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Gonzaga, Washington extend basketball series for four games through 2024 season

UPDATED: Mon., June 10, 2019

Gonzaga’s Rui Hachimura hits the game-winning shot over a pair of defenders in an 81-79 victory over Washington on Dec. 5. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga’s Rui Hachimura hits the game-winning shot over a pair of defenders in an 81-79 victory over Washington on Dec. 5. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Gonzaga has dominated the men’s basketball series recently with Washington, but the rivalry grew more interesting last season when the Zags escaped with an 81-79 win in Spokane.

The programs have agreed to extend the series for four games, beginning at the McCarthey Athletic Center in the 2021 season. The teams close out the current four-year contract this winter at Alaska Airlines Arena in Seattle.

Washington leads the series 29-18, but the Zags have won 12 of the past 13, including victories each of the past four seasons. The teams got a head start on the current four-game set when Gonzaga beat UW 80-64 in the 2015 Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas.

The Zags won the next two seasons by comfortable 27-point margins before Rui Hachimura’s mid-range jumper with 0.9 seconds left gave Gonzaga a two-point win last December.

Washington went on to win the Pac-12 regular-season championship and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to North Carolina. The Zags posted their third straight 30-win season and advanced to the Elite Eight in their 21st consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.

“Look here, Gonzaga is a great team and great school with a great coach (Mark Few), and anytime you can play a program like that, you want to keep that going for as long as possible,” Washington coach Mike Hopkins told the Seattle Times in a recent interview. “I don’t see that ending anytime soon. Not as long as I’m around.”

Washington’s lone victory since 1997 was a 99-95 thriller over the Bulldogs in 2005 in Seattle. Ten of Gonzaga’s 12 wins during that time frame were by double figures.

The series was discontinued from 2006 until 2015. The 2015 matchup was determined by Battle 4 Atlantis organizers.

Both teams lost marquee players from last season’s squads due to graduation and NBA draft early entrants, but both are bringing in highly ranked recruiting classes.

Washington, 27-9 last season, lost seniors Matisse Thybulle, Noah Dickerson and David Crisp, and sophomore Jaylen Nowell opted to remain in the draft.

Gonzaga’s Hachimura and Brandon Clarke are expected to be first-round picks and sophomore Zach Norvell Jr. decided to stay in the draft. The Zags also must replace point guard Josh Perkins from last year’s 33-win team.

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