Men's Basketball Releases Non-Conference Schedule
Sept. 12, 2017
SPOKANE, Wash. -- Gonzaga men's basketball head coach Mark Few announced his team's 13-game non-conference schedule for the upcoming season Tuesday.
The non-conference slate features eight games inside the McCarthey Athletic Center. The Zags face a potential of five teams that advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2016-17.
Gonzaga will play on a pair of neutral courts, with a matchup against perennial power Villanova in Madison Square Garden in New York City on Dec. 5. The Bulldogs are also a participant in the historic PK80 Invitational in Portland, Ore.
After an exhibition with The College of Idaho at the McCarthey Athletic Center on Nov. 4, the Zags open the regular season at home versus Texas Southern on Nov. 10. GU has won both meetings between the programs, including a 94-54 home victory on Dec. 15, 2014. Silas Melson scored 13 points for the Zags in the matchup. Texas Southern won 23 games last season, won the Southwestern Athletic Conference and finished the year in the NCAA Tournament.
Gonzaga then welcomes Howard on Nov. 14. The Bulldogs have won the only two previous meetings, with the latest coming in 1990, 79-67. The Bison have a talented recruiting class, and return MEAC Rookie of the Year Charles Williams, who averaged 15.6 points per game last season.
Utah State and GU meet for the second time ever in Spokane on Nov. 18. The Aggies ended 2016-17 in the Mountain West Conference tournament quarterfinals and went 14-17. Koby McEwen is back for USU after being tabbed the league's Freshman of the Year last season. He averaged 14.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists per outing. The Aggies beat Gonzaga in Logan, Utah, in 1970, 80-74.
The PK80 Invitational follows from Nov. 23-26. The monumental tournament features elite Nike programs from across the country in a pair of eight-team brackets. The Zags open Motion Bracket play against Ohio State in the quarterfinals. The Buckeyes won 17 games last season and have a new head coach Chris Holtmann. Jae'Sean Tate returns for his senior season after averaging a team-best 14.3 points per game last year, along with 6.4 rebounds. The only previous meeting was a 73-66 Buckeye win in the NCAA Second Round in 2012, in Pittsburgh, Pa.
The other teams in the Motion Bracket include: Butler, Duke, Florida, Portland State, Stanford and Texas. The winner of the Ohio State vs. Gonzaga game will face the winner of the Florida vs. Stanford Nov. 24. The championship game of the Motion bracket will be played Nov. 26. Gonzaga is 2-1 versus Florida all-time, including a 77-72 semifinal win in last year's AdvoCare Invitational, and 4-2 against Stanford.
The Bulldogs and Incarnate Word meet for the first-time ever on Nov. 29. Last year was the first season as a full NCAA Division I member for the Cardinals from San Antonio, Texas. IWU went 7-11 in the Southland Conference and 12-17 overall, and return SLC Newcomer of the Year, Jalin Hart, Honorable Mention All-SLC recipient, Simi Socks, and Shawn Johnson.
Gonzaga opens December by hosting Creighton on Dec. 1. The Bluejays won 25 games in 2016-17, before falling in the Big East Tournament Championships and the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Creighton has won five of the six previous meetings, with the latest coming in 1977, 100-83. The Bluejays are 5-0 at home in the series, with GU's lone win coming in Coeur d'Alene, 71-70, in 1960. The home-and-home series concludes in 2018-19 in Omaha.
The 2017 Jimmy V Men's Basketball Classic doubleheader will be headlined by UConn, Gonzaga, Syracuse and Villanova on Dec. 5. The 23rd annual event will air on ESPN -- pitting UConn against Syracuse and Gonzaga against Villanova -- from the New York City's famed Madison Square Garden. This will be the first-ever meeting between Villanova and GU. The 2016 national champion Wildcats went 32-4 last season, before being upset in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Jalen Brunson returns after being a Bob Cousy Award finalist and first team All-Big East.
On Dec. 10, the Zags travel to Washington to complete a home-and-home series. Gonzaga cruised to a 98-71 win in Spokane last season. Melson had 10 points, Johnathan Williams scored nine points and Josh Perkins dished out five assists. The Huskies have won 29 of the 46 all-time meetings, but GU has won 10 of the last 11 matchups.
North Dakota travels to Spokane on Dec. 16. GU has won all four previous meetings against the Fighting Hawks, but the programs have not met since 1972. UND won the Big Sky Conference regular season and tournament titles last season. Geno Crandall returns for his junior season after averaging 15.5 points per game and leading the team in assists and steals in 2016-17.
Indiana University - Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) and the Bulldogs meet for the second time in Spokane on Dec. 18. Gonzaga won the first meeting, 86-56 in the McCarthey Athletic Center, in the second game of the 2010 season. The Jaguars fell in the Summit League tournament semifinals last season and finished 14-18.
The Zags close their non-conference slate at San Diego State on Dec. 21. The Aztecs begin the Brian Dutcher era in 2017-18. Dutcher has been a part of every SDSU victory over the last 18 seasons (386), and he inherits a roster that features three returning starters in Trey Kell, Jeremy Hemsley and Malik Pope. Kell was an all-Mountain West third-team selection last year. Gonzaga eased to a 69-48 win at home last year over the Aztecs. Killian Tillie pulled down 10 rebounds and scored eight points in front of a national television audience during ESPN's Tipoff Marathon. The Bulldogs have won two of the three all-time meetings in the series.
Gonzaga opens West Coast Conference play versus Pacific in Spokane on Dec. 28.
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