NBA's Gonzaga alumni react to Final Four berth on social media
Gonzaga is dancing all the way to the Final Four. There's a reason everyone is surprised by the presence of three SEC programs in the Elite 8, that the league is one win from Kentucky away from fielding half of the Final Four, and it's not because the conference has made a habit of outperforming their already-middling expectations.
Despite falling short Saturday, Xavier put together an impressive run in the 2017 tournament, defeating Maryland, Florida State and Arizona en route to the Elite Eight.
It would be phenomenal to get these guys, this team that I love deeply, the experience to go to a Final Four.
The Gamecocks (30-4) scored the first 16 points of the game and led 22-7 after one period. But, when has their height not had a substantial advantage downlow where they just know they will be able to grab offensive board after offensive board and just feed off second-chance points?
The Musketeers actually have the Bulldogs to thank for the first goal, which occurred with roughly 20 seconds remaining in the half: Gonzaga freshman guard Kamar Baldwin accidentally scored an own goal trying to rebound a missed Xavier jumper.
"The Final Four doesn't validate or discredit a season". He expressed gratitude for his current players and those that came before them that set up a winning program from a smaller conference that could compete at the highest stage. That sent Gonzaga into the half with a 49-39 lead. Gonzaga is accustomed to dominating down low, but when you can't have Przemek Karnowski and Zach Collins on the block because West Virginia's daunting full court press, that creates matchup problems. Bluiett's 25 points included 3-of-8 shooting from three-point range.
The Ducks feature four scoring options on one end of the floor and smother teams at the rim on the other, leading the nation in blocked shots.
The most memorable shot of the tournament so far, one destined for "One Shining Moment", was Florida's buzzer-beater in the Sweet 16 on Friday night. They made three of them, including two by Josh Perkins, to take an early 12-10 lead over the Musketeers. Those are the shoes that White, who had never been coached an NCAA tournament game until he squared off with East Tennessee State on March 16th of this year, had to fill. It was a complete 180-degree shift from Gonzaga's Sweet 16 struggles against West Virginia, which almost broke the top-seeded Bulldogs with its relentless press.
Star guard Trevon Bluiett had an off night, missing 11 of 14 shots, the Musketeers went through long stretches when they struggled to score and Gonzaga capitalized on a sagging zone defense to make 12 3-pointers. Here are five big things we saw. But now, Gonzaga finally has crossed the magic line, and Xavier must wait another year.
Shortly thereafter, Gonzaga sealed its 83-59 victory over Xavier in San Jose Saturday.
OR (23-13) had five players in double figures to advance to the program's first regional final in history.
(Kansas City) - Tyler Dorsey scored 27 points, Dillon Brooks had 17 and OR romped Kansas 74-60 to clinch their first Final Four trip in 80 years. Xavier lost to Duke in a 2004 regional final and fell to UCLA in a 2008 regional championship. He had been considered a likely one-and-done National Basketball Association prospect all year and called Friday's loss "my final game for UCLA".
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The No. 1 seed in the South Region led by as many as 20 points before beating fourth-seeded Butler 92-80 in Memphis , Tennessee. Point guard Joel Berry II led the way with 26. "I mean, I know after the game I was like more upset than anybody".
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Thursday night, his Ducks outlasted MI 69-68 in the Midwest regional semifinals to reach their second consecutive Elite Eight. If you study past brackets until your eyes threaten to fall out, this Midwest Region final appears to be an eccentric first.
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Freshmen made big defensive plays to help Kentucky hold on for a 65-62 victory over Wichita State in the South Region on Sunday. Wagner logged a career-high 26 points (14-14 FG) in 31 minutes, while Wilson had 17 points (6-13 FG, 4-4 FT) and three blocks.
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