Playing in the Final Four for the first time in program history, No. 1 Gonzaga wasn’t finished making history as the Zags took down the seventh-seeded giant killers of South Carolina to advance to the title game on Monday.
Gonzaga will take one No. 1 North Carolina after the Tar Heels hung on to beat No. 3 Oregon, 77-76, Saturday night at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
Nigel Williams-Goss, a second-team All-American, led the Zags with a team-high 23 points to go with six assists and five rebounds. Gonzaga’s big men, Zach Collins and Przemek Karnowski combined for 27 points, 18 rebounds and six blocked shots and four assists in the win.
Gonzaga, which made a school-record 12 3-pointers in a win over Xavier in the Elite 8, went 9-of-19 from beyond the arc on Saturday. Jordan Mathews had a team-high four 3-pointers.
PJ Dozier lead South Carolina with 17 points and Sindarius Thornwell, who came in as the leading scorer in the NCAA Tournament at 25.8 points per game during the first four rounds, finished with 15 points on just 4-of-12 shooting. Thornwell was sick all week battling flu-like symptoms.
Not all is lost for South Carolina as the Gamecocks advanced to its first-ever Final Four with victories over the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 seeds in the East region. Coming into the tournament, the Gamecocks’ last NCAA basketball victory was back in 1973.
North Carolina is back in the title game
The Tar Heels will get a second chance.
After holding on to beat Oregon, North Carolina is back in the championship game as the team looks to avenge its loss to Villanova in last year’s incredible championship game as Kris Jenkins sank a buzzer-beater to give the Wildcats its first-ever national college basketball championship.
After a Tyler Dorsey 3-pointer followed by a Ducks layup with 5.8 seconds left, Oregon was down just one and looked like it was going to have a chance to send the game into overtime.
— Fan Insider (@FanInsider_) April 2, 2017
UNC big man Kennedy Meeks, a 64 percent shooter from the line, missed both free throws, but the Tar Heels got the offensive rebound.
UNC point guard Joel Berry was then fouled, but ended up missing both free throws too. Luckily for the Tar Heels, Meeks grabbed the rebound and passed the ball out as UNC ran the clock out for the win.
Meeks had a game to remember as he scored a game-high 25 points, pulled down 14 rebounds and had three steals in the win.
Monday’s championship game is set to tipoff at 7:20 p.m.