With about two minutes left in the game, all the students in Gonzaga’s Cataldo Hall stood up as they watched their men’s basketball team fall to Texas Tech, knocking the No. 1 seed out of the NCAA Tournament’s West Region.
Thomas Harvey, Christina Blackbourn, Hunter Congress, Matt Raftis and Matthew Williams had been following the Gonzaga men’s basketball team over the course of the tournament, they said, and on Saturday, the Bulldogs had reached the most crucial point in the season.
Gonzaga trailed Texas Tech, and with about 22 seconds left in the game, a 3-pointer brought the Bulldogs within two points. The students erupted, jumping into the air with arms raised and yelling.
But following that flash of hope was a technical foul on Gonzaga guard Josh Perkins that resulted in the Bulldogs falling two points further behind and gave the Red Raiders possession of the ball.
The room fell silent until the clock ticked down to zero. Gonzaga was out of the tournament, and the 60 or so students at the school’s watch party, decked out in Zags gear, trickled out of the room.
Some strolled off silently with stiff upper lips. Some stood in shock, h their hands on their heads. But most began discussing what went wrong.
“We have been following (the team) all year long,” said Harvey, a sophomore studying human physiology. “We have fallen in love with this team. They just fell flat. It was a gritty game.”
“I’m sad and kind of mad,” said Blackbourn, a senior studying communication. “They should have played better. I expected Gonzaga to go to the Final Four.”
“I’m pretty sad,” said Congress, a junior studying computer science who said when Texas Tech drew the technical foul with just seconds left in the game, he knew it was over. “There was a lot of back-and-forth. The game could have gone either way.”
“I’ve been with the team since day one of my life,” said Williams, a junior studying math. “I remember three years ago when we were just hitting the round of 32. But this team – they know how to finish a game.”
“It’s just more fuel to the fire for next year,” he said.
Raftis, a junior studying sports management, said Gonzaga had a lot of depth in its lineup.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game,” he said. “But we expected to win it. I think we’ll be back next year.”
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