Gonzaga into USA college final

Ross Houston
April 7, 2017

OR guard Tyler Dorsey, left, fights for a loose ball with North Carolina forward Justin Jackson during the second half in the semifinals of the Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Saturday, April 1, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz.

The Gonzaga-South Carolina meets the North Carolina-Oregon game for the national championship on Monday. The biggest contribution off the bench came from Zach Collins who finished with a double-double, 14 pounts, 13 rebounds and six blocks.

Gonzaga holds on to beat SC in a thriller, 77-73.

Down by 14 to Gonzaga, the Gamecocks came roaring back to take the lead with 7:06 remaining.

SC and Gonzaga have a lot more in common than just being in their first Final Four.

Gonzaga (37-1), the top seed in the West Regional, will face North Carolina, the top seed in the South, for the title on Monday night. The 3-pointer certainly wasn't his flashiest play of the game, but may have been the most momentous. They were college basketball's Cinderella this yeah - a 7-seed that got carried to the Final Four behind some stellar defense, a star senior in Sindarius Thornwell (who was noticeably out of it after dealing with an illness this week), and a head coach in Frank Martin who has paid his dues to get to that point.

Halftime-North Carolina 39-36. 3-Point Goals-Oregon 7-26 (Dorsey 3-7, Ennis 2-9, Benson 1-2, Pritchard 1-5, Brooks 0-3), North Carolina 8-21 (Jackson 4-9, Berry 2-8, Britt 1-1, Pinson 1-2, Maye 0-1).

With less than five minutes to go in the first half against South Carolina, Gonzaga big man Przemek Karnowski crumpled to the floor after sustaining what appeared to be an injury to his eye. Chris Silva's defense and rim protecting was huge and Thrornwell started to get going. But I thought getting those blocked shots would help us.

"I can't believe that shot went in", Collins elated, mimicking the odd path of the ball with his hands.

"These last two weeks, when we got our name in, (Martin) said we been listening to him all season and don't stop now because we got our name on the board", Thornwell said. Some critics argue that Gonzaga drew a soft bracket which got even easier with Arizona's loss in the Sweet 16.

The program that is labeled a mid-major and acts and plays like a major, seeks to finish the deal and give Few one more opportunity to turn a handstand in the locker room.

They have been powerful enough to take SC to its first Final Four. Gonzaga had made three Elite Eights without advancing to the Final Four.

Nigel Williams-Goss' 85 points are the most in Gonzaga history for a single NCAA Tournament.

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