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Saturday, October 19, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Bulldogs bow out Gonzaga shoved aside Overpowering Michigan State hands Zags a 77-62 dismissal

Gonzaga may have made it to three straight Sweet 16s.

But Michigan State has made it to three straight Elite Eights.

Friday, the Spartans showed how and why.

Using a punishing inside game, bigger players and better athletes, No.1 seed Michigan State wore down No.12 seed Gonzaga for a 77-62 victory in the South Regional of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament in the Georgia Dome.

The Spartans (27-4) advanced to play 11th-seeded Temple in the Elite Eight Sunday. Gonzaga ended its season with a 26-7 record.

“We made run after run and I thought we might eventually get them to tighten up and give us an edge,” said GU coach Mark Few. “But it just didn’t happen.”

It didn’t happen because MSU wouldn’t allow it. Any time Gonzaga got close, Michigan pushed right back. Harder.

“We couldn’t get anything going,” said GU’s Alex Hernandez. “They were so big, you would try to go inside and get contact, and that wasn’t happening.”

“We tried to run screens on the outside, and sometimes it would look like we were open for a second, but because of their size, we weren’t,” added GU guard Blake Stepp. “They just stayed right with you the whole time.”

Finally the Zags, undersized and outmanned, broke.

Leading by three points, 44-41, with 15:50 to go, Gonzaga began to stumble as Michigan State went on a 13-2 run. Charlie Bell, who scored a game-high 21 points, started hitting from the outside and Andre Hutson and Zach Randolph started going to work on the inside.

“We couldn’t get anything on our end and they were making everything,” said Stepp. “I think that took a lot out of us.”

It showed. Casey Calvary, who had 17 points and 11 rebounds, had no lift left in his legs. He wasn’t the only one. During Michigan State’s run, Gonzaga went 1 of 13 from the floor.

They were scoreless for 8 minutes. They also had four straight air balls. Calvary had two of those and went 1 of 6 from the floor in the second half.

“We just kept sending bodies on him and he started to wear down,” said Hutson. “Toward the end of the game he wasn’t playing post as much.

“He started to play the perimeter and that was a big key for us,” he continued. “He is a big inside force and when he’s not down there, making moves, it makes it easier for us.”

It also makes things a little bit easy when you get the rebounds. Michigan State certainly did that. The Spartans outrebounded Gonzaga 49-29. They had 18 offensive boards. In one sequence, MSU got three straight offensive boards, was finally fouled and made the free throws.

“Coach talked this week of them being a football school and playing like that out there,” said Hernandez. “That’s what they did. They were more physical than anyone we played this year.”

Coming in, the Zags were counting on their offense to offset Michigan State’s relentless inside attack. Point guard Dan Dickau had found ways all season to break out and knock down 3-pointers. But Bell never strayed from his side.

“All-around, he’s probably the best defender I’ve faced this year,” said Dickau, who had 19 points on 31 percent shooting. “He is a very strong and physical guard and he would not quit on the defensive side of the ball. That made it very tough to get open shots.”

That was not just true for Dickau. Gonzaga shot 51.3 percent from the floor this year. Against Michigan State, it shot 38 percent.

“We usually never have trouble scoring,” said Calvary. “But tonight, we didn’t execute and had trouble answering their runs.”

For the first 25 minutes, the Zags did answer the MSU runs. The Spartans led by as many as eight in the first half, 24-16. Gonzaga, with help off the bench from Anthony Reason, ripped off nine straight points to take the lead. Despite shooting 44 percent, the Zags continued to stay close in the first half. Calvary, who had 13 points and five boards, was one reason. But MSU’s shot selection was another.

“They posted up as well as anyone I’ve seen all season,” said MSU coach Tom Izzo. “Number two, we came out playing against one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the nation. They had taken eight 3-pointers, while we are one of the worst 3-point shooting teams and we had 13.”

The Spartans only made four of those 13.

Dickau had two of his own 3s at the start of the second half. Those along with a Mark Spink putback allowed GU to grab a 44-41 lead.

But that’s when Michigan State started its run to put the game away.

“We knew it was winning time,” said Bell. “That’s the time you have to suck it up and we did a great job of it.”

Michigan State 77, Gonzaga 62

FG FT Reb

GONZAGA Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS

Spink 24 4-7 2-2 1-5 1 2 10

Calvary 38 6-15 3-5 3-11 3 1 17

Gourde 18 1-2 2-2 0-2 0 4 4

Stepp 37 3-11 0-0 0-3 2 2 8

Dickau 40 6-17 2-3 2-4 2 4 19

Forbes 5 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Hernandez 13 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 3 0

Tricco 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Bankhead 3 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Reason 12 1-3 0-1 0-0 5 2 2

Violette 8 1-2 0-0 1-2 0 2 2

Sherrell 1 0-0 0-0 0-1 0 0 0

Totals 200 22-58 9-13 7-28 13 20 62

Percentages: FG .379, FT .692.

3-Point Goals: 9-22, .409 (Dickau 5-9, Calvary 2-2, Stepp 2-10, Reason 0-1).

Team Rebounds: 1. Blocked Shots: 2 (Calvary 2).

Turnovers: 10 (Dickau 5, Spink, Calvary, Gourde, Hernandez, Violette). Steals: 5 (Stepp 2, Spink, Gourde, Reason).

Technical Fouls: None.

FG FT Reb

MICHIGAN ST. Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS

Richardson 34 5-13 0-1 2-7 3 2 12

Anagonye 17 0-2 0-0 1-3 0 4 0

Hutson 29 8-11 3-4 4-10 3 2 19

Thomas 18 0-4 0-0 2-5 3 3 0

Bell 35 5-12 8-10 4-10 3 1 21

Taylor 23 3-9 0-0 0-0 5 1 6

Chappell 11 2-3 0-0 2-6 2 2 5

Andreas 4 0-1 0-0 1-1 0 0 0

Randolph 19 4-8 2-4 1-5 0 1 10

Ballinger 10 2-2 0-0 0-0 0 1 4

Totals 200 29-65 13-19 17-47 19 17 77

Percentages: FG .446, FT .684.

3-Point Goals: 6-20, .300 (Bell 3-8, Richardson 2-6, Chappell 1-2, Taylor 0-4).

Team Rebounds: 2.

Blocked Shots: 8 (Richardson 2, Ballinger 2, Anagonye, Hutson, Bell, Randolph).

Turnovers: 9 (Bell 2, Taylor 2, Richardson, Hutson, Thomas, Chappell, Randolph).

Steals: 7 (Richardson 4, Hutson, Bell, Taylor).

Technical Fouls: None.

Haltime: Michigan State 37, Gonzaga 32.

A-NA (NA).

Wordcount: 1138

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