Huskies, Zags renew basketball rivalry with some different players on stage

Washington is 29-16 all-time against Gonzaga, but the Zags have won 10 of the past 11 meetings.

Hameir Wright is new to the Washington-Gonzaga rivalry and, truth be told, the Huskies freshman forward doesn’t have much animosity toward the No. 12 Bulldogs.

“I’ve always thought of Gonzaga as like the New England Patriots,” said the 18-year-old Albany, N.Y., native who grew up a Syracuse Orange basketball fan. “They’re always finding some type of way to win games. Growing up I would never see this team in the regular season, but come tournament time they’re always a high seed.

“That’s just my experience with Gonzaga. I’m not really from here. My rivalries stem more toward Syracuse and stuff like that. … Syracuse-Duke. That stuff. All the East Coast beef.”

If Wright or any of UW’s four newcomers want a synopsis of the UW-GU rivalry before the teams meet Sunday at 5 p.m. at Alaska Airlines Arena, then they should listen to Husky junior guard David Crisp.

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“It’s a big game,” said Crisp, who is 0-2 against the Zags, including a 98-71 defeat last year. “I just remember the two outcomes weren’t what we wanted them to be.

“I’m definitely remembering those and using them as motivation and just going to push these guys in practice and make sure that everybody is focused and locked in on our game plan. Execute that again and come out with a good outcome.”

There was a time when the Huskies dominated the series that began in 1910 against their in-state rivals from Spokane. Washington is 29-16 all-time against Gonzaga, but the Zags have won 10 of the past 11 meetings.

At the behest of the Huskies, the series was suspended after the 2006 game and resumed in 2015 when Gonzaga claimed an 80-64 win.

GU (7-2) enters Sunday’s matchup with three straight wins against Washington by an average margin of 21 points.

However, the Huskies (7-2) are focused on a different streak. They’ve won five straight, including a shocking 74-65 upset of No. 2 Kansas on Wednesday.

“The past two years is something that I’ve put in the past,” junior guard Matisse Thybulle said. “I’m not comparing or putting too much thought into what happened before because we’re so different. We’re working on a good game plan and as long as we execute, I think things will go pretty well.”

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