The Washington men’s basketball team is on the wrong side of a five-game losing streak and has lost 12 of the past 13 contests against Gonzaga, but the Huskies aren’t eager to end the annual battles with their cross-state rivals.
In fact, UW has agreed to a four-year agreement with Gonzaga that will continue the series until the 2023-24 season.
“Look here, Gonzaga is a great team and great school with a great coach (Mark Few), and anytime you can play a program like that, you want to keep that going for as long as possible,” UW coach Mike Hopkins said in a recent interview. “I don’t see that ending anytime soon. Not as long as I’m around.”
Washington leads 29-18 all time in the series that began in 1910. Despite a few disruptions, the Huskies dominated early and won 28 of the first 34 games against Gonzaga.
The series took a 26-year hiatus between 1945 and 1971. A second interruption suspended the rivalry for 13 years from 1982 to 1995.
The Huskies discontinued the series for nine years from 2006 to 2015, citing a busy nonconference schedule and the desire to attract prominent opponents when they were in the middle of six NCAA tournament appearances in an eight-year run.
Zags fans believed UW was tired of losing to the smaller Spokane school that had an 8-1 record against Pac-12 teams between 1998 and 2006. At the time, Gonzaga began its rise as a regional powerhouse that has made 20 straight trips to the NCAA tournament.
In 2015, both teams renewed the rivalry in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas, and the Zags captured an 80-64 victory.
The next year, the teams began a four-year series in which the games alternated each year on home campuses.
Gonzaga won 98-71 at home in 2016 and 97-70 at Alaska Airlines Arena in 2017.
In their last meeting, on Dec. 5, 2018, then-No. 1 ranked Gonzaga held off Washington for an 81-79 victory at McCarthey Athletic Center. The Zags return to UW next season on a date that has not been released.
In addition to hosting Gonzaga, the highlights of the Huskies’ 2019-20 nonconference schedule include a trip to Anchorage, Alaska, to face Baylor on Nov. 8.
Washington plays Tennessee in Toronto on Nov. 16.
And the Huskies are headlining the Diamond Head Classic, a three-game tournament starting Dec. 22 at Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu that includes Georgia Tech, Houston, Texas-El Paso, Portland, Boise State, Ball State and Hawaii.