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Cheers, jeers from stands came from Boise State, not Gonzaga, fans in first round of tournament

UPDATED: Thu., March 15, 2018, 10:19 p.m.

Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Rui Hachimura (21) reacts after his team narrowly escaped UNCG during the second half of the first round of the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament on Thursday, March 15, 2018, at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. Gonzaga won the game 68-64. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Rui Hachimura (21) reacts after his team narrowly escaped UNCG during the second half of the first round of the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament on Thursday, March 15, 2018, at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. Gonzaga won the game 68-64. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

BOISE – There were a lot of fair-weather fans in the stands for Gonzaga’s 68-64 win over UNC Greensboro in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday.

With the Gonzaga fan base in Boise, and with the game being within reasonable driving distance of Spokane, Taco Bell Arena was expected to feel more like a home game for the Zags. Instead, the arena was filled with mostly Boise State fans, who directed their cheers to whoever looked like the winners.

For most of the game, it was Gonzaga that got the big cheers. But the sea of orange and blue changed its course once the Spartans tried a comeback in the final minutes. They were completely turned when UNCG’s Francis Alonso hit a jumper with seven minutes left that pulled the Spartans within three points.

Near the end of the game, the fans’ loyalties were blurred by a thriller that came down to the final seconds.

The close games always make for a good time at the arena, but not for the Gonzaga fans who traveled there.

“(Those games) are fun to watch, but not when your team’s down, and it’s the Big Dance,” one Gonzaga fan said after the game.

“We were pretty upset up until the last 3-pointer,” another fan chimed in.

The fans in the stands switched to cheering for the Zags for good when Zach Norvell Jr. secured Gonzaga’s win with a 3-pointer and free throw in the final seconds.


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