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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Twice as sweet Gonzaga weathers Red Storm, heads back to Sweet 16

In the collective scream of the crowd, these are the voices that could be heard: “We’re going to the Sweet 16.” “We’re going to Albuquerque.” “I don’t believe it” “We’ve done it again.” Yes, the Gonzaga Bulldogs have done it again. They are going to the Sweet 16 for the second year in a row. The little Jesuit school that could beat the Beast from the Big East, St. John’s, 82-76 in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Saturday. “They are one of the best programs in America,” GU senior Matt Santangelo said about the Red Storm. “We are still fighting for respect. If people need to call this an upset or that we are a Cinderella team, then that’s OK because it means we are still playing and still winning and that’s what it is all about.” And so the road goes on and seemingly the party never ends. On to Albuquerque. On to a matchup with No. 6-seeded Purdue, an upset winner over third-seeded Oklahoma. On and on it goes. “To come in and do it again,” Gonzaga junior Mark Spink said, “just makes it all that much better.” “This is unbelievable for our program, for our school, for the entire town of Spokane,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. It’s even more unbelievable when you consider that no 10 seed has ever made it to back-to-back Sweet 16s. Add to that the fact that the last time a West Coast Conference team made it to back-to-back Sweet 16s was 1956-57 when Bill Russell was at San Francisco, and unbelievable doesn’t even begin to cover it. “To shine when all the lights are on, this is huge,” Few said. “They will wear the slipper well once again,” St. John’s coach Mike Jarvis said. But the slipper and the Cinderella label are something the Bulldogs do not want pinned to their jerseys. “That tag better be gone,” GU senior Ryan Floyd said. “It better be gone. Last year, we ran with it. Now, we’ve proven that last year was not a fluke. This year is not a fluke. We’re going to Albuquerque to get some wins.” “Nobody should be surprised that we’re back in the Sweet 16,” Gonzaga forward Casey Calvary said. “Last year, we set our sights on making the tournament. This year, we’ve set our sights a little higher.” So have the fans. “We’re not stopping here,” said Andrew Thompson, a freshman at GU. “All the way to Indianapolis,” added Hector Muldonado, also a student at Gonzaga. But first Albuquerque.