The Kennel was jam-packed for Gonzaga's final in-state game against the Cougars of Washington State. Having not played last year, both teams were eager to get after it. The Zags had beaten Eastern Washington by 10 in overtime and were fresh off a 20 point schooling of the Washington Huskies.
Easily the biggest nonconference game for the Cougars, the WSU team came out playing hard and crashing the boards... But Gonzaga took the early lead at Dickau trey at 3-0 and were never headed. The first half was close, both defenses very effective, but the Zags' Dickau and Ronny Turiaf turned it on with five minutes remaining in the first half and pulled away to lead by 15.
The Cougars, behind J Locklier, Mike Bush and Milton Riley, came out determined in the second half and sliced the Zags' lead down to seven but that would be it as Anthony Reason provided great emotional sparks and Cory Violette shook the rafters with a couple of monstrous jams.
The Kennel was rocking and the lead hit 20 with about four minutes to go. Dan Dickau and Blake Stepp ran the offense efficiently all night, Dickau hitting for 23 points while Stepp was content to run the GU system and concentrate on great defense against WSU's outside gunners.
This game concluded a tough stretch that would put the Bulldogs to the test at home and away. The Zags would go 4-0 against Eastern, Fresno State, Washington and Washington State, winning by no less than 10 and by as many as 20 and 23.
With a date with Division 2 Eastern Oregon on December 21, Gonzaga's student-athletes will now buckle down for a week of Semester Finals. The schedule will allow the Zags to spend Christmas at home with family before embarking on the what is shaping up to be the roughest road trip of the season. The team will fly 3000 miles to play Monmouth University in New York, followed two nights later with a game against top-20 Saint Joseph's in Philadelphia on New Year's Eve. GU will start 2002 in the infamous Pit against an always tough New Mexico Lobos team.
Zags Hoops would like to congratulate Anthony Reason as MVP for the GU-WSU win; his tenacious defense and fiery play ignited the team and the crowd.
Zags Hoops encourages everyone to attend the Eastern Oregon game; it will be the last home game until WCC foe Santa Clara comes to Spokane on January 11 to open conference play.