Tournament Teams 1998 - NIT Second Round
Dan Monson’s first team as head coach of Gonzaga University will be a memorable one, the Bulldogs standing the basketball world on its ear early and continuing right through to a second-round game in the NIT. The Bulldogs weren’t figured to have much chance at the Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks, AK, with such teams as Tulsa, Mississippi State, and 5th ranked Clemson included in the 8-team field. A first night blowout of Tulsa 78-40 got the attention of the some. A 70-68 squeaker over Mississippi State in a battle of Bulldogs gained Gonzaga a little more attention. But nobody expected them to manhandle Clemson 84-71 in the title game. Matt Santangelo was named MVP of the tournament, and the Bulldogs were the darlings of the collegiate basketball world early in the season. But it was a confident team which went 11-4 entering West Coast Conference play, a team that had been tested in the most intimidating of arenas. The Bulldogs raced to a 4-0 WCC start, then dropped both ends of a road trip to Saint Mary’s College and the University of San Diego. With Bakari Hendrix turning into one of the most dominating seasons in WCC history, the Bulldogs would lose just twice more on their way to a 10-4 record and regularseason WCC crown. Hendrix was named the WCC Player of the Year with his 19.6 ppg and 7.3 rpg, joining John Stockton and Jeff Brown as Bulldogs so honored. Matt Santangelo was selected to the All-WCC squad, and Richie Frahm received honorable mention accolades. Monson was the unanimous choice by his peers for WCC Coach of the Year, and Basketball Times named him the Rookie Coach of the Year. In the WCC Tournament, Gonzaga got a buzzer-beater from Santangelo to defeat Loyola Marymount University 79-78 in overtime in the first round, the cruised past San Diego 74-59. Gonzaga, making its fourth WCC Tournament championship game appearance in the ‘90’s, fell to the University of San Francisco 80-67. With a 23-9 record and a WCC regular season title under their belt, the Bulldogs believed their chances were good for an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament. But the selection committee thought otherwise, and the Bulldogs were off to the National Invitational Tournament for the third time since 1994. In the first round Quentin Hall came off the bench to spark a rally by scoring all 17 of his points in the final 11:39 and the Bulldogs had a 69-55 victory over Wyoming. It was off to the University of Hawai’i for round two, the Bulldogs seeing their season end with a 78-70 setback, their 24-10 record setting a school mark for wins.
GONZAGA MEN’S ’ BASKETBALL 2009-10
Published on Nov 18, 2009