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Gonzaga-Xavier: 3 keys to the Bulldogs’ 83-59 win

The Gonzaga Bulldogs defeated the Xavier Musketeers 83-59 on Saturday at the SAP Center in San Jose, California in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. Here are the three keys to the Zags’ win:

Key moment

Gonzaga guard Nigel Williams-Goss (5) hits a 3-pointer in the first half against Xavier on Saturday. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga guard Nigel Williams-Goss (5) hits a 3-pointer in the first half against Xavier on Saturday. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

At the beginning of the second half, Gonzaga used a 10-3 run to create some seperation from Xavier. Przemek Karnowski started the run with a hook shot and less than a minute later Nigel Williams-Goss nailed a 3. After Josh Perkins secured an offensive rebound to keep GU’s next possession alive, Johnathan Williams found Jordan Mathews open for 3. Williams capped the run by picking the offensive rebound from Karnowski’s missed shot at the rim and making a layup to give the Zags a 59-42 lead.

Offensive player of the game

Gonzaga forward Johnathan Williams slams over Xavier in an NCAA Elite Eight game, Saturday, March 25, 2017, in San Jose, California. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga forward Johnathan Williams slams over Xavier in an NCAA Elite Eight game, Saturday, March 25, 2017, in San Jose, California. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

Williams became a force under the basket against Xavier as he racked up 19 points for the Zags. He consistently forced his way behind a defender and to the rim. Despite a rough day at the line (2 of 8), the forward had the most baskets on the court. He shot 8 of 12 from the field, including a make from 3-point range.

Defensive player of the game

Gonzaga forward Johnathan Williams (3) grabs a rebound during the first half an NCAA Elite Eight game, Saturday, March 25, 2017, in San Jose, California. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga forward Johnathan Williams (3) grabs a rebound during the first half an NCAA Elite Eight game, Saturday, March 25, 2017, in San Jose, California. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Williams provided defensive pressure on the inside as Gonzaga’s center, Karnowski and Zach Collins, suffered early foul trouble that kept them off the floor for half of the game. Williams grabbed a couple of steals, including one in the second half that he turned into a quick layup to put the Zags up 63-47. Williams stayed on one of Xavier’s top shooters Trevon Bluiett and limited the guard to only seven points. Williams had three blocks and pulled down eight rebounds, inlcuding a game-high five offensive boards that helped the Zags to 15 second-chance points.



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