Patton, a second-team All-Big East selection, declared for the draft after his freshman season.

Gonzaga also will entertain Incarnate Word, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein. The Cardinals finished 12-17 last season in their final year of transition from Division II to Division I.

Incarnate Word, located in San Antonio, is a member of the Southland Conference.

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