PORTLAND — Bryce Pressley had 16 points and nine assists and scrappy Portland upset No. 22 Gonzaga 82-73 on Thursday night, snapping a 20-game losing streak in the series between the two teams.
The loss also snapped the Bulldogs’ 22-game winning streak in West Coast Conference games.
The last time Portland (10-7, 2-3) beat Gonzaga at home was in 1996 and the Pilots’ last victory in the series came in 2003 in Spokane. Portland had not defeated a ranked opponent since 2009 against then-No. 22 Minnesota.
“I always thought it might come when people weren’t expecting it,” Portland coach Eric Reveno, who had been winless in 14 tries against Gonzaga, said in a postgame interview on ESPNU. “I like my basketball team. I’m so proud of them to trust each other and the work they’ve put in.”
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Gonzaga (14-3, 4-1) had won four straight to open the conference season after a 72-62 loss to Kansas State on Dec. 21. However, the Pilots (10-7, 2-3) were determined from the start, stretching their lead to 17 points in the second half.
Alec Wintering had 14 points for the Pilots and Kevin Bailey added 13.
Sam Dower led Gonzaga with 14 points off the bench.
“They were flying around and beating us to pretty much every ball that was available,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. “They played with way more energy and passion, which is what we had been doing in our first four conference games.”
Back-to-back jumpers from Riley Barker and Bryce Pressley put the tenacious Pilots up 49-37 with 15:26 left. Portland pushed the lead to 53-37 on Kevin Bailey’s falling-down jumper and a free throw — and Gonzaga appeared to be pressing.
Gerard Coleman’s layup and two free throws narrowed it to 76-65 for the Bulldogs before Drew Barham’s layup made it 78-71 with 1:05 left. However, Portland held off the Zags as time wound down and Portland’s purple-clad fans rushed the court.