Arizona versus Gonzaga always feels like a big deal, and this year’s version of the game is no different.
Eyes around the county will be on the No. 15 Wildcats (10-1) and the No. 6 Bulldogs (10-1) as the schools square off in what will be yet another top-25 matchup for Sean Miller’s young Arizona squad.
Tip-off in McKale Center is set for 8 p.m. MST on ESPN2.
In honor of what has become one of the most anticipated non-conference home games in recent memory, here is a look back at the six Arizona-Gonzaga games since Miller arrived in Tucson in 2009.
The series is split 3-3 since then.
Dec. 17, 2011: Gonzaga 71, Arizona 60
In Miller’s third season at the helm, the Wildcats lost to Gonzaga by 11 points in a game that was played at Key Arena in Seattle.
The Zags opened the game on a 14-0 run and the Wildcats were never able to recover to fall to 7-4 on their young season.
(This was the Wildcats’ team that actually lost to Seattle Pacific in an exhibition at McKale to start the year and finished 23-12 overall, 12-6 in the Pac-12 before losing in the first round of the NIT.)
Elias Harris scored 25 points to lead all scorers and Kevin Pangos finished with 8 assists for Gonzaga, while the UA was paced by senior Kyle Fogg who scored 14 points and freshman Nick Johnson who put up 13.
The Wildcats’ big recruit that year, Josiah Turner, finished with 7 points on 2-of-7 shooting with two turnovers and no assists in a 23-minute appearance.
March 14, 2014: Arizona 84, Gonzaga 61
Playing against each other in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since the classic game from the 2002-03 season, Arizona routed the Zags in a second round matchup in San Diego.
The 23-point differential is the largest all-time in the series and the No. 1 seeded Wildcats were paced by freshmen Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Aaron Gordon and junior Nick Johnson, who together combined for 53 points. Przemek Karnowski scored 14 points and Kevin Pangos added 12 for Gonzaga.
Arizona used a swarming defensive effort to force 21 Bulldog turnovers.
After this victory, the UA (33-5, 15-3) defeated San Diego State in the Sweet 16 before falling in heartbreaking fashion to Wisconsin, 64-63, in the Elite 8.
Dec. 6, 2014: Arizona 66, Gonzaga 63 (OT)
In a top-10 early season matchup at McKale, the No. 3 Wildcats narrowly defeated the No. 9 Bulldogs 66-63 in overtime.
Gonzaga scored just five points over the last eight minutes of the game (including OT) as Brandon Ashley, T.J. McConnell, Gabe York and Stanley Johnson all finished in double figures for Arizona. Ashley led the way with 14 points.
Kyle Wiltjer missed a buzzer-beater from the corner that would have been the game-winner for Gonzaga in regulation.
The Wildcats finished the season 34-4 (16-2 Pac-12) before yet another loss to Wisconsin in the Elite 8. Similarly, the Zags finished with 30+ wins before falling in the national quarterfinal.
Dec. 5, 2015: Arizona 68, Gonzaga 63
Playing as top-25 teams for the second consecutive season, the No. 19 Wildcats came back from a 10-point halftime deficit in Spokane to hand the No. 13 Bulldogs their first home non-conference loss since 2012.
Senior Gabe York scored 18 points, while freshman Allonzo Trier put in 14 for Arizona, who was playing without Kaleb Tarczewski due to injury. Gonzaga was led by Kyle Wiltjer, who scored 33 points and Domantas Sabonis, who scored 18.
Ultimately, this Wildcats’ team lost to Wichita State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, while the Bulldogs made it to the Sweet 16 where they lost to Syracuse.
Dec. 3, 2016: Gonzaga 69, Arizona 62
In a third straight meeting as ranked opponents, Mark Few’s team beat Arizona for the second time in Miller’s tenure.
Alas, this was the Gonzaga team that went all the way to the Final Four and lost in the national championship game to North Carolina.
The freshman duo of Rawle Alkins and Lauri Markkanen combined for 30 points for the Wildcats, while Przemek Karnowski and Josh Perkins scored 18 and 16, respectively. The game took place at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles.
Arizona played without Allonzo Trier (suspension) and Parker Jackson-Cartwright (ankle injury).
The Wildcats finished the season as Pac-12 Tournament champions before falling to Xavier in the Sweet 16.
Nov. 20, 2018: Gonzaga 91, Arizona 74
In the semifinals of last season’s Maui Invitational, No. 3 Gonzaga beat the Wildcats for the second straight year, dropping Miller’s record against the Zags to 3-3.
Grad transfer Justin Coleman scored 28 points for Arizona, while Rui Hachimura scored 24 points for the Bulldogs and Zach Norvell Jr. added 20.
It proved to be the first loss of a campaign that was full of them for the Wildcats.