The Gonzaga Bulldogs defeated the South Dakota State Jackrabbits 66-46 on Thursday at the Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Here are the three keys to the Zags’ win:
The Zags went on an 8-0 run in the second half that pushed SDSU’s deficit to double digits for the rest of the game. Jordan Mathews started the run with a jumper. On SDSU’s next possession, Chris Howell went up for a layup, but Gonzaga’s Zach Collins came up from behind and blocked the shot. Johnathan Williams followed with a two-handed dunk and Silas Melson closed out the run with a 3.
Offensive player of the game
Collins stepped in and sparked Gonzaga’s offense in a difficult first half. In a one-minute, 12-second span, the 7-foot freshman scored six straight points to give the Zags their first lead of the game, 23-22. He finished with 10 points, shooting 3 of 5 from the field, including a 3.
Defensive player of the game
Williams kept pressure on SDSU’s Mike Daum, who is second in the nation in scoring this season. Williams helped hold Daum to only 11 points well into the second half before the Jackrabbits’ big man finished with 17. Williams also pulled down a game-high 14 rebounds.