Men's Basketball Schedule Features Quality Home Games

            SPOKANE, Wash. - Home games against West Virginia University, 2013-14 West Coast Conference newcomer University of the Pacific, the University of Illinois and Baylor University highlight Gonzaga University's 2012-13 men's basketball non-conference schedule unveiled Tuesday.

            Added to that slate are three tough contests in the Old Spice Classic, games at Washington State University, Oklahoma State University and Butler University, and the 10th annual State Farm Battle in Seattle against Kansas State University and the Bulldogs are faced with another challenging schedule.

            "We have some obligations with multi-year contracts," Bulldog head coach Mark Few said. "We were able to get another great opponent in The Battle in Seattle with Kansas State. Coach (Bruce) Weber is a good friend of mine and they are a Top 25 caliber team. We're excited to get back to the Old Spice Classic in Orlando. The last time we were in it we won it. There are some very good teams in that, so it will be a very good test for us early."

            The Bulldogs open against Clemson University and are in the same half of the bracket as the University of Oklahoma and UTEP as Gonzaga seeks to duplicate its 2008 Old Spice Classic title.

            Few is excited about the quality of opponents coming to the McCarthey Athletic Center.

            "For the fans in Spokane to come watch Illinois play, to watch Baylor which will probably be a Top 10 team and has some amazing talent is something pretty special." Few said.

            But some road encounters are equally as formidable.

            "To go to Oklahoma State and Butler will be a great experience. The game at Butler is going to be a really, really tough test in a great venue. Again, we'll have our work cut out for us," Few concluded in assessing the entire non-conference slate."

            Fans will get their first glance at the Bulldogs Oct. 27 in an exhibition game against Northwest Nazarene in the McCarthey Athletic Center. The regular-season opener comes Nov. 9 when Southern Utah University visits.

            Game times, Gonzaga's television schedule and the Bulldogs radio network will be announced later.

            A look at all the teams on Gonzaga's non-conference schedule follows.

Southern Utah University Thunderbirds
Friday, November 9, 2012 McCarthey Athletic Center Spokane, Wash.

Gonzaga and Southern Utah University will be meeting for just the third time in the series history and for the first time since Nov. 23, 1996, when the Bulldogs suffered a 71-47 season-opening road loss. Gonzaga had taken a 77-60 home victory the previous year in the inaugural meeting. The Thunderbirds lost in the semifinals of the Summit League Tournament last season to finish 14-17, their final season in the league as they switch affiliations to the Big Sky Conference this season. SUU went 8-10 for sixth place in their final Summit League campaign. The Thunderbirds will also have a new coach on the bench as Roger Reid announced his retirement after nearly 40 years in coaching, the final five at SUU. Nick Robinson, a 2005 graduate of Stanford University and a member of the LSU staff the past three seasons, will make his collegiate head coaching debut against the Bulldogs. Southern Utah returns 11 players from last year’s squad, including All-Summit League selection Jackson Stevenett who averaged 14.1 ppg and 5.7 rpg.

West Virginia University Mountaineers (ESPN College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon)
Monday, November 12, 2012 McCarthey Athletic Center Spokane, Wash.
Gonzaga and West Virginia University will be the first of 11 games as part of ESPN’s College Hoops Tip-off Marathon, and the game is also a play-in game for the two teams who will compete in the Old Spice Classic in November. The Bulldogs and Mountaineers, because of their regular-season match-up, are in opposite brackets of the Old Spice Classic and could only meet in a placing game the final day of the tournament. Both teams are hopeful that meeting will come in the championship game. The Tip-off Marathon game is a re-match of last spring’s NCAA Tournament Second Round match-up that saw the Bulldogs down the Mountaineers 77-54 in Pittsburgh, Pa. The showcase event to launch the collegiate basketball season on ESPN began in November, 2008, and this will be the Bulldogs fourth straight appearance in the Tip-off Marathon. Last season Gonzaga defeated Washington State University in the McCarthey Athletic Center 89-81. The 2010-11 season saw the Zags fall to San Diego State University 79-76 at home as part of the CBE Classic, and in the fall of 2009 Gonzaga lost a hard-fought 75-71 decision at Michigan State University. West Virginia finished 19-14 last season after going 9-9 in the BIG EAST, both teams earning at-large bids into the NCAA Tournament. The meeting was the first between the schools. The Bulldogs appeared in their 14th straight NCAA Tournament a year ago, while WVU was in its seventh tourney in the past eight years, including a trip to the 2010 Final Four. The Mountaineers are coached by Bob Huggins who will be entering his sixth season at WVU.

University of South Dakota Coyotes
Sunday, November 18, 2012 McCarthey Athletic Center Spokane, Wash.

The University of South Dakota is one of only two first-time opponents on Gonzaga’s non-conference slate. Located in Vermillion, S.D., the Coyotes are coached by Dave Boots in his 25th season with the squad. He has a 30-year head coach record of 608-278. USD has completed a 4-year transition to NCAA Division I from NCAA Division II and will be in its second season in the Summit League this season. Trevor Gruis, a 6-10 junior, is the top returning scorer for the Coyotes, averaging 11.3 ppg and 6.7 rpg. USD was 10-18 overall a year ago, 5-13 in its inaugural season in the Summit League.

Clemson University Tigers (Old Spice Classic)
Thursday, November 22, 2012 HP Field House Buena Vista, Fla.

Gonzaga will open the 2012 Old Spice Classic against Clemson University Thanksgiving night to conclude the first day of action. The Bulldogs, who won the 2008 title, are ranked 20th in the pre-season Top 25 poll. This will be just the second meeting between Gonzaga and Clemson on the hardwood. The Bulldogs claimed an 84-71 victory over the then-fifith-ranked Tigers Nov. 23, 1997, in the championship game of the Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks, Alaska. Clemson went 16-15 overall, 8-8 and seventh place in the ACC last season. The Tigers, coached by Brad Brownell entering his third season, lost to Virginia Tech 68-63 in the first round of the ACC Tournament. The Bulldogs are in the same bracket as the University of Oklahoma and UTEP. The first-round winners meet in the semifinals Friday, Nov. 23, with the losers doing battle Friday. The tournament takes Saturday off, with the placing games Sunday, Nov. 25. All 12 games of the tournament will be played at the HP Field House at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., near Orlando.

Lewis-Clark State College Warriors
Thursday, November 29, 2012 McCarthey Athletic Center Spokane, Wash.

Gonzaga and Lewis-Clark State College last met in the regular season Dec. 16, 2010, the Bulldogs taking a 103-61 victory in the McCarthey Athletic Center. The teams have also played two exhibition games in recent years, the last an 85-48 Bulldog victory Nov. 14, 2004, in the first year of the McCarthey Athletic Center. The 2010 meeting was the first regular-season meeting since Dec. 23, 1988, when the Bulldogs claimed a 101-65 victory. The Bulldogs lead the overall series 9-0, and all but the first meeting in the series – an 87-65 GU win in Lewiston, Idaho, Dec. 17, 1973 – have been played in Spokane. The Warriors are coached by Brandon Rinta in his second season. Rinta was an assistant coach at Eastern Washington University under current Bulldog assistant coach Ray Giacoletti. Rinta played two seasons at Yakima Valley Community College and in his second season was co-coached by Dean Nicholson and Leon Rice, the latter a former Bulldog assistant who is now the head coach at Boise State University. LCSC was 16-13 last season, 5-9 in the Frontier Conference.

University of the Pacific Tigers
December 2, 2012 McCarthey Athletic Center Spokane, Wash.

Gonzaga will get an early look at the University of the Pacific, which will begin play in the West Coast Conference in 2013-14. The Tigers, entering their final season in the Big West Conference, are coached by Bob Thomason, who has announced he will retire at the end of the current season after 25 years at his alma mater. He’s led the Tigers to seven post-season appearances, the last in the 2009-10 season when the team advanced to the championship game of the tourney. The Tigers were the No. 6 seed into the Big West Conference Tournament after going 6-10 in conference action. UOP fell in the conference quarterfinals to finish 11-19 overall. The Tigers will be led by senior Travis Fulton (9.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg) and junior Ross Rivera (11.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg) who each earned All-Big West honorable mention accolades a year ago.

Washington State University Cougars
Wednesday, December 5, 2012 Friel Court Pullman, Wash.

Gonzaga has dominated the series with Washington State University in recent years, winning 10 of the last 13 meetings. The team met in the McCarthey Athletic Center a year ago in the ESPN College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon, the Bulldogs claiming an 89-81 victory. This will be the 12th straight year the series will be played on the campus of one of the two institutions since it was returned to campus Dec. 15, 2001, when Gonzaga took a 67-44 victory in the old Kennel in the Martin Centre next door to the McCarthey Athletic Center. The Cougars, who advanced to the best-of-three championship of the College Basketball Invitational last season before falling to the University of Pittsburgh 2-1, went 19-18 overall. The Cougars were 7-11 and tied for eighth in the first season of the expanded Pacific-12 Conference. Ken Bone enters his fourth season in Pullman. Senior Brock Motum was an All-Pac-12 first-team pick last season and paced the team with his 18.0 ppg and 6.4 rpg.

University of Illinois
Saturday, December 8, 2012 McCarthey Athletic Center Spokane, Wash.

This will be the fourth meeting in the series that began during the 2009-10 season with an 85-83 Gonzaga victory over the University of Illinois in the United Center in Chicago. The series moved to The Battle in Seattle the following year and the Illini took a hard-fought 73-61 victory. Last season on the UI campus in Champaign the home team took an equally hard fought 82-75 victory in a battle of Top 25 teams. The Gonzaga-Illinois series goes back to 2002 when Illinois defeated the Bulldogs 76-58 in Champaign. The teams met Nov. 27, 2004, in the Wooden Tradition at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Ind., Gonzaga falling 89-72 to an Illini team that would lose to the University of North Carolina in the 2005 NCAA Championship Game. Illinois went 17-15 last season, losing in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament after going 6-12 in conference play to finish ninth. John Groce is the first-year Illinois head coach, coming from Ohio University where he served four years as the head coach. Illinois will be led by 6-4 senior Brandon Paul, a third-team All-Big Ten selection last season who averaged 14.7 ppg and 4.7 rpg.

Kansas State University Wildcats (State Farm Battle in Seattle)
Saturday, December 15, 2012 KeyArena Seattle, Wash.

The 10th annual State Farm Battle in Seattle will have a new face in Kansas State University, but Gonzaga will be more than familiar with the face of the first-year head coach of the Wildcats. Bruce Weber will be the first opposing coach to return to the sidelines of the neutral-court game, having coached the University of Illinois to a 73-61 victory in the 2010 event. He’s also faced Gonzaga head coach Mark Few four other times while at Illinois, the most recent last year when the teams did battle in Champaign, Ill. The BIS marks just the third all-time meeting between the two teams, with K-State winning each of the previous contests. The two teams last faced each other Nov 22, 2010, in the semifinal of the CBE Classic in Kansas City, Mo., with the Wildcats defeating the Zags 81-64. The inaugural hardwood meeting was March 22, 1994, in Manhattan, Kan., where the Wildcats knocked off Gonzaga 66-64, in the second round of the NIT. Both schools reached the round of 32 in the East Region of last season’s NCAA Tournament. The Bulldogs routed West Virginia before falling to No. 2 seed Ohio State University 73-66. KSU defeated Southern Mississippi University in its opening game, then lost to top-seeded Syracuse University 75-59.

Campbell University Fighting Camels
December 19, 2012 McCarthey Athletic Center Spokane, Wash.

Campbell University of Buies Creek, N.C., is the other first-timer on the Gonzaga schedule. The Fighting Camels went 17-15 overall a year ago, 11-7 and third place in the Big South Conference. After spending 17 years as a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference, the Camels returned to the Big South last season. They were a charter member of the Big South from 1983-94.The Orange and Black have only competed at the NCAA Division I level since the 1961-62 season, not much longer than the Bulldogs who were first recognized as a NCAA Division I program for the 1958-59 season. The Fighting Camels lone appearance in the NCAA Tournament was 1992, the 16th-seed falling to eventual NCAA Championship Duke University in the first round. Robbie Lange is entering his 10th season at the helm. Darren White, a 6-4 senior, is one of three returning starters and paced the team a year ago in scoring at 16.8 ppg and also averaged 5.5 rpg. He was a second team All-Big South selection.

Baylor University Bears
December 28, 2012 McCarthey Athletic Center Spokane, Wash.

Baylor University comes to town to face Gonzaga as a return game from two years ago when the Bulldogs edged the ninth-ranked Bears 68-64 in The Showcase at American Airlines Arena in Dallas. This year’s matchup will be the fourth meeting all-time between the schools, the Bulldogs a perfect 3-0 in the series. The first meeting came in the 1991 Coors Light Classic hosted by Fresno State University, the Zags taking a 77-75 victory in a season which saw current Bulldog head coach Mark Few in his first season as a full-time assistant on the Gonzaga staff after serving two years as a graduate assistant. The teams met in the title game of the West Region of the 2006 Dick’s Sporting Goods NIT played in the Spokane Arena. The Bulldogs prevailed 78-69 to advance to Madison Square Garden for the NIT semifinals. Scott Drew is in his 10th season at Baylor and is coming off a NCAA Tournament Elite Eight season which saw the Bears go 30-8 overall, losing to eventual NCAA champion University of Kentucky in the South Regional finals for a trip to the Final Four. The Bears went 12-6 in the Big 12 and lost in the title game of the Big 12 Tournament. Baylor was ranked eighth in the final rankings a year ago and return Pierre Jackson, a second-team All-Big 12 selection who led the Bears in scoring (13.8 ppg), assists (5.87) and steals (1.79). The Bears lost a couple of underclassmen to the NBA Draft, including AP honorable mention All-America selection Perry Jones III.

Oklahoma State University Cowboys
December 31, 2012 Gallagher-Iba Arena Stillwater, Okla.

For the sixth straight season Gonzaga will play a New Year’s Eve contest, this one against Oklahoma State University in legendary Gallagher-Iba Arena. Cowboys officials are promoting the game as the biggest game in Gallagher-Iba Arena since the University of Cincinnati visited to open the 2001-02 season. This will be the fifth meeting between the Zags and OSU since the 2005 season but will be the first time the Bulldogs have ventured to Stillwater. Gonzaga has won the previous four meetings in the series, taking the first meeting 78-75 in the 2004 All-College Classic played in Oklahoma City, Okla., in what was known then as Ford Arena but is now Chesapeake Energy Arena. OSU was the opponent in the 2005 Battle in Seattle, the Zags All-American Adam Morrison calling his 3-point bank shot in the waning seconds to give the Bulldogs a 64-62 victory over the Eddie Sutton-coached Cowboys. Gonzaga topped OSU 83-71 in the opening round of the 2008 Old Spice Classic to start the Zags on their way to the Classic title. The last meeting was New Year’s Eve of 2010 in the McCarthey Athletic Center, Gonzaga bringing the curtain down on the year with a 73-52 verdict. Travis Ford is in his fifth season with the Cowboys, who went 15-18 overall a year ago and lost in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 Conference Tournament. OSU was 7-11 and finished seventh in the conference chase. Sophomore Le’Bryan Nash is the top returnee for the Cowboys, averaging 13.0 ppg and 5.0 rpg in earning co-Big 12 Conference Freshman of the Year accolades a year ago.

Butler University Bulldogs
January 19, 2013 Hinkle Fieldhouse Indianapolis, Ind.

These two darlings of the nation who share the same nickname - Bulldogs - will meet for the third time when Gonzaga visits legendary Hinkle Fieldhouse to face Butler University. The first meeting between the clubs was Nov. 24, 2006, on perhaps the biggest basketball stage of them all – Madison Square Garden and the championship game of the NIT. Butler got the upper hand in this Battle of Bulldogs with a 79-71 victory which helped launch Butler into the national limelight alongside Gonzaga, which had upset No. 2 ranked University of North Carolina to set up the title-game showdown. The most recent meeting came Dec. 20, 2011 at the McCarthey Athletic Center. The Bulldogs earned the 71-55 victory. Butler made back-to-back Final Four appearances in 2010 and 2011. The Bulldogs advanced to the 2010 title game with a 52-50 semifinal victory over Michigan State University before falling 61-59 to Duke University in the title game. The following year Butler beat three nationally-ranked teams in the NCAA Tournament to advance to the Final Four where they downed VCU 70-62 in the semifinals and falling 53-41 to the University of Connecticut on championship Monday. The Bulldogs are coached by Brad Stevens, entering his sixth season. Butler went 22-15 last season, losing in the semifinals of the College Basketball Invitational (CBI). Senior Andrew Smith paced the Bulldogs last year, averaging 10.9 ppg and 5.2 rpg. Roosevelt Jones was named to the Horizon League All-Newcomer Team. Last season was the last year in the Horizon League for Butler, which will move to the Atlantic 10 this season.




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