Photo Essay by Dan Rosenstrauch

The Gonzaga–Saint Mary’s basketball showdown is always exciting, and the Jan. 15, 2007 contest proved to be a particularly memorable game.

Preparations began days before, with ESPN camera crews on the scene for a nationwide broadcast and McKeon Pavilion being readied for the standing-room-only crowd. At
11 p.m. the night before the game, players Omar Samhan, Diamon Simpson and Wayne Hunter shot baskets in the empty gym, getting some extra practice.

Simpson remembers being “anxious to play, but not nervous.” Earlier games against opponents like the University of Connecticut, Seton Hall and USC gave the team valuable experience in taking on tough challengers. “I just took it as another game,” Simpson says.

But it was much more.

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