Gonzaga Has A Chance To Win it All After Beating South Carolina 77-73

 

What a comeback by South Carolina. They were down as many as 16 in the second half, they had an insane 16-0 run, but in the end, it wasn’t enough.

The Gonzaga Bulldogs are now undefeated in the Final Four all-time(1-0), they will play for their first-ever National Championship on Monday night.

It was a wild game, to say the least, back and forth, Gonzaga pulling away, USC coming all the way back, and the Zags hold on.

 

Well, this isn’t the half I expected, it was the complete opposite to be exact. There was a lot of scoring and high shooting percentages. I was thinking it would be all defense, little scoring, and low shooting percentages, just like the Gonzaga/West Virginia game.

The game opened and both teams were on fire, hitting nearly every shot they took. The first five minutes and most of the half was the two teams going back and forth. The game was being played extremely fast, it was the only way the Gamecocks could beat the 5th ranked defense of the Zags.

Gonzaga jumped out to a six-point lead about ten minutes in and Thornwell from South Carolina wasn’t helping, he couldn’t hit anything, he was playing through the flu and it looked like it was slowing him down. He shot 1-5 and only had two rebounds.

But the Gamecocks would make a run to tie the game up. It was going back and forth again, Gonzaga makes a shot, USC makes one, Zags gets a stop, USC gets one. Then a game-changing play happened. 7’1 300 pounder, Karnowski looked to have a layup and Chris Silva blocked him, on the way down Silva smacked Karnowski right in the face. Karnowski fell to the floor and South Carolina went up the court and hit a three to tie it up.

Karnowski left the game and he wouldn’t come back for the rest of the half. You would think losing a guy like him would hurt Gonzaga, but it actually propelled them on a 14-5 run to close the half. His back-up, Zach Collins picked up the slack, he got timely rebounds, finished the half with eight points, and had a block. Jordan Matthews was on fire in the first half as well, he hit huge threes to extend the Gonzaga lead. He shot 3-5 from three and had nine points.

Gonzaga’s 14-5 run would send them into the locker room at halftime with a 45-36 lead.

 

 

The second half started off with much of the same stuff we saw at the end of the first half. Gonzaga was dominating and starting to pull away. They jumped out to a 16 point lead and it felt like the game was over.

Willams-Goss was going off, he was hitting shot after shot, he finished with 23 points. He rolled his ankle early in the half, it looked nasty, but he stayed in the game and fought.

But the Gamecocks, who have been down by 10 points in the second half twice in the tourney, would come back. I knew a run was coming, but I didn’t expect a 16-0 run to take the lead. Thornwell, who had a rough first half, was finally getting back into the game, he led the run and finished with 15 points.

The South Carolina defense was shutting the Zags down as well, Gonzaga went nearly four minutes without scoring a single point. Nothing was going the Zags way, they couldn’t get anything going.

With seven minutes left, South Carolina had the lead and all the momentum, then Zach Collins, who had a double-double off the bench, hit a huge three that sparked a 7-0 Gonzaga run to retake the lead. South Carolina never had the lead again.

Even though the Gamecocks never took the lead again, doesn’t mean it was interesting. The Gamecocks cut the lead down to three with 1:35 left, nothing happened after that until three seconds left when Josh Perkins intentionally fouled Sindarius Thornwell to shoot two free throws with Gonzaga up three.

Thornwell hit the first and intentionally missed the second, Gonzaga got the rebound and hit two free throws to ice the game.

Gonzaga will go to the National Championship game and will play the winner of Oregon/UNC.

 

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