Heading into this week’s Maui Classic, Laura Rammos reviewed the Gonzaga Bulldogs last game against Texas A&M. These are her top three lessons from a statement win.
The Gonzaga Bulldogs hosted their first SEC school at the McCarthy Center. It was a close game, and in fact, tied 28 a piece just before the 15-minute mark. From there the Zags went on a 15-5 run to close out the first half leading 43-33.
It took a little over five minutes into the second half to double their lead. The Bulldogs were never threatened from there and won by a comfortable 94-71 score. Texas A&M might be from a power-5 conference, but they left Spokane like many other schools, big and small, with a loss. Here are our lessons from the game.
Lesson #1- SEC, ESPN – Welcome to Spokane, WA
Watching Thursday’s game was electrifying. Sitting on my couch, listening to the excited commentators about being in Spokane while hosting their very first SEC opponent brought about great pride and delight. ESPN’s Caron Butler and Eric Rothman spoke with such enthusiasm and admiration about the Kennel and Spokane.
Butler, who is familiar with the UConn faithful from his years there, had no idea what he was about to witness at the McCarthy Center. One can’t simply be told about the awe-inspiring atmosphere at the Kennel; it must be experienced. Butler was awed by Zags Nation. During pre-game, he put himself in the center of the student section, not for camera sake, but because he wanted to participate in the energy.
Listening to Butler, you could hear his ear to ear smile as he repeated joyfully this was his first trip to Spokane and definitely not his last. After Thursday’s night game, I have a refined respect for this newly enlightened ESPN commentator, however, I respectfully disagree with his choice for player of the first half. It shouldn’t have been Rui Hachimura.
Texas A&M draws good crowds back in College Station, but it’s nothing like what they experienced in Spokane. They were preparing to face a WCC team, and their fans, when they should have been preparing for Kentucky.