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Gonzaga Basketball

Gonzaga missed big opportunity with Northwestern flagrant foul

Gonzaga forward Johnathan Williams misses a free throw as his teammates watch against Northwestern in their NCAA second round game, March 18, 2017, in Salt Lake City. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)

SALT LAKE CITY – Gonzaga won 79-73 on Saturday and the big controversy was about a goaltending no call that ended up yielding a four-point swing toward the Bulldogs when Northwestern coach Chris Collins was called for a technical foul for yelling at the officials.

But there was another big moment late in the second half of Saturday’s game, and if GU had lost it might have been as memorable.

GU spent the final 10 minutes in pure survival mode as the Wildcats and their fans seemed to dominate Vivant Smart Home Arena. NU was making every shot and the Bulldogs were only able to score at the free throw line. And then, when they finally got a break, they couldn’t score their, either.

NU’s Barret Benson appeared to shove Johnathan Williams while setting a screen with 7:36 left in the game and the Bulldogs still holding a 63-52 lead. After reviewing the tape the officials assessed a flagrant foul, granting the Bulldogs two free throws and possession of the ball.

But Williams bricked both free throws and Sanjay Lumpkin stole the ball from Przemek Karnowski on the ensuing possession. Northwestern’s Bryant McIntosh scored off the steal, igniting a 6-0 run for the Wildcats that was capped by Vic Law’s putback dunk, which ignited the crowd and cut GU’s lead to five points with 5:31 left in the game.