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Gonzaga just had a record win streak snapped, and a Utah high school grad led it

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Loyola Marymount head coach Stan Johnson directs his team during a WCC basketball game against Gonzaga, Jan. 19, 2023..

Loyola Marymount head coach Stan Johnson directs his team during the first half of a WCC college basketball game against Gonzaga, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023, in Spokane, Wash.

Young Kwak, Associated Press

On Thursday night, the Loyola Marymount Lions broke the Gonzaga Bulldogs’ 76-game home win streak with a 68-67 victory in Spokane, Washington.

The result snapped a home winning streak for Gonzaga that, according to ESPN, was the longest since Lamar won 80 straight from 1976-1984. Gonzaga’s was seen as the longest in the “modern era,” since the NCAA Tournament was expanded to 64 teams in 1985 (it is now 68).

The Lions’ head coach, Stan Johnson, has significant Utah ties. He was born in Liberia, but graduated from Taylorsville High in Utah before playing college basketball at Southern Utah from 1998-2002. He was the captain of the 2001 team that made the school’s lone NCAA Tournament appearance, where, as a 14 seed, it nearly beat 3 seed Boston College in the first round, losing by just three.

Johnson played his final year of college ball at Bemidji State in Minnesota, and then immediately got into coaching. In 2008, he returned to the Beehive State to be an assistant at Utah under Jim Boylen, a job Johnson held until Boylen was fired in 2011.

Johnson went on to be an assistant at Drake, Arizona State and Marquette before being named Loyola Marymount’s head coach in 2020.

In his first two seasons at the helm of the LMU program, Johnson went 24-27, but has a 13-7 record so far this year, already matching the 13-win total the Lions tallied in his first season.

“For us, it’s another sign that our program is moving in the right direction, and that’s the biggest thing,” Johnson said after the game Thursday.

“Not too many people are going to come up here and win, so I think it just stands and validates the guys we have in the locker room and all the things we’ve been trying to accomplish.”