Bulldogs play in new arena next year
SPOKANE, Wash. -- The last basket in The Kennel was a slam dunk by Ronny Turiaf in Gonzaga's 80-64 win over Santa Clara.
Gonzaga's home gym for 39 years went out in an emotional farewell on Saturday night, in a combination nostalgia trip and celebration of the new $23 million home next door.
The McCarthey Athletic Center, a 6,000-seat arena, is scheduled to open for next season. It was named for the Salt Lake City media family that made a major contribution to the facility.
Coach Mark Few paid tribute to the fans who jammed the 4,000-seat bandbox where Gonzaga posted a 397-104 record since the first game on Dec. 3, 1965.
"We owe it all to you," Few said to fans. "You made this the greatest place in college basketball to call home."
"We're going to walk ten steps over in that direction and make that the greatest place in the world to play college basketball," Few said.
The game featured a parade of about 70 players from the past, including NBA legend John Stockton and U.S. District Judge Frank Burgess of Tacoma, the leading scorer in the nation in the 1960-61 season with 32.4 points per game.
There were film clips from past games.
Father Robert Spitzer, the school president, presented the West Coast Conference regular season championship trophy to this year's team. There were tributes to seniors Blake Stepp, Cory Violette, Kyle Bankhead, Tony Skinner and Richard Fox.
The evening ended with a final buzzer and the lights going out in the arena, as players and fans lingered on the court.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
MORE MEN'S COLLEGE BASKETBALL HEADLINES
- NCAA president: Pay-for-play isn't coming
- NCAA may work with power 5 conferences
- Wells sparks Maryland past Boston College
- Former Hoya Whittington intends to transfer
MOST SENT STORIES ON ESPN.COM
- JanSport Youth Gonzaga Bulldogs Blue Basketball T-Shirt