The Gonzaga Bulldogs defeated the South Carolina Gamecocks 77-73 on Saturday at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona in the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament. Here are the three keys to the Zags’ win:
Freshman center Zach Collins hit an open 3 at the top of the arc to snap South Carolina’s 16-0 run and put the Zags back on top, 68-67. Less than a minute later, Nigel Williams-Goss drove inside the key and passed to Przemek Karnowski, who powered through South Carolina’s Chris Silva and Sindarius Thornwell for a two-handed dunk. Collins and Karnowski added pressure at the rim on the other side of the floor and forced Silva to miss. On Gonzaga’s possession, Collins fed Karnowski the ball and the senior center fought through Silva and Thornwell again to hit a layup. The score capped off a 7-0 run for the Zags that put Gonzaga up 72-67.
Offensive player of the game
Williams-Goss scored a game-high 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting. The junior guard also made a couple of 3s, inlcuding one in the second half that put GU up 62-48. Williams-Goss had six assists in some key moments of the game, including a pass to Karnowski under the rim that set the big man up for a dunk. The shot gave the Zags a three-point lead over South Carolina. Williams-Goss was also perfect at the line, hitting all three foul shots.
Defensive player of the game
Collins had his first double-double in a Gonzaga uniform, scoring 14 points and pulling down 13 rebounds – 10 defensive. The freshman had a game-high six blocked shots against South Carolina. His final swat came with nearly a minute left. Collins smacked down a jumper by Thornwell that could have brought the Gamecocks within a points of the Zags.