Analysis: Zach Norvell Jr., Rui Hachimura lead Gonzaga past Ohio State

Gonzaga forward Rui Hachimura roars after scoring and fouled against Ohio State, Saturday, March, 17, 2018, at Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Id. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga forward Rui Hachiura rejects a shot by Keita Bates-Diop of Ohio State, Saturday, March, 17, 2018, at Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Id. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga guard Zach Norvell Jr. muscles a rebound against Ohio State, Saturday, March, 17, 2018, at Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Id. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga guard Josh Perkins crashes into the Zag bench chasing a ball against Ohio State, Saturday, March, 17, 2018, at Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Id. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga center Jacob Larson (14) and forward Corey Kispert battle Ohio State forwards Kaleb Wesson (34) and Kyle Young for a rebound, Saturday, March, 17, 2018, at Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Id. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga forward Rui Hachimura rejects a shot by Ohio State forward JaeÕSean Tate, Saturday, March, 17, 2018, at Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Id. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga fans Liam Lloyd (towel) and AJ Few (headband), sons of Zag coaches, roar with delight for GU against Ohio State on Saturday at Taco Bell Arena in Boise. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga forward Jeremy Jones (22) and guard Josh Perkins pressure Ohio State guard C,J. Jackson, Saturday, March, 17, 2018, at Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Id. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga forward Johnathan Williams battles Ohio State forward Kaleb Wesson for a rebound, Saturday, March, 17, 2018, at Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Id. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Rui Hachimura (21) shoots against Ohio State during the first half of the second round of the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Rui Hachimura (21) shoots foul shots after picking up a flagrant foul from Ohio State Buckeyes forward Kaleb Wesson (34) during the first half of the second round of the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga forward Rui Hachimura is fouled by Ohio State forward Kaleb Wesson during the first half Saturday at Taco Bell Arena in Boise. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Rui Hachimura (21) rebounds the ball during the first half of the second round of the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga Bulldogs head coach Mark Few reacts to an early play during the first half of the second round of the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Josh Perkins (13) drives the ball during the first half of the second round of the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Ohio State Buckeyes forward Andre Wesson (24) passes against Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Zach Norvell Jr. (23) during the first half of the second round of the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Josh Perkins (13) shoots against Ohio State Buckeyes forward Keita Bates-Diop (33) during the first half of the second round of the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Rui Hachimura (21) blocks a shot by Ohio State Buckeyes forward Keita Bates-Diop (33) during the first half of the second round of the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Silas Melson (0) drives to the hoop against Ohio State during the first half of the second round of the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Zach Norvell Jr. (23) is fouled by Ohio State Buckeyes guard Kam Williams (15) during the first half of the second round of the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Zach Norvell Jr. (23) rebounds the ball against Ohio State Buckeyes guard Kam Williams (15) during the first half of the second round of the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Ohio State Buckeyes guard C.J. Jackson (3) drives against Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Josh Perkins (13) during the first half of the second round of the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Ohio State Buckeyes guard C.J. Jackson (3) reaches for the ball against Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Killian Tillie (33) during the first half of the second round of the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Zach Norvell Jr. (23) looks for a shot against Ohio State during the first half of the second round of the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Zach Norvell Jr. (23) shoots against Ohio State Buckeyes center Micah Potter (0) during the first half of the second round of the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Killian Tillie (33) rebounds the ball during the first half of the second round of the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Zach Norvell Jr. (23) drives to the basket during the first half of the second round of the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga and Ohio State vie for a rebound during the first half of the second round of the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga guard Zach Norvell Jr. battles Ohio State guard JaeÕSean Tate for a loose ball, Saturday, March, 17, 2018, at Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Id. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga guard Zach Norvell Jr. hits a big 3-pointer late over Ohio State forward Andre Wesson on Saturday. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga guard Zach Norvell Jr. beats Ohio State guard Kam Williams, right, and forward Keita Bates-Diop to the basket, Saturday, March, 17, 2018, at Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Id. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Johnathan Williams (3) dunks the ball during the first half of the second round of the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga guard Silas Melson battles Ohio State guard Kam Williams for a loose ball, Saturday, March, 17, 2018, at Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Id. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga guard Zach Norvell Jr. takes Ohio State Kaleb Wesson the the basket, Saturday, March, 17, 2018, at Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Id. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga guard Corey Kiispert signals a 3-pint basket by teammate Zach Norvell Jr. against Ohio State, Saturday, March, 17, 2018, at Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Id. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Josh Perkins (13) reaches for the ball against Ohio State Buckeyes guard Andrew Dakich (13) during the first half of the second round of the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Ohio State reacts as they extend their lead over Gonzaga during the second half of the second round of the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Ohio State Buckeyes forward Jae'Sean Tate (1) snags the ball from Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Silas Melson (0) during the second half of the second round of the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Ohio State forward Keita Bates-Diop shoots against Gonzaga during the second half Saturday at Taco Bell Arena in Boise. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Johnathan Williams (3) during the second half of the second round of the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga band members cheer for the Zags against Ohio State, Saturday, March, 17, 2018, at Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Id. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Jade Wade, wife of Gonzaga guard Jesse Wade cheers on the Zags against Ohio State, Saturday, March, 17, 2018, at Taco Bell Arena in Boise. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Jade Wade, wife of Gonzaga guard Jesse Wade, cheers for the Zags against Ohio State, Saturday, March, 17, 2018, at Taco Bell Arena in Boise. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga guard Zach Norvell Jr. is horse-collared by Ohio State Kam Williams, Saturday, March, 17, 2018, at Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Id. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Silas Melson (0) lays in the ball against Ohio State during the second half of the second round of the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Rui Hachimura (21) battles Ohio State during the second half of the second round of the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Ohio State Buckeyes forward Keita Bates-Diop (33) lays in the ball against Gonaga during the second half of the second round of the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga head coach Mark Few makes a point during the first half of Saturday’s win over Ohio State. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga sophomore forward Rui Hachimura finished 6 for 12 from the free-throw line in Saturday’s victory against Ohio State in Boise. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Ohio State Buckeyes' bench reacts during the second half of the second round of the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Ohio State Buckeyes guard Kam Williams (15) shoots against Gonzaga during the second half of the second round of the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
A new Gonzaga fan cheers during the second half of the second round of the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Ohio State Buckeyes guard Kam Williams (15) reacts against Gonzaga during the second half of the second round of the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Silas Melson (0) grabs a loose ball against Ohio State Buckeyes guard Musa Jallow (2) during the second half of the second round of the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Rui Hachimura (21) celebrates during the second half of the second round of the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Killian Tillie (33) chest bumps Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Josh Perkins (13) as they begin to rebuild their lead against Ohio State during the first half of the second round of the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
GU's bench reacts during the second half of the second round of the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga players Jesse Wade, Jeremy Jones, Johnathan Williams and Corey Kispert, left to right, celebrate a basket by teammate Killian Tillie against Ohio State on Saturday at Taco Bell Arena in Boise. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga forward Rui Hachimura finished the game with a slam dunk against Ohio State, Saturday, March, 17, 2018, at Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Id. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga guards Josh Perkins and Zach Norvell Jr. celebrate the win over Ohio State, Saturday, March, 17, 2018, at Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Id. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Joel Ayayi (11) celebrates with Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Rui Hachimura (21) after they defeated Ohio State during the second half of the second round of the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga coach Mark Few embraces guard Zach Norvell Jr. after the Zags defeated Ohio State, Saturday, March, 17, 2018, at Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Id. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Corey Kispert (24) celebrates as he heads off the court after defeating Ohio State in the second round of the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Rui Hachimura (21) heads off the court after defeating Ohio State during the second round of the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Zach Norvell Jr. (23) embraces guard Silas Melson (0) as guard Josh Perkins (13) after they defeated Ohio State in the second round of the 2018 NCAA Basketball Tournament on Saturday, March 17, 2018, at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

BOISE – One shining moment deserves another.

Zach Norvell Jr. is two for two in that department, and his NCAA Tournament career is all of two games old.

The redshirt freshman wing had company in sophomore forward Rui Hachimura, who made huge plays at both ends of the floor as the fourth-seeded Zags outplayed No. 5 Ohio State in crunch time.

Two nights after burying a late 3-pointer to sink UNC Greensboro, Norvell was back at it with a season-high 28 points as the Zags rallied for a 90-84 victory Saturday in front of 11,686 at Taco Bell Arena to reach the Sweet 16 for the fourth consecutive season.

“Crazy, crazy to see him play like that,” forward Killian Tillie said of Norvell. “It’s cool when you have somebody like that on your team. Just pass the ball to him and win games.”

It wasn’t quite that simple, but Norvell did supply a ridiculous stat line. He made 6 of 11 3s, 6 of 8 free throws on a night when the Zags misfired until the closing minutes, a season-high 12 rebounds, four assists and two steals.

“Getting 12 rebounds is big for me,” Norvell said. Cracked head coach Mark Few, seated nearby: “He goes a month sometimes without getting a rebound.”

Hachimura added a career-best 25 points and he couldn’t have timed his first 3-pointer since late November any better. His dagger 3 as the shot clock was about to expire capped an 11-0 run that put Gonzaga up 73-67 with 3:40 left.

ZAGS with another CLUTCH THREE! 😳#MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/GivupadiXr

— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 18, 2018

“Not really,” smiled Hachimura, when asked if he was comfortable launching the shot.

All that pre-game talk about Ohio State (25-9) being much improved from an 86-59 loss administered by GU at the PK80 in November seemed like hot air for the first 20 minutes.

Gonzaga (32-4), which will meet the winner of Sunday’s No. 1 Xavier/No. 9 Florida State game on Thursday in Los Angeles, breezed to a 15-0 lead with Norvell knocking down consecutive 3-pointers and Hachimura adding seven points in three minutes.

The Zags hit some turbulence as forwards Hachimura, Tillie and Johnathan Williams each picked up two fouls. That forced GU to use unusual combinations on the floor and OSU forward Keita Bates-Diop took advantage, scoring 14 first-half points and adding a nice assist when the Zags tried a double-team.

The Buckeyes started chipping away but the Zags still led 44-33 lead at half, reminiscent of Gonzaga’s 44-31 advantage at intermission in the PK80.

OSU dominated the first 14 minutes of the second half behind Bates-Diop, who finished with 28 points, and guards C.J. Jackson and Kam Williams, who combined for 26 second-half points.

There was good stuff on the court when whistles weren’t echoing off the arena walls. There were curious calls throughout, but the end result was both teams were without key players for long stretches. OSU capitalized, making 13 of 16 free throws to GU’s 19 of 31.

The Buckeyes led 67-62 just inside the 6-minute mark when the Zags flipped the momentum.

As usual, Norvell was in the middle of it.

“It looked like a step-back, corner 3 that was really well defended by Andre Wesson,” Buckeyes coach Chris Holtmann said. “That was a crushing blow.”

Ohio State and Gonzaga are exchanging threes in CRUNCH TIME! 👌#MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/2GqZJu7L5R

— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 18, 2018

Crushing blow No. 1, as it turned out. Tillie’s three-point play and a Norvell-assisted Josh Perkins layup kept the run going and Hachimura ended it with a clutch 3-pointer, breaking a personal 0-for-16 stretch.

Norvell added another 3, Hachimura swatted Bates-Diop’s layup attempt – one of his four rejections – and the Zags finally started finding the mark at the free-throw line to close out the Buckeyes.

Zags with the HUGE DENIAL! 🚫#MarchMadness pic.twitter.com/L5Zb6VKWTv

— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 18, 2018

“Just the fight that we always have,” Norvell said. “When they went on the run, any other team in the country puts their head down and thinks it was over, but nobody in the huddle felt like we were going to lose. That’s big. We have that positive energy coming in, even off a bad stretch.”

Energy, leadership, game-changing buckets: Norvell’s bringing all of it.

“He’s got that persona that we really need in our program, quite frankly,” Few said. “We have an overabundance of introverts, and that’s one thing he’s not. I call him our spiritual leader. He gets us going every practice, even the ones they don’t want to be at.”