The biggest shocker of the week — if not longer — in college basketball transpired in the Pacific Northwest on Thursday night when Loyola Marymount upset No. 6 Gonzaga 68-67 at The Kennel. An upset of this magnitude means streaks and droughts galore got detonated in Spokane, Washington.
Gonzaga entered the evening with the longest home winning streak in men's Division I basketball. The NCAA officially recognized it to be 76 games, though the streak was 75 in a row at The Kennel, Gonzaga's on-campus home venue. Earlier this season, Gonzaga beat Kentucky at nearby Spokane Arena, thus contributing +1 to the streak, which is now kaput.
The win for LMU (14-7, 4-3 WCC) marked the first time a visitor beat the Bulldogs (16-4, 5-1) at the McCarthey Athletic Center since Saint Mary's almost five years ago to the day: Jan. 18, 2018.
The Lions, who were 16.5-point underdogs, ended a 32-year drought of futility on Gonzaga's campus. Their last win at GU came in 1991, when LMU was on the descent from its peak as a program in the late '80s. LMU also snapped a 25-game overall losing streak to the Zags; its last win in this series came on Feb. 18, 2010, at LMU.
LMU senior guard Cam Shelton was outstanding Thursday night, scoring a game-high 27 points in addition to nine rebounds. The Lions also got 15 points off the bench from junior guard Jalin Anderson. Shelton's right-handed runner with 14.7 left proved to be the game-winner.
For Gonzaga, All-American candidate Drew Timme had a team-high 17 points and seven rebounds. On the game's final possession, Timme set a hard screen on Shelton at the top of the key, which freed him for a pick-and-roll drive to the rim -- but his shot in traffic was blocked by LMU reserve Michael Graham. A desperation recovery-and-heave from Julian Strawther never had a chance.
Thursday night also marked the first time in 93 games that Gonzaga lost to an unranked opponent; it last happened in November 2019 against Michigan in the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in the Bahamas. Gonzaga had been flirting with an in-conference defeat all month. It needed second-half rallies on the road to escape against San Francisco, Santa Clara and BYU, winning those three games by a total of eight points.
Gonzaga's loss also means Saint Mary's, which is yet to lose in conference play, is in first place in the WCC. The last time the Zags weren't atop the WCC standings was Feb. 10, 2018, after a win at Saint Mary's leveled the rivals in the loss column.