The Zags' five most important games this season

Newcomer Geno Crandall is a key contributor to this year's Zags. - DAWSON REYNIER PHOTO
Dawson Reynier photo
Newcomer Geno Crandall is a key contributor to this year's Zags.

89-87 win vs. Duke Maui Invitational Championship, Nov. 21

At the beginning of the year, Zags fans tried to piece together how in the world they would get to see a matchup of their No. 3 Bulldogs vs. the heralded No. 1 Blue Devils in this tournament championship. The rankings suggested the Zags could compete, but the game itself proved that their big men were just as physically daunting as the heralded blue chip freshmen on the other side.

103-92 win at Creighton Dec. 1

The second half comeback win for Gonzaga was the first road test the Zags faced this year. The game showed that sophomore guard Zach Norvell can be a lightning rod, serving as instant offense if he's given the reps to heat up. He'll be a critical option in March.

73-76 loss vs. Tennessee Dec. 9

Still without Killian Tillie and dealing with the added loss of backup point guard Geno Crandall, the Zags struggled to match the intensity of the Volunteers. The game highlighted the need for Rui Hachimura to learn to adapt to physical play and Josh Perkins to assert himself as a scorer.

96-83 win at San Francisco Jan. 12

Their first major road game in conference and in a constant stickler of a place to play, the Zags showed there would always be a chasm between them and everyone else in the WCC.

94-46 win vs. Saint Mary's Feb. 9

Before the game versus the supposed rival in the conference, the Zags found out Tillie was hurt yet again. But the news didn't deter Gonzaga perhaps ending any rivalry talk as they shot 58 percent from the field and 44 percent from 3-point territory. ♦