Gonzaga reaches its first NCAA basketball title game

This was a fantastic basketball game - it was close for a while, Gonzaga started to pull away, SC went on a 14-0 run in the second half to take the lead, the Bulldogs responded with a 7-0 run of their own to go back on top, and the Gamecocks were never able to get back on top.

SC and Gonzaga have a lot more in common than just being in their first Final Four.

Gonzaga, the No. 1 seed in the West Regional, is making the first Final Four appearance in program history.

GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Exploiting matchups is the key to winning any basketball game. Their big men dominated inside. "They rebound well and we are big on offensive rebounding". Collins was even better, with 14 points, 13 rebounds and six blocks. He finished 11 for 13 to match his career high with 25 points. He had four fouls at the time. But I don't know, I just felt like we did our homework.

The victor advances to the NCAA championship game on Monday, April 3, 2017, against the victor of the other Final 4 game between OR and North Carolina.

"To be playing the last game of the year, that's insane cool", Few said.

The Bulldogs will start three transfers - Nigel Williams-Goss (Washington), Johnathan Williams (Missouri) and Jordan Mathews (California) - against SC on Saturday. He did not return to the game before the end of the first half, but did to start the second.

Meeks, the only Tar Heel who could shoot straight Saturday night, muscled away the game-saving offensive rebound in a 77-76 victory over OR after ice-cold Carolina missed its fourth straight free throw down the stretch.

He was the last guy on his team to score, hitting a free throw with 3 seconds left that cut the lead to two. During that time, the Gamecocks drew five fouls, blocked three shots and forced the Zags into two additional turnovers. The second part is you've got to get the rebound, and that's what's been hard for us at times. The Gamecocks took a timeout, and it seemed logical that Southeastern Conference player of the year Sindarius Thornwell would get a touch.

"The plan was to miss it left and hopefully Chris (Silva) could tap it out to somebody", he said.

However Gonzaga were nearly left ruing what would have been an upset defeat when a 65-51 lead with 11 minutes to play turned into a 67-65 advantage for SC after 16 unanswered points. "I am glad my dad and the people around me keep my head in the game".

The only down side to being a nongraduate transfer is having to sit out a season, but Williams-Goss looked at that as a positive, and used it to refine his game. OR and UNC will tip off roughly 40 minutes after the conclusion of that game.

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The Bulldogs steadied themselves with a 7-0 run, punctuated by a dunk and a layup from Karnowski.

South Carolina's second round upset of Duke doesn't seem like that big of an upset anymore, given how well the Gamecocks played during the East Regional in NY. In the end however, it was ultimately not enough to knock off the No. 1 seeded Gonzaga Bulldogs, as the Zags triumphed over the Gamecocks 77-73.

"Since the beginning of the season that's what we worked for, moments like this", Silva said. "If we don't respond well, he's going to be here to support us and tell us what to do".

SC got 17 points from PJ Dozier and 15 from Sindarius Thornwell, who was held to 4-for-12 shooting.

"They have huge bodies and they are tall", the 6-10 Kotsar said. "We just really struggled without our glue out there when Karlie twisted her ankle".

MEN IN THE MIDDLE: Seven-foot-1 Przemek Karnowski is Gonzaga's center and he will be matched up with 6-10 Maik Kotsar of SC. He led the team with 8 points at the break.

"It was mostly my lower back, maybe a little bit going to my legs", he said.

" We trusted in him in everything", Thornwell said.

"Throughout the whole second half it was getting better and better", he said. SC had previously surrendered at least 90 points once this season. Finally in their first Final Four, the Zags are taking full advantage, too. Gonzaga had made three Elite Eights without advancing to the Final Four.

The rest of his team shot 14-for-55 from the floor (25 percent). Collins had six and Silas Melson had two for the Bulldogs.

P.J. Dozier led the rally and the Gamecocks on the day, scoring 17 points.

Williams-Goss is Boss: What a game changing grad transfer Nigel Williams-Goss has turned out to be for Gonzaga. Gonzaga vs SC scores and updates will be available here. He managed 15 points on just 4 of 12 shooting.

  • Phil Peters