Gonzaga plays Xavier in a NCAA Elite Eight game at the SAP Center in San Jose, Saturday, March 25, 2017.
When he saw the subs being sent to the scorer’s table – the basketball valedictory – the emotions finally burst inside of Nigel Williams-Goss. He sprinted to a corner where the sideline met the half-court line, squatted and rested his head in his hands.
Gonzaga wasn’t at its best while winning its first three games in the NCAA tournament. But the Zags were on Saturday when it mattered the most. They looked like the November through February Zags, the squad that steamrolled opponents with precision offense and suffocating defense.
“Gonzaga is headed to the Final Four.” And with that Brian Anderson statement seconds after the Bulldogs’ 83-59 Elite Eight victory over Xavier ended, Zags fans around the nation could finally breathe.
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 along the way and delivering the biggest milestone yet in the proud program’s history.