The Gonzaga Bulldogs are no longer a cute story from the Pacific Northwest; they're now one win away from securing their first-ever national championship.
The top-seeded Zags survived a furious second-half rally by the resilient 7th-seeded South Carolina Gamecocks to hold on a for a 77-73 win in front of 60,000-plus fans at University of Phoenix Stadium.
THE ZAGS ARE IN THE FINALS!
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Here are three big takeaways from the game.
1. Gonzaga survives South Carolina's flurry.
South Carolina rallied from a halftime deficit in three of their first four games of this tournament. That's why it wasn't a shock to see the Gamecocks go on a 16-0 run after Gonzaga built a 14-point advantage midway through the second half.
But with the South Carolina fans making deafening noise, the Zags remained poised, going on a 7-0 run of their own that included four points from 7-foot, 300-pound Polish monster Przemek Karnowski, who returned in the second half after suffering an eye injury late in the first half. Gonzaga never relinquished the lead after that and made some key defensive plays down the stretch to preserve the win.
2. Williams-Goss takes over.
Gonzaga point guard and Washington transfer Nigel Williams-Goss was the star of the game. The junior made 9 of his first 12 shots and scored a game-high 23 points, and he added six assists and five rebounds.
Williams-Goss also came up big on the defensive end late in the game to ensure the top-seeded Zags would advance.
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) April 2, 2017
3. Thornwell turns in an underwhelming perfomrance.
It's fair to speculate whether South Carolina's star Sindarius Thornwell was 100 percent on Saturday. The senior guard was sick throughout the week and missed the team's first Final Four practice.
Thornwell didn't score until roughly midway through the first half, and although he still managed 15 points, he went just 4 of 12 from the field. Thornwell, who scored over 20 points in each of South Carolina's first four tournament games, just didn't show up late when the Gamecocks needed him most.
— LeadingNCAA ™ (@LeadingNCAA) April 2, 2017