BOISE – Zach Norvell Jr. poured in a career-best 28 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as No. 4-seeded Gonzaga outlasted a furious comeback attempt from fifth-seeded Ohio State to advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament with a 90-84 victory on Saturday at the Taco Bell Arena.
After hitting the game-winning shot in the tournament opener for the Bulldogs (32-4), Norvell drained six more shots from deep against the Buckeyes (25-9). He was also a crucial part of a 15-0 run to start the game from the Bulldogs.
Trailing by 11 at the half, Ohio State mounted its comeback charge. The Buckeyes completed the surge by taking the lead near the middle of the second half, but foul trouble and Gonzaga’s depth proved too much as the Bulldogs came back to take the lead for good.
Rui Hachimura added 25 points, five rebounds and four blocks off the bench for the Bulldogs. His increase in floor time was due to early foul trouble from both GU starting forwards Johnathan Williams and Killian Tillie.
The Zags finished the game shooting 53.4 percent from the floor and 40.9 percent from 3-point range, while Ohio State shot 45.5 percent overall and 42.3 percent from deep.
Keita Bates-Diop led the Buckeyes with 28 points, while Kam Williams added 19.
Gonzaga outrebounded the Buckeyes 39-25, while grabbing 13 offensive boards to OSU’s eight. Gonzaga was turnover prone in the second half though, finishing with 13 in the game.
The Zags will now travel to Los Angeles for a Sweet 16 matchup against either top-seeded Xavier or No. 9-seeded Florida State. The Musketeers and Seminoles will play Sunday night. It is Gonzaga’s fourth straight trip to the Sweet 16.
Final – Gonzaga 90, Ohio State 84: Zach Norvell and Rui Hachimura have stellar games when the rest of the Bulldogs struggle as GU is back in the Sweet 16.
Ohio State battled back to take a lead in the second half after trailing 15-0 to start the contest. Tons of fight shown by GU to take back the lead and hold it down the stretch. Zags off to LA now with another Final Four trip two wins away.
1:42 – Gonzaga 78, Ohio State 70: Zach Norvell on another level this weekend as he hits a fade-away 3-pointer in the corner, followed by a massive Hachimura block on Bates-Diop.
That’s a career-high 28 points for Norvell.
Ohio State looks to be running out of gas and time as the Zags will likely hold off the ferocious comeback bid.
3:52 – Gonzaga 70, Ohio State 67: Norvell getting his groove back after a quiet start to the half. He hits a pair of free throws, followed by a nice rebound and coast-to-coast layup.
Both teams in the bonus for the rest of the game and the refs are starting to call pretty much everything. Finish of this one could take a while at this rate.
Bates-Diop drains a triple, followed by a Norvell 3-pointer to get him to 23 points.
Zags take the lead back on and and-one bucket from Tillie. Another defensive stop and a Perkins layup make it an 8-0 Gonzaga run.
8:00 – Ohio State 62, Gonzaga 58: Perkins with a nice runner breaks the Zags out of the scoring funk, followed by a strip on the other end from Tillie resulting in a Melson layup.
Bulldogs though getting very turnover prone as Tillie gives another one away leading to a an OSU layup.
On the next possession Johnathan Williams is called for an illegal screen, his fourth foul. Melson and OSU’s Williams also assessed double technical fouls for a verbal altercation.
Fiesty few minutes ahead.
10:11 – Ohio State 58, Gonzaga 54: Foul trouble really starting to pile up for both teams as OSU’s Jae’Sean Tate and GU’s Perkins are at three.
Ohio State’s Williams hits another triple, followed by a Tate steal and breakaway dunk and the Buckeyes storm into the lead for the first time.
11:31 – Gonzaga 54, Ohio State 53: Bulldogs move into the half-court zone, but Ohio State’s ball movement getting better as the game goes on.
Third personal foul on Hachimura as he’s called on the offensive end. Josh Perkins follows it up with an offensive foul of his own.
Bulldogs really trying to work it inside with the OSU bigs on the bench as Hachimura gets an easy score under the bucket and then is fouled on the next trip down the court. He’ll go to the free-throw line after the media timeout.
15:07 – Gonzaga 51, Ohio State 46: Polar opposite start to this half for the Buckeyes as they have come out on fire.
Nice start as well for GU’s Johnathan Williams as he gets a pair of quick buckets along with a strong offensive rebound. He’s up to eight points and seven boards
OSU’s Wesson picks up his fourth foul though and heads to the bench. He’s been physical on Williams all game.
Tillie also getting on the offensive glass with a board leading to a Williams bucket.
Kam Williams becomes the second OSU player into double figures with 12 points.
Halftime – Gonzaga 44, Ohio State 33: Bates-Diop getting his way with Tillie and Williams on the bench, as he scored 14 in the first 20 minutes.
After Williams and Tillie dominated in the WCC Tournament, tonight is all Hachimura and Norvell. Rui up to 13, while Norvell has 15, including another triple in the final minute.
Bulldogs made just five 3-pointers in the opening round, but have six so far tonight.
Lots of chirping between the two teams as well. Should make for an interesting second half.
GU shooting 60 percent overall and 50 from deep in the half, while the Buckeyes shot 38.7 percent overall and 45.5 percent from 3-point range.
Zags outrebounding Ohio State 17-13, while forcing six Buckeyes turnovers.
Silas Melson also with a quiet five points in the first half, including a 3-pointer to put GU back up double digits after Ohio State cut the lead to seven.
Big for Gonzaga to get both Tillie and Williams back after the break. Williams only saw about six minutes of court time that first half.
3:56 – Gonzaga 34, Ohio State 25: Gonzaga really trying to apply the pressure as the Bulldogs switch into the full-court press off a free-throw make.
Bulldogs doing a nice job of varying their defenses, much like they did in the thrashing of this Ohio State team at the PK80 tournament in November.
Make that two fouls as well on Killian Tillie as the Zags two starting bigs are on the bench.
Big block by Hachimura on Bates-Diop. OSU star sent a message there. Perkins then dives over the GU bench trying to save the ball. Quite the hustle play there.
Buckeyes slowly battling back though after that rather rough start.
7:45 – Gonzaga 27, Ohio State 16: Norvell absolutely on fire this game as he’s up to 11 points with three 3-pointers.
All the second-chance points going the way of Gonzaga so far, while Ohio State has had more than one shot hang on the rim before falling into GU hands.
Only bit of concern for the Zags is the second foul picked up by Williams, sending him to the bench.
Zags have forced Ohio State into five turnovers, while committing just three themselves.
Keita Bates-Diop leading the way for the Buckeyes with eight points.
11:46 – Gonzaga 19, Ohio State 11: Bulldogs shooting at an impressive 61.5 percent in this one so far, led by Hachimura’s seven quick points off the bench.
After the Zags took the 15-0 lead, Ohio State has started to battle back, finding its touch from deep. The Buckeyes are 3 of 4 from 3-point range.
GU dominating on the glass so far (9-4), including three offensive boards, one of which Johnathan Williams threw back down with a one-hand slam.
15:42 – Gonzaga 13, Ohio State 0: Wouldn’t consider the opening minute a clinic in how to make layups, as the two teams miss three in a row at the rim before Zach Norvell gets the scoring going with a 3-pointer for the Bulldogs.
Rocky start continues for the Buckeyes as they follow up missed layups with an offensive foul, travel and another missed layup.
Another triple from Norvell is followed by a hard OSU foul on Rui Hachimura resulting in a flagrant foul on forward Kaleb Wesson – his second foul in the opening three minutes.
Perfect start here for Gonzaga as Ohio State looks to be unraveling early.
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