Gonzaga Bulldogs center Chet Holmgren (34), guard Julian Strawther (0) and guard Rasir Bolton (45) head to the locker room after falling to the Arkansas Razorbacks during the second half of a Sweet 16 game on Thursday Mar 24, 2022, at Chase Center in San Francisco, Calif. The Arkansas Razorbacks won the game 74-68. (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga’s run back to the NCAA Tournament title game was cut short in the Sweet 16.
Arkansas stunned the Bulldogs with a 74-68 win in San Francisco on Thursday, knocking off the top-seeded team and returning to the Elite 8 for the second-straight year.
The Razorbacks (18-7) bogged the game down, forcing 15 turnovers and fouling out Chet Holmgren after playing 23 minutes. They were led by 21 points from JD Notae and 15 from Jaylin Williams, who also grabbed 12 rebounds.
Drew Timme led the Zags with 25 points, who shot just 37.5% from the field and 5 of 21 on 3-pointers.
The loss will likely be the last game for Holmgren, who is expected to be a top pick in the NBA draft. Nembhard, who shot just 2 of 11 from the field after an excellent performance against Memphis, will also leave as a senior.
Arkansas advances to play the winner of Texas Tech and Duke in the Elite 8.
15:43 - GU 9, UA 8: Balanced start, as both teams have made four field goals.
Notae gets a couple of layups to fall to lead the Razorbacks with four points, while Timme leads the Zags with four. Holmgren and Rolton with a foul apiece at the U16 media timeout.
11:54 - GU 16, UA 14: Gonzaga gets a 3-pointer from Strawther – his first of the tournament – to take the lead going into the U12 media timeout.
Zags are 2 of 5 on 3-pointers, while the Razorbacks are 0 of 4. GU is yet to attempt a free throw, while UA is 0 of 2.
7:26 - GU 22, UA 17: Zags build their lead as Strawther is up to a team-high eight points.
Holmgren takes a seat with two fouls at the U8 media timeout. Umude stays on the court with two for Arkansas.
2:46 - GU 27, UA 26: Arkansas takes a 7-0 run to close the gap.
Neither team shooting well on 3-pointers, Arkansas is 2 of 10, while the Zags are 3 of 12. Zero free throws for the Razorbacks, who enter the game top 10 in the country for made free throws per game.
Notae is also struggling, just 3 of 11 from the field. He leads Arkansas with six points.
Bolton and Strawther lead Gonzaga with eight points apiece. Holmgren has not returned since picking up his second foul.
0:32 - UA 30, GU 29: Arkansas takes its first lead of the game and Few calls for a timeout to try and retake the lead before halftime.
Jaylin Williams draws a charge, JD Notae flies down the court for a layup at the buzzer and Arkansas takes a 13-2 run into halftime for a 32-29 lead over Gonzaga.
The Zags have now trailed at halftime in back-to-back NCAA Tournament games for the first time since 2009. The Bulldogs will have a lot to improve on, having missed a lot of open looks at just 12 of 34 from the field and 3 of 13 on 3-pointers.
Gonzaga’s Andrew Nembhard was just 1 of 8 from the field, while Holmgren played eight minutes with two fouls.
Notae leads Arkansas with 10 points, five rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks, but Williams has been the difference. The first-team all-SEC forward has drawn three offensive fouls to go with seven points and eight rebounds.
Bolton, Strawther and Timme lead the Zags with eight points apiece. If Gonzaga comes out in the second half like they did against Memphis, they won’t have a problem retaking and keeping the lead.
15:56 - UA 39, GU 36: Holmgren gets on the scoresheet with a quick five points, but is called for his third foul at the U16 media timeout.
Notae up to 14 points for Arkansas. Timme has a team-high 10.
11:33 - UA 45, GU 42: Holmgren starting to take over while playing with three fouls, up to nine points and nine rebounds at the U12 media timeout.
Both teams shooting 37% from the field and 23% on 3-pointers with not much separating them.
Zags with 11 turnovers to Arkansas’ six.
8:32 - UA 52, GU 46: Toney gets an And-1 on a layup as Holmgren is called for his fourth foul and Gonzaga calls for a timeout.
Umude with four fouls for Arkansas.
3:48 - UA 62, GU 56: Zags aren’t going away, but Arkansas clings to a six point lead at the U4 media timeout. Fouls coming to the forefront, as Williams, Umude and Holmgren each have four.
Notae up to 20 points on 9 of 27 shooting, continuing to hoist up shots. Timme leads the Zags with 21.
2:08 - UA 66, GU 58: Holmgren fouls out, Wade knocks down a 3-pointer in the corner and the Zags call a timeout in trouble.
With the guards shooting poorly, Timme is going to need to take over the final two minutes to get the Zags back in this one.
Gonzaga and Arkansas tip off the Sweet 16 today at 4:09 p.m. on CBS, as the Zags chase their elusive first NCAA Tournament Championship.
The Bulldogs (28-3) look to advance to the Elite 8 for the 5th time in the past seven seasons, while the underdog Razorbacks (27-8) look for their second-straight under head coach Eric Musselman, after not making an appearance in the second weekend of the tournament since 1996.
Gonzaga is a 10-point favorite according to Vegasinsider consensus, beating (16) Georgia State and (9) Memphis in the first two rounds in Portland. The Zags overcame a 10-point halftime deficit led by remarkable performances from Drew Timme and Andrew Nembhard to edge the Tigers 82-78.
Arkansas made a long trip to Buffalo, New York, for its opening two games defeating a tough (13) Vermont team in the opening round 75-71, before outlasting (12) New Mexico State in a defensive struggle 53-48.
The Razorbacks bring experienced guards led by first-team all-SEC selection JD Notae, who at 6-foot-2, relentlessly attacks the rim and plays tenacious on-ball defense.
Arkansas lost 5 of 6 in a stretch from Dec. 11 to Jan. 8, but caught fire in conference play, picking up notable wins over Kentucky, Tennessee and Auburn.
The winner will move on to play either (3) Texas Tech or (2) Duke on Saturday, who tip off after Zags-Arkansas in the Chase Center.
Gonzaga’s only game against Arkansas was a 91-81 win on Nov. 27, 2013, in the fifth-place game of the Maui Invitational.
Kevin Pangos was on fire with a team-high 34 points, while Bobby Portis – who won the NBA Championship with the Milwaukee Bucks last season – led the Razorbacks with 18.
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