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Sports >  Gonzaga basketball

GU moments: A look back at the best performance by each Zag in 2018-19

April 7, 2019 Updated Sun., April 7, 2019 at 10:26 p.m.

Rui Hachimura leads Gonzaga past Zion Williamson and Duke in the title game of the Maui Invitational on Nov. 21  in Lahaina, Hawaii. (Marco Garcia / AP)
Rui Hachimura leads Gonzaga past Zion Williamson and Duke in the title game of the Maui Invitational on Nov. 21 in Lahaina, Hawaii. (Marco Garcia / AP)
By Justin Reed The Spokesman-Review

It’s been six months almost to the day when Gonzaga fans first caught a glimpse of the 2018-19 men’s basketball team. Kraziness in the Kennel serves as the unofficial start to each season, and many memories were made in a season that saw the Bulldogs reach the Elite Eight for the third time in five seasons.

It’s hard to remember everything that happened in the past six months, but let’s take a look back at the top moment for each player this season, starting with the seniors.

Josh Perkins: Not just a shining moment of his season, but his career, as the redshirt senior broke Matt Santangelo’s program assists record against Pepperdine on Feb. 21. His lob to Brandon Clarke for a layup gave him 669. He finished his career with 712 assists.

Jeremy Jones: Thrust into a larger role with Killian Tillie hurt, Jones flashed against Illinois on Nov. 19 in the first round of the Maui Invitational. Jones finished with a career-high 14 points and 11 rebounds, helping stave off the Illini 84-78.

Geno Crandall: After a lengthy transfer process, the graduate transfer from North Dakota finally made it to Spokane in October. He instantly provided senior leadership, much like Nigel Williams-Goss did when he arrived to town. While no game or performance stands out, the impact he made was definitely felt in the locker room.

Brandon Clarke: What to pick, what to pick… The redshirt junior broke multiple block records (including an incredible swat of Tennessee’s Yves Pons) and added a special element to the team. But his shining moment was the round-of-32 NCAA Tournament game against Baylor. His final stat line: 36 points, eight rebounds, five blocks and three assists, carrying the Zags to the Sweet 16.

Alex Martin: Only appeared in four games this season, but he did play in the Zags’ most important game of the regular season, against Duke in Maui.

Jack Beach: Besides dishing out teammate-specific handshakes, the redshirt junior took part in Senior Night festivities and was treated to a special night with his family. He also shot 4 for 10 from the 3-point line this season.

Killian Tillie: After dealing with two injuries this past season, the junior from France had his best game in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The best moment from that game was midway through the second half, when Tillie soared over two Fairleigh Dickinson defenders for his first dunk of the season.

Rui Hachimura: An impressive three years of growth culminated in his game against Duke. The projected lottery pick matched up and played well against both Zion Williamson and R.J. Barrett, scoring 20 points with three blocks.

Zach Norvell Jr.: In an offensive showdown between the Zags and Creighton – a game that finished 103-92 – Norvell matched his career high with 28 points. He knocked down six 3-pointers and shot 43 percent from the floor, leading GU over the Bluejays.

Corey Kispert: An overlooked player during the Baylor game (thanks to Clarke), Kispert was all over the court, playing a season-high 35 minutes. He had 16 points on 6-for-8 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds, both of which were second on the team to Clarke.

Joel Ayayi: Played in 23 games this season. The redshirt freshman from France had his best game against North Alabama, filling up the stat sheet. He scored five points, with four rebounds, two assists and two steals, in 11 minutes.

Paul Pennington: He never got into a game this season, but gave this answer to what food he would like to see at the White House if he was invited after winning a national championship. “FanciFreez is a great burger place in Boise, and it is unbelievable,” he said. “It has gourmet fries, gourmet burgers and milkshakes that will make you think twice before going anywhere else.”

Matthew Lang: Whenever a walk-on drains a 3-pointer in a game, everyone goes wild. Lang made his first 3-pointer – which happened to be his first career points – against CSU Bakersfield.

Greg Foster Jr.: Played 20 minutes against North Dakota State, scoring only two points, but he was a great distributor of the ball, dishing out five assists, and grabbing four rebounds.

Filip Petrusev: The freshman was forced to play a lot of minutes multiple times this season when Tillie was out due to injury. While the Serbian’s performance against Duke wasn’t flashy, he had 11 points on 5-for-7 shooting and grabbed four rebounds against some of the best collegiate athletes.

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