SALT LAKE CITY – Well, the Bulldogs did it. There were some ugly moments and Gonzaga did not lead until the first half was almost over. But the NCAA Tournament is all about survive-and-advance and the Bulldogs did both, beating South Dakota State 66-46 to earn a Saturday matchup against the winner of the upcoming game between Northwestern and Vanderbilt.
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1:10 - Go ahead an update your brackets, folks. The Bulldogs looked a little sloppy at times and they shot horribly. But they’ll survive this early challenge from a spirited South Dakota State squad. GU leads by 20 and will play either Northwestern or Vanderbilt on Saturday.
6:21 - Working on the running game story now so updates will be sparse. But the Bulldogs have the game well in hand, leading 52-35.
10:00 - Silas Melson may have just ended it. His dagger 3-pointer with exactly 10 minutes left put the Bulldogs up 48-33, forcing SDSU coach T.J. Otzelberger to call timeout.
13:00 - Jordan Mathews hits a deep jumper to end a three-minute scoring drought. Williams follows with a dunk. SDSU is still hanging around, trailing 44-33.
16:01 - Brutal sequence for the Jackrabbits as Jordan Mathews hits a corner 3-pointer and Michael Orris appears to have injured his leg. Looks like he will be out for at least a while. GU leads 40-28.
17:20 - Nigel Williams-Goss hits a layup, prompting an SDSU timeout. Gonzaga has a chance to finally put the Jackrabbits away and leads, 35-26.
17:53 - Jordan Mathews hits a layup and is fouled. He misses the free throw but Williams gets the offensive rebound. The Bulldogs can’t capitalize but are still starting to create some distance and lead, 33-26.
19:13 - SDSU starts off the second half the same way they started the first: with a bucket on the first possession. This time Perkins answers with a 3. GU up 29-24.
Oh gross pic.twitter.com/qYPuH1RGXe— Jacob Thorpe (@JacobThorpeSR) March 16, 2017
HALFTIME - Collins’ jumper is no good and GU takes a 26-22 lead into halftime.
0:12.2 - Good defense by Williams-Goss forces a shot clock violation. GU will get the last shot.
1:38 - Gonzaga takes its first lead of the game on a Zach Collins layup. But SDSU is headed to the line.
4:32 - Starting SDSU forward Lane Severyn picks up his third foul while going for a defensive rebound. The foul sends Jordan Mathews to the line. He makes both free throws to make the score 19-19.
5:28 - It appears Williams-Goss was just called for a kicked-ball violation after tipping the ball with his hand. Williams-Goss isn’t happy. Some soccer player somewhere sympathizes, surely.
8:57 - Williams-Goss makes one of two free throws to tie the game at 15. These teams are scoring at a snail’s pace so far, and the Bulldogs have yet to lead.
13:20 - Jordan Mathews hits GU’s first 3-pointer. It only took the Bulldogs six attempts to connect from outside. SDSU still leads 12-9 after a pair of second-chance points following Mathews’ shot. Oh, but now Zach Collins ties it with a 3-pointer. Things are happening faster than I can type them. Apologies.
15:33 - Look at that big man move! Przemek Karnowski with an athletic steal after he makes a jumper to pull within 8-6.
16:51 - Probably too early for an upset alert, but SDSU leads 8-2 after three minutes. The Bulldogs don’t look great, and the underdogs are playing fearlessly.
18:45 - Williams atones for the airball with an offensive rebound and score to tie it up.
19:32 - Bad sign for Gonzaga? South Dakota State won the tip and took a 2-0 on Mike Daum’s jumper. Then, GU’s Johnathan Williams’s 3-point attempt missed everything.3 minutes until tipoff - Looks like a pretty solid turnout for the early game. South Dakota State has a blue block of about 50 fans across from the team’s bench, while Gonzaga’s fans are more spread out throughout teh arena. I don’t see many Northwestern fans yet, but expect plenty of purple and white in the stands for the second half. 20 minutes until tipoff -
GU starters: Williams, Mathews, Williams-Goss, Perkins and Karnowski. SDSU: Howell, Tellinghuisen, Daum, Severyn, Orris.— Jim Meehan (@SRJimm) March 16, 2017
10:16 a.m. - Greetings from The Crossroads of the West. This is Jacob Thorpe taking some time off from the WSU Cougars beat to help out with our extensive coverage of Gonzaga’s NCAA Tournament run.
As always, Jim Meehan will write the story from the game, John Blanchette will make his opinions known and Whitney Ogden will provide the color from today’s game. That means I get to do the fun stuff.
I’ll be providing live updates from the game right here for those of you who can’t get to a TV. So hide that smartphone from your boss and refresh it constantly, the newest updates will be near the top.
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