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Gonzaga Basketball

Gonzaga celebrates Final Four, keeps focus on ultimate goal

Gonzaga center Przemek Karnowski (24) raises his arms after Xavier coach Chris Mack received a technical foul Saturday. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

Gonzaga accomplished one huge goal Saturday and moved ever closer to its ultimate one.

The Zags made history Saturday, handling Xavier 83-59 to earn the program’s first trip to the Final Four. Top-seeded Gonzaga (36-1) learned Sunday they will face seventh-seeded South Carolina (26-10) at 3:09 PT Saturday at University of Phoenix Stadium.

“We’ll remember this feeling forever,” sophomore guard Josh Perkins said. “We’re going to celebrate a little with each other but (Sunday) we know we’re back watching film, keeping our eye on the prize because the goal did say winning the national championship not just making the Final Four.

“We’re taking that serious.”

They seriously celebrated Saturday, getting an early start with the Zags holding a commanding lead in the final minutes.

“I looked up in the stands at my family and I started to lose it so I had to look away.” athletic director Mike Roth said. “The feeling is indescribable.”

Senior center Przemek Karnowski treated himself to a can of pop in a SAP Center locker room.

“I can’t remember the last time I had one,” he said. “It’s my celebration drink.”

But Karnowski and his teammates were already talking about Gonzaga’s next assignment.

“We’re on a mission,” junior guard Silas Melson said. “This is one of our goals, to cut down the Final Four net, but ultimately the goal is always to win a championship.”

That would require Gonzaga, which joins North Carolina as the two No. 1 seeds in the Final Four, to win two more games.

“We can celebrate now since (Sunday) we’ve got to focus on the games at the Final Four,” freshman forward Killian Tillie said. “Our goal wasn’t only to reach the Final Four, it was to bring a national championship to Spokane.”