While Gonzaga entered Thursday’s game against Loyola Marymount as the No. 6 team in the country and on an 11-game winning streak, the Bulldogs had been tempting fate. Gonzaga’s most recent game was a blowout over Portland, but the Bulldogs struggled in the three games before that, narrowly beating San Francisco, Santa Clara and BYU. On Thursday, Gonzaga was finally tripped up.
Loyola Marymount stuns No. 6 Gonzaga in Spokane! 🏀😲 pic.twitter.com/qDiTIQFR3c
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) January 20, 2023
Gonzaga had one more chance. But after Drew Timme had a shot blocked. Julian Strawther, whose shot in the final seconds vaulted the Bulldogs to a victory over BYU, corraled the ball but could only manage an off-balance turnaround shot — which fell short — as time expired.
UPSET AT THE KENNEL — LOYOLA MARYMOUNT 68, GONZAGA 67
Stan Johnson and the Lions have done it! pic.twitter.com/xjPZDkpl6n
— John Fanta (@John_Fanta) January 20, 2023
The loss was historic from several perspectives.
One, came five years and one day after Gonzaga’s last home defeat. ESPN Stats & Info noted that that the 76-game home winning streak was the longest in men’s college basketball since 1978-1984, when Lamar won 80 straight games.
It also stated that “This ends Gonzaga’s 83-game win streak as a ranked team against unranked opponents (2nd-longest streak in D-I history).”
Loyola Marymount upsets No. 6 Gonzaga in Spokane.
This ends Gonzaga's 83-game win streak as a ranked team against unranked opponents (2nd-longest streak in D-I history)
It also ends their 76-game home win streak which was the longest since Lamar won 80 straight between 1978-84 pic.twitter.com/dVlhNqw3cK
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) January 20, 2023
The history does not stop there. Jesse Kass, the Lions play-by-play man, said that this was LMU’s first victory at Gonzaga since 1991 — years before the current players on either team were born.
For the first time since 1991 LMU beats Gonzaga in Spokane! 68-67 the final on Cam Shelton's game-winner with 14 seconds left. Shelton was incredible with 27 points and 9 rebounds. Signature win for this Lions program as they improve to 14-7 & 4-3 in WCC play
— Jesse Kass (@Jesse_Kass) January 20, 2023
This was also LMU’s first victory over Gonzaga at any location since February 18, 2010, with the Bulldogs winning the 25 subsequent meetings.
Several in the college basketball world reacted to the massive upset.
“Felt like Gonzaga was due. They’ve been getting by against WCC teams by the skin of their teeth lately,” one fan said.
“Gonzaga has been playing with fire for weeks. This was bound to catch up with them,” another added.
Felt like Gonzaga was due. They’ve been getting by against WCC teams by the skin of their teeth lately
— morrisoncrying (@morrisoncrying) January 20, 2023
Gonzaga has been playing with fire for weeks. This was bound to catch up with them.
— Zack Farmer (@postsbyzack) January 20, 2023
Others, though, were more surprised.
“Wow!! Gonzaga finally loses to someone not named BYU or Saint Mary’s for the first time in over a decade. This season is really something!” Fansided’s Tristan Freeman said.
“Gonzaga’s home win streak ends at 75. That is incredible,” tweeted Seth Davis of CBS Sports.
Wow!! Gonzaga finally loses to someone not named BYU or Saint Mary’s for the first time in over a decade. This season is really something!
— Tristan Freeman (@hoopsnut351) January 20, 2023
Gonzaga’s home win streak ends at 75. That is incredible.
— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) January 20, 2023
Gonzaga’s recent struggles in victories certainly suggested that the Bulldogs were vulnerable to an upset. So, even though they hadn’t lost in The Kennel for so long, seeing them lose wasn’t too surprising.
What is, surprising, though, is that it was LMU. The Lions aren’t a bad team. The win moved them to 14-7 overall and 4-3 in the West Coast Conference. But heading into Friday, Loyola Marymount had been dealing with its own struggles. Their most recent game was a 98-84 victory over San Diego. But before that win, the Lions had lost three of their previous four games, falling to Saint Mary’s, San Francisco and Pacific.
But while the Lions may not have been riding a particularly hot streak heading into Spokane, it’s a much different story on their way out.