The Gonzaga Bulldogs defeated the West Virginia Mountaineers 61-58 on Thursday at the SAP Center in San Jose, California in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. Here are the three keys to the Zags’ win:
With nearly a minute left and the Zags down by one, West Virginia’s Daxter Miles attempted two free throws and missed both. The Mountaineers grabbed the rebound and went for a layup, but Przemek Karnowski and Josh Perkins put pressure at the rim and blocked the shot. Nigel Williams-Goss grabbed the rebound and tossed it ahead to an open Jordan Mathews in the corner. Mathews collected the deflected pass and drilled his third 3 of the night to put Gonzaga ahead, 60-58.
Offensive player of the game
Mathews tied two Zags with a team-high 13 points and jumpstared Gonzaga’s offense early in the second half. The Bulldogs hit only one 3-pointer in the first half, but Mathews connected on a pair on back-to-back plays three minutes into the second half.
Mathews was fouled on the second 3-pointer and connected on the free throw, giving him seven points over two possessions and giving the Zags a 41-34 lead.
Three of his four field goals were shot from 3-point range. The final was the play of the game for the Bulldogs. Trailing 58-57, Perkins blocked a layup attempt by Nathan Adrian and the Zags quickly got the ball up the court. Williams-Goss’ pass to Mathews was deflected, but Mathews corralled it anyway and nailed a contested shot from deep to give GU the lead for good.
Defensive player of the game
Karnowski brought size and provided the majority of the pressure at the rim in his 29 minutes on the court. He assisted the Zags in holding West Virginia to only 16 points in the paint and helped limit the Mountaineers to just 27 percent (16 of 60) from the field. The senior center also pulled down five rebounds, three defensive.
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