Gonzaga leaves no doubt, routs Xavier to earn trip to Final Four - 2 hours ago
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This is what a Final Four sounds like: A thunderous ovation from Gonzaga fans inside the SAP Center for Jordan Mathews (6'4''-G-94) when the curtain calls started with 2:15 remaining. This is what it looks like: Victory in hand and the program's first Final Four clinched, Nigel Williams-Goss stood alone near midcourt with tears in his eyes. 'I just thought about the journey that it took to get here,' Williams-Goss said. 'Transferring (from Washington) and sitting out, having ankle surgery... [read more]
This is what a Final Four sounds like: A thunderous ovation from Gonzaga fans inside the SAP Center for Jordan Mathews (6'4''-G-94) when the curtain calls started with 2:15 remaining. This is what it looks like: Victory in hand and the program's first Final Four clinched, Nigel Williams-Goss stood alone near midcourt with tears in his eyes. 'I just thought about the journey that it took to get here,' Williams-Goss said. 'Transferring (from Washington) and sitting out, having ankle surgery last year and just battling everything that we went through this year. 'We had a plan for ourselves. We believed from Day One that we could get to Phoenix. We didn't shy away from setting that goal. And to be 50 seconds away and kind of check off that last goal that I had, it was just a ton of emotion.' Gonzaga knocked on the Final Four door twice before. The Zags didn't bother knocking Saturday. They kicked the door down, trampling Xavier 83-59 in the West Regional final and delivering the biggest milestone yet in program history. Coach Mark Few hugged his assistants and every player on the bench as the final seconds ticked away. Minutes later on a portable stage, Few held the West Regional trophy and asked the crowd: 'How good were these guys tonight?' Answer: As good as they've been all season. The top-seeded Zags (36-1) took apart No. 11 Xavier (24-14) at both ends of the court. Gonzaga will face the winner of Sunday's Florida-South Carolina game in a national semifinal next Saturday at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. West Regional most outstanding player Johnathan Williams III (6'9''-F-95) had arguably his best game with 19 points, eight rebounds, three blocks and two steals. Williams-Goss hit four 3-pointers and scored 23 points to go with eight boards and four assists. Josh Perkins (6'3''-G) and Jordan Mathews combined for five 3-pointers and 22 points. The Musketeers made their game plan clear early, packing the paint and taking its chances that Gonzaga couldn't convert beyond the 3-point arc. It backfired as the Zags drained eight 3s in the first half and 12 in the game. Five players connected from distance in the first half, which opened up space for Williams, Przemyslaw Karnowski (7'1''-C-93) and Zach Collins (7'0''-F-97). 'I don't know why they would try to do that,' GU guard Silas Melson said. 'If you ask me we're a team full of shooters. You can do that if you want to. They were giving us open 3s, sagging on our post feeds.' Gonzaga had its best half offensively by far in the tournament, bolting in front 49-39 on 54.5-percent shooting. There were fireworks at the end of the half. Williams-Goss spun inside for a floater in the closing seconds but J.P. Macura stunned the crowd with a 75-footer. Officials reviewed the play and determined it came after the buzzer, leaving GU's lead at 10. Xavier was a handful offensively, using dribble penetration to put foul pressure on Collins (three) and Przemyslaw Karnowski (two) in the opening half. The second half was a different story. The Musketeers managed just 20 points. Xavier wing Trevon Bluiett (6'6''-G-94), who averaged 25 points in the first three NCAA games, made 3 of 14 shots and scored 10 points. Williams guarded the talented 6-foot-6 wing at the outset. GU also had success with a zone defense for the second straight game. 'They run a lot of sets for him and he gets lot of easy shots in those,' Williams said. 'He can play from all three levels, shoot the 3, make pull-ups and get to the rim. Like the South Dakota State kid (Mike Daum), you can't stop everything but if you make life hard for them that's even better.' Courtesy of: spokesman.com
District 1 1st Team Justin Robinson (5'8''-PG-95) of Monmouth Jordan Washington (6'8''-F) of Iona Tyler Nelson (6'3''-G) of Fairfield Trae Bell-Haynes (6'2''-G) of Vermont Lucas Woodhouse (6'3''-G) of Stony Brook 2nd Team Tanner Leissner (6'7''-F-95) of New Hampshire Marquis Wright (6'1''-G) of Siena Micah Seaborn (6'5''-G-95) of Monmouth Brett Bisping (6'8''-F) of Siena Anthony Lamb (6'6''-F) of Vermont District 2 1st Team Luke Kennard (6'5''-G-96) of Duke Justin Jackson (6'8''-F-95)... [read more]
Kansas City. MO - Since Chris Boucher went down with a knee injury in the Pac-12 Tournament, Tyler Dorsey and Jordan Bell(6'9''-F-95) stepped up their games to help Oregon get to the Elite Eight. Dorsey and Bell stepped it to another level tonight to lead the Ducks past Kansas 74-60 in the Midwest Regional Finals to send Oregon to their first trip to the Final Four since 1939. And then it wasn't really a Final Four. They will face the winner of the South Regional final between North Carol... [read more]
Kansas City. MO - Since Chris Boucher went down with a knee injury in the Pac-12 Tournament, Tyler Dorsey and Jordan Bell (6'9''-F-95) stepped up their games to help Oregon get to the Elite Eight. Dorsey and Bell stepped it to another level tonight to lead the Ducks past Kansas 74-60 in the Midwest Regional Finals to send Oregon to their first trip to the Final Four since 1939. And then it wasn't really a Final Four. They will face the winner of the South Regional final between North Carolina and Kentucky in the national semifinals.
Dorsey led the game with 27 points hitting several key three-pointers, the most important after Kansas cut Oregon's lead to 66-60 with slightly under two minutes left. That was the icing on the cake as the Jayhawks did not score again. Bell was all over the court, scoring 11 points, grabbing 13 rebounds, blocking eight shots and even getting four assists. On one series Bell got free for a dunk and then sprinted down the court in time to block a shot a the rim. Dillon Brooks added 17 points including a long, key second half three-pointer and Dylan Ennis added an efficient 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting.
Kansas seemed out of sorts in this game after freshman sensation Josh Jackson picked up his second foul in the first three minutes of action. Coach Dana Altman mixed up Oregon's defense using a zone press to slow the Jayhawks offense down and mixing in zones and man-to man. Jackson and guard Devonte' Graham each went scoreless in the first half. All-American guard Frank Mason kept Kansas relatively close with 17 first half points but he couldn't do it alone. Mason needed 20 shots to score his team-high 21 points and had to take the offense on himself as he received little help from his teammates.
Dorsey's long three-pointer at the close of the first half gave Oregon a 44-33 halftime lead. They extended the lead to 18 points (55-37) before Kansas made a run to close the deficit to six. Then Oregon scored the final eight points of the game.
Kansas, the favorite playing before a virtual home crowd, was dominant in their first three games winning them by an average of 30 points and scoring at least 90 points in each. Oregon's defense held them to 60 and their perimeter defense helped Kansas shoot a paltry 5-of-25 from deep. Oregon, helped by Dorsey's 6-of-10 from distance, shot 11-of-25 from beyond the arc. Oregon had a +4 edge in rebounding but what was more important was Bell's eight blocks. On many possessions you could see Kansas hesitate in taking the ball inside. Kansas did not have the rim protector that Oregon had and that was a big difference in the game.
Overall Oregon shot 51 percent for the game while holding Kansas to 35 percent shooting. Jackson finished with 10 second half points and grabbed 12 rebounds while Graham only made three free throws while shooting 0-of-7 from the field.
When Boucher went down with his injury most prognosticators assumed Oregon would be eliminated by now. However the injury created an urgency in the rest of the team, particularly Dorsey and Bell who are now playing at a level far above their performance during the regular season. While the Ducks are down to mainly a six man rotation they've proven that they can beat anyone as long as they can keep Jordan Bell on the floor protecting the basket.
It's on to Phoenix and the Final Four for the Oregon Ducks.
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