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Recap and highlights: Top-seeded Gonzaga surges past Georgia State 93-72 in NCAA Tournament first round

From staff reports

Georgia State hung with Gonzaga for 30 minutes, making the most of a sloppy, physical game and looking to become the second No. 16 seed to win a game in an NCAA Tournament.

The Bulldogs blew the game open late and ran away with a 93-72 win over the Panthers in Portland, behind impressive performances from its frontcourt duo.

Drew Timme scored a team high 32 points, despite early struggles and going 6 of 13 from the free throw line. Che Holmgren was more impressive, especially during the Zags’ late 18-0 run, tallying 19 points, 17 rebounds and seven blocks.

The Bulldogs (27-3) finished 36 of 71 from the field, scoring almost all of their points in the paint – a recipe that may not work for the remainder of the tournament. Gonzaga shot 5 of 18 on 3-pointers and made 53% of its free throws. 

Next up for the Zags is a meeting with No. 9 seed Memphis on Saturday, who took care of former Gonzaga assistant Leon Rice and Boise State earlier in the day. The Penny Hardaway coached Tigers (22-10) have won seven of their last eight games.

First half

15:51 - GU 7, GSU 7: Sloppy start for the Zags that start 1 of 3 on free throws and have two early turnovers.

Timme gets a cherry-picked dunk in transition to lead with four points. The Panthers aren’t backing down early as the 16 seed, 3 of 9 from the field and tied with the top team in the nation at the U16 media timeout.

11:02 - GU 18, GSU 16: Georgia State still hanging tough at the U12 media timeout, as the Zags hold a 53.8-29.4% advantage on field goal percentage, but can’t separate. 

Hunter Sallis getting plenty of minutes early, as Watson finds him under the hoop with a pretty behind-the-back feed. That play served as a four-point swing as the Panthers missed a gimme layup on the other end after a steal.

7:49 - GU 21, GSU 21: Panthers bullying the Bulldogs in the post, gathering six offensive rebounds to hold a 17-13 advantage on the boards at the U8 media timeout.

Zags just 3 of 9 on free throws and 2 of 8 on 3-pointers.

6:20 - GU 23, GSU 23: Nsoseme is down on the floor holding his right knee and appearing to be in a lot of pain. The last thing the Panthers want to see, as the big man had been controlling the post with five rebounds.

He was able to get up and walk to the bench under his own power.

3:56 - GU 25, GSU 25: Gonzaga’s offense is sputtering, missing its last 10 attempts from the field and down to 8 of 24 shooting in the half.

The Zags are 2 of 11 on 3-pointers and 7 of 17 from the line. The only thing keeping GU in the game is Georgia State’s inefficiencies. The Panthers are shooting 25.8% from the field.

Timme leads with eight points, but is 4 of 9 on free throws. 

0:32 - GU 35, GSU 33: Zags get some offense going, but give up a couple of easy looks to the Panthers. 

Gonzaga should take a lead into the locker room, where Mark Few will look to wake up his team that was favored by over 20 points.


Going into halftime Gonzaga head coach Mark Few reiterated that Georgia State is no 16 seed.

In the first half the Panthers sure didn’t look like a 16 seed, or maybe the Zags didn’t look like a one seed.

Gonzaga struggled on the offensive end, limping to a 35-33 lead at halftime in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

The Bulldogs shot 40% from the field, which included a stretch of 12 straight misses, made 2 of 11 attempts on 3-pointers and shot 9 of 19 on free throws.

Drew Timme led with 10 points and eight rebounds, but the Panthers held a 28-23 advantage on the glass, cleaning up with second chance points.

GSU has had an even tougher time from the field making 10 of 35 attempts.

Second half

14:17 - GU 52, GSU 50: Zags starting to get things going at the U16 media timeout, but the Panthers aren’t backing down.

Timme is up to 20 points leading the way in the second half as Bolton is the only other Zag in double figures with 10.

Allen leads GSU with 13 points, while Roberts adds 11. Not much separating the two teams. Panthers hold a 10-9 advantage on free throws despite seven less attempts.

11:52 - GU 56, GSU 54: Timme continues to score inside, up to 24 points at the U12 media timeout.

Holmgren has 13 rebounds and five blocks, while Nembhard adds eight assists. 

9:17 - GU 66, GSU 58: The Panthers call for a timeout as the Zags take their largest lead of the game.

Holmgren is up to 12 points, 15 rebounds and six blocks, as he and Timme both have double-doubles.

Scott fouled out for GSU, whose bench is starting to run thin after loosing Nsoseme to an injury in the first half.

5:23 - GU 80, GSU 58: The Zags have completely blown this one open, on an 18-0 run at the U8 media timeout.

Timme leads with 32 points, while Holmgren has 16 points with 17 rebounds and seven blocks.

1:10 - GU 93, GSU 67: Arlauskas checks in and converts a reverse layup, putting a bow on what was an excellent late run from the Zags, after struggling for a majority of the game.


Gonzaga enters the NCAA Tournament with the top overall seed for the second straight year and the same question coming from fans and commentators across the country – will Mark Few and the Zags finally get the monkey off their back?

The Bulldogs (26-3) begin their chase for the first men’s basketball championship against 16-seeded Georgia State in Portland at 1:15 p.m. on TNT.

The Panthers (18-10) earned an automatic-bid by winning the Sun Belt Tournament over Louisiana. GSU started the season 8-10, before winning 10 straight to finish 3rd in the conference.

Meanwhile, the Zags are coming off an impressive West Coast Conference championship win over Saint Mary’s, where Gonzaga avenged its conference to the Gaels.

The winner will advance to play No. 9 seed Memphis on Saturday, who beat Boise State 64-53 this morning.

Series history

Gonzaga and Georgia State have played once before on Nov. 25, 1994, where the Zags won 90-65.

The Bulldogs haven’t lost in the first round of the NCAA Tournament since 2008, where they lost to Davidson and a player named Steph Curry as a No. 7 seed.

Team stats

  Georgia St. Gonzaga
Points 70.6 87.8
Points allowed 64.8 65.3
Field goal pct. 40.3 52.7
Rebounds 37.3 41.4
Assists 13.5 18.2
Blocks 4.5 5.9
Steals 8.9 6.7
Streak Won 10 Won 2

Individual leaders

Corey Allen (GSU) 14.7 37.2 75.0
Drew Timme (GU) 17.5 58.8 69.7
Eliel Nsoseme (GSU) 9.8 6.2 3.6
Chet Holmgren (GU) 9.6 8.0 1.6
Kane Williams (GSU) 3.8 2.0 31.6
Andrew Nembhard (GU) 5.7 1.8 31.3

Game preview

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