Josh Heytvelt scored 22 points as Gonzaga beat local rival Eastern Washington 90-75 on Friday night to extend the nation's longest home winning streak to 41 games.
Josh Heytvelt soars to intimidate last year
Gonzaga (1-0) beat Eastern Washington for the 21st consecutive time since 1990, and has yet to lose in 29 outings in the 3-year-old McCarthey Athletic Center.
Derek Raivio added 21 points as Gonzaga showed it could still score in the first game of the post-Adam Morrison era. Freshman Matt Bouldin scored 12 points on 5-for-5 shooting before fouling out.
Eastern Washington (0-1) was led by Rodney Stuckey's 18 points. Stuckey is the leading returning scorer in the nation after averaging 24.2 points per game as a freshman. Omar Krayem added 11 points.
The Eagles had hopes of making a close game of it since Gonzaga lost its top two scorers from last season.
But Raivio scored 10 in two minutes as Gonzaga built an early 17-13 lead. After the Eagles tied the game at 18, Gonzaga went on a 16-2 run, including eight points by Heytvelt, for a 34-20 lead.
Raivio's 3-pointer made it 44-25 Gonzaga.
The Zags rebuilt their lead to 55-36 at halftime, forcing 15 turnovers and holding the Eagles to 41 percent shooting while making 61 percent of their own field goals.
Gonzaga was not threatened in the second half, leading by as many as 25+ points before coasting to the final buzzer.
Heytvelt, a 6-foot-11 sophomore, made 9-of-16 from the field and added 6 rebounds.
The last time Gonzaga lost at home was 72-68 to Portland on Feb. 19, 2003, in the old Martin Centre. The Zags won their final 12 games in that building before moving into K2 in 2004.
One hour after the men's game the Gonzaga University women's basketball team started off the 2007 season with a bang by defeating the University of Utah, a 2006 NCAA Tournament Elite Eight team, by the score of 57-45 tonight at the McCarthey Athletic Center. The Bulldogs, who are now 5-0 in home openers, were led by senior forward Stephanie Hawk who finished with a game-high 18 points and eight rebounds.
Along with Bjorklund and Elliott, Hawk (above) ruled the night
"We created opportunities, we got intense, got out and ran and that's what got things started for us," said Hawk. "You can't force things; you have to wait for you open shot. As coach Graves always say, if you're on balance and open, just shoot it."
The Bulldogs were strong both offensively and defensively in the first half. Gonzaga held Utah to only 14 points on 6-of-25 shooting. The Zags also forced the Utes to turn the ball over 14 times in the first half, including 10 turnovers in the first 10 minutes.
The Bulldogs closed out the half with back-to-back three-pointers by Elliott and Bjorklund to go into the locker room with an impressive 28-14 lead.
Gonzaga continued to roll in the second half pushing its advantage to 18 points, 47-29, after three-straight buckets by the Bulldogs. Hawk and Bjorklund hit back-to-back three-pointers, while by Bjorklund also made a layup.
Utah could not dent the Gonzaga armor and the Zags earned the 12-point victory.
Head coach Kelly Graves was happy with his team's opening performance. "Utah is a good team, they have a lot of new kids but you can tell they are going to be a good team," said head coach Kelly Graves. "I loved our defense tonight. We're getting turnovers. I was extremely pleased with how we played and with this season-opening win."