Gonzaga sees nation-longest 50-game home win streak crushed

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Gonzaga was going to lose at home eventually.

After winning 50 straight home games, including all 38 it played in the 3-year-old McCarthey Athletic Center, the nation's longest home winning streak ended Monday night as Santa Clara beat the Bulldogs 84-73.

Scott Dougherty scored 23 points and Brody Angley added 18 as Santa Clara broke a tie with Gonzaga for first place in the West Coast Conference.

"It was bound to happen, I guess," said Gonzaga senior Sean Mallon, who lost at home for the first time in his college career. "But 50-1, you can't be too upset."

Players for Gonzaga (18-9, 8-3 WCC) were more upset about dropping to second in the league behind Santa Clara (19-7, 9-2).

"We're trying to get into the tournament," Mallon, who scored 11 points and grabbed nine rebounds, said. "We can't worry about the streak being snapped."

Gonzaga played for the second time without star forward Josh Heytvelt, suspended from the team after being arrested for drug possession on Saturday. After posting an emotional win over Saint Mary's on Saturday night, the Zags ran out of luck Monday, shooting only 38 percent and making only 22 of 36 free throws, far below their averages.

"I'm proud of this team," said Santa Clara coach Dick Davey, after the Broncos broke a 13-game losing streak to the Zags. "It's always fun when you win on the road."

"They're a little bit short-handed," Davey said, referring to Heytvelt, Gonzaga's leading rebounder and second-leading scorer. "That gave us a chance."

Davey was surprised to learn the Broncos were the first visiting team to win in McCarthey. "Do we get extra points for that?" he joked.

Davey, who is retiring after this season, was presented with a fly fishing rod as a gift from Gonzaga and received an ovation before the game.

Gonzaga's last home loss was on Feb. 19, 2003, against Portland. The Zags won their final 12 games in the old Martin Centre, and their first 38 in McCarthey.

Gonzaga fell behind 13-0 Monday night and never made up the deficit, as it shot especially poorly in the first half. Santa Clara, on the other hand, shot 53 percent from the field and made 25-of-29 at the line. The Broncos made eight 3-pointers in the first half to take a 42-29 lead.

Angley hit a 3-pointer to give the Broncos a 60-40 lead with 11:29 left. It was the biggest deficit Gonzaga had faced at home since the streak began.

But the Bulldogs went on a 13-2 run, with Derek Raivio's 3-pointer cutting the Broncos' lead to 62-53. Raivio finished with 21 points.

He hit four consecutive free throws to cut the deficit to 64-57 with 6:43 left.

After Danny Pariseau hit a 3-pointer, Raivio hit four more free throws to cut the lead to six points. He had 15 points in a 5-minute span.

The teams traded baskets, with Pariseau's 3-pointer giving the Broncos a 74-65 lead with 3:23 left.

Dougherty's 3-pointer made it 77-67 and the Zags could not make up the deficit.

Jeremy Pargo added 20 points for the Zags.

"Our guys' effort was phenomenal to get back into that thing," Few said. "They're not used to losing here. "None of us are."

Few declined to blame the loss on Heytvelt's absence.

"I thought we had opportunities tonight," Few said.

Gonzaga's winning streak began Feb. 22, 2003, with a 69-60 win over Tulsa. Among the victims at home were Washington State, Washington, Stanford, Virginia and a host of teams from the region.

Counting six wins in the neutral Spokane Arena, the Zags actually won 56 straight in the city.

"What an incredible streak it's been," Few said. "It's something we took a lot of pride in."

The streak never became a burden, Few said. "The guys handled it unbelievably."