Huskies making Gonzaga game a tough ticket

So I made a call to the University of Washington ticket office awhile back to buy a couple of tickets for the basketball game with Gonzaga Dec. 10, and it turned into more of a production than I would have guessed.

Several weeks ago, I was told single-game tickets wouldn’t be available until mid-October. Calling back then, I was told single-game seats would go on sale Oct. 24.

Except for one game: Gonzaga. That one wouldn’t be available until Nov. 7.

In the meantime, the UW was touting the Husky-Zag game as part of its five- and eight-game partial season packages. Both of those include Gonzaga, so I guess you could say the Huskies are willing to capitalize on Gonzaga’s success.

Anyway, a call to the ticket office Tuesday (Nov. 7) got this response: There still aren’t any such tickets available on a single-game basis, except to UW season-ticket holders. When I asked if there would be at some point, the ticket agent told me, “That’s definitely a possibility.”

I doubt anybody at Washington would concede this, but a side effect of curbing availability of single-game tickets is to limit the number of Gonzaga partisans in the stands. Nothing nefarious about that, but it’s perhaps another indicator of how the programs have diverged sharply in recent years. While the Huskies bottomed out with a 2-16 Pac-12 record and the firing of Lorenzo Romar in 2017, Gonzaga was appearing in its first Final Four.

Mike Roth, the Gonzaga athletic director, is taking a thoroughly benign view of the proceedings.

“There’s no conspiracy theory, at least in my mind,” he said. “This is not an uncommon practice in college athletics. It’s the University of Washington maximizing their schedule for the outcome they want. Nobody can blame them for that.

“If the roles were reversed, I think we would do the same thing.”

I was told tickets would be in the $65-99 range, if and when they’re available. If you take the secondary-market route -- that’s what I did -- be prepared to pay $100 at the low end.

This will be the first Gonzaga-UW game at Hec Ed since 2005, the most sizzling game in the series since the Zags began dominating it in the late 1990s. That was the one in which Adam Morrison rifled in 43 points but missed a late perimeter shot that probably would have won it. Instead, Washington prevailed, 99-95, in a screamer of a game with premier players all over the floor, including Brandon Roy.

That’s the Huskies’ only victory in the last 11 games in the series. Nine of the 10 Gonzaga wins have been by double figures, and a rivalry once marked by prickly words, cold shoulders and eventually, a nine-year hiatus (2006-2015), seems to have given way to a sense of resignation among a lot of UW fans. It will be worth watching to see whether first-year coach Mike Hopkins makes it a priority publicly to narrow that gap.