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Updating coverage of (1) Gonzaga vs. (4) West Virginia in NCAA Tournament

UPDATED: Thu., March 23, 2017, 8:06 p.m.

Gonzaga coach Mark Few has a message for his team against Northwestern during their NCAA second round game, March 18, 2017, in Salt Lake City. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga coach Mark Few has a message for his team against Northwestern during their NCAA second round game, March 18, 2017, in Salt Lake City. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Gonzaga did it again, folks. A huge 3-pointer by Jordan Mathews off a deflected pass and some superlative defense by Nigel Williams-Goss on the final possession were enough for the Bulldogs to survive poor rebounding, ugly free-throw shooting and some officiating that neither team left the court feeling great about. The teams that go deep in March are the ones that can win ugly games, and the Bulldogs have won two in a row. They will play the winner of the Arizona-Xavier game that’s going on as I type.

FINAL: GU 61-58. Defense wins it for the Bulldogs. Carter missed two 3-pointers but WVU got offensive rebounds. Then the Bulldogs held until the game clock went off before the Mountaineers could get off a desperation final shot.

59.2 - Huge 3-pointer by Mathews after WVU misses two free throws. GU back on top, 60-58.

1:34 - Jevon Carter with a dagger 3-pointer out of the review. WVU now leads 58-55.

2:00 - Huge stepback 3-pointer from Miles Dexter Jr. ties it at 55.

2:48 - Nathan Adrian checks back in for WVU, but Carter picks up his fourth defending Goss on an inbound play. Goss makes one of two free throws. GU leads 55-52. Bulldogs just 18-of-28 from charity stripe.

3:15 - Goss steal. His layup is blocked but Silas Melson gets the rebound and score. GU takes a 54-52 lead.

4:50 - Williams-Goss ties it with a jumper.

5:41 - Karnowski has made one of his last three free throws. WVU leads 52-50. Williams-Goss checks back in with four fouls.

7:02 - Sagaba Konate gives WVU the lead with a dunk. Karnowski ties it back up with a layup. He was fouled and will go to the line after the timeout.

8:02 - Williams-Goss has four fouls, the last two on offense. WVU has a lot of momentum right now.

8:46 - WVU has tied it at 47 apiece. GU has missed its last six shots.

10:46 - Now Nathan Adrian picks up his fourth foul while fighting Williams for a rebound. Huggins sits him. Williams misses the free throw.

11:15 - Carter picks up his third foul. Huggins will leave him in. Williams-Goss hits two free throws to give GU a 47-43 lead.

11:33 - And-one for Carter, who is WVU’s sole source of offense right now. GU 45-43.

11:59 - Gonzaga’s gone a couple minutes without points. All WVU’s got in that time is a 3-pointer from Jevon Carter. GU still up 45-40. Karnowski and Williams have combined for 25 points on 9-of-12 shooting.

13:49 - Back-to-back buckets for Karnowski. Now it’s GU getting the offensive boards. Huggins calls timeout with GU leading, 45-38.

15:09 - WVU forard Nathan Adrian just picked up his third foul. He’s the frontman in WVU’s press.

17:00 - Jordan Mathew hits a 3-pointer. That’s big, each team only hit one in the first half. Next possession down he hits another, and is fouled. The seven quick points for Mathews gives GU a 41-34 lead, its biggest of the game.

17:40 - Williams is back in the game and he promptly draws a foul and hits two free throws. GU leads 34-32.

HALFTIME: The score is tied 30-30. Gonzaga has used a pretty deep bench to combat fatigue and foul trouble. Johnathan Williams played just eight minutes and scored 11 points.

1:39 - Fouls called on WVU’s two most important defenders, Jevon Carter and Nathan Adrian, on consecutive possessions. That will help GU. Perkins and Williams-Goss only make two of the four free throws, though. GU leads 28-26.

3:08 - WVU takes the lead on Nathan Adrian’s reverse layup. Gonzaga ties it back up at 24 on a Karnowski hook shot. But the Bulldogs are getting murdered on the boards.

6:38 - Gonzaga is outshooting WVU 44% to 26%, but the Mountaineers are keeping it close by getting extra opportunities. They’ve already got six offensive boards.

7:46 - Williams hits a 3-pointer. He’s got 11 points on four shots. But then he’s called for his second foul so Few pulls him out. GU leads 21-16.

8:37 - Rui Hachimura is already into the game. That’s interesting. WVU called for its third travel. GU leads 18-16.

10:00 - Williams was the key player in the game’s first quarter. He’s got 8 points on 3-for-3 shooting, and is bringing the ball up the court on some possessions. GU leads 16-13.

11:38 - Second media timeout. Both teams are struggling to get good looks at the basket and both teams have turned it over three times. GU leads, 13-9, but Josh Perkins just picked up his second personal foul.

15:10 - At the first media timeout, Gonzaga leads 10-6. My initial impression is that the officials are going to let WVU get away with a lot on their press - the Mountaineers are bodying Williams-Goss and the officials are letting them play. However, the officials have a quick whistle on WVU when it comes to travels, calling two already. Go figure. Johnathan Williams made a big impact early, scoring five points on 2-for-2 shooting, and helping out against the press. Mark Few gave him a breather early on, however, and Killian Tillie has been on the floor the last minute or so. It looks like Few is saving Zach Collins in what is shaping up to be a very physical game.

17:51 - GU’s lead is now 5-4. All four WVU points have come at the free-throw line. The Bulldogs aren’t really doing anything special against WVU’s full-court press, simply getting the ball to Williams-Goss and having him get the ball up the court.

18:32 - Bulldogs beat the press again and Jordan Mathews gets an and-one. He hits the free throw so GU has an early 5-0 lead.

19:40- Quick foul on Johnathan Williams, who was tagged by the official while going for an offensive rebound. Bulldogs get a stop on the opposite end, which leads to an alley-oop from Williams-Goss to Williams.

4:27 p.m. - The National Anthem has been played. Bob Huggins and Mark Few have shaken hands. All that’s left is to wait the last few minutes until tipoff.

4:17 p.m. - Starting to feel some energy in the building. We’re about 18 minutes from tipoff and both teams are going through their dunk lines. The West Virginia kids in particular seem pretty loose - one guy just did a 360-dunk. I think there are more Gonzaga fans than WVU fans, but they’re more interspersed, just like they were in Salt Lake City.

3:48 p.m. - Yesterday, a television reporter who shall remain nameless remarked to me that he/she was having a tough time getting usable footage of West Virginia for the broadcast, because the Mountaineers missed so many shots during their shootaround. I noticed the same thing, and it’s holding true again today - they just don’t make a very high percentage of their shots in warmups. But folks, I also had an AAU coach tell me he could always tell my team was going to have a good game shooting when we missed our warmup shots, and that the opposite was true as well. Ultimately, none of this means anything. But it’s 45 minutes until tipoff and I get paid more the longer your eyeballs stay on this webpage.

3:44 p.m. - Now the Bulldogs are on the floor. They’re shooting around while the Mountaineers stretch. The tension has yet to arrive.

3:35 p.m. - West Virginia is the first team out on the court. The Mountaineers aren’t really doing anything, per se, just sort of milling about. No sign of the Bulldogs, yet, though special assistant Ken Bone is chatting with some folks in the front row. I covered Bone for a year at Washington State and have yet to meet someone with a bigger rolodex of college basketball acquaintances.

3:06 p.m. - Welcome back, everybody. I hope you had a restful week. The Spokesman-Review Crew is in San Jose and I’m here at the SAP Center to keep you updated with everything that happens in today’s game between top-seeded Gonzaga and four-seed West Virginia. I know with a 4 p.m. tip there will be a strong temptation to follow along while you sit in rush hour, but keep those eyes on the road and pass your phone to a carpooling coworker.

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