Gonzaga holds off SC in Final Four to reach title game

While the Gamecocks are an SEC school and Gonzaga plays in the West Coast Conference, it's SC who is this year's Cinderella, having beaten the two, three and four seeds to earn a spot in the Final Four. SC still has a chance for the women's basketball national title - that game is Sunday. He missed his second free throw on goal but Gonzaga's Zach Collins rebounded and made two free throws to clinch it.

With two big men going at it, it won't be easy to officiate inside.

The Gonzaga-South Carolina meets the North Carolina-Oregon game for the national championship on Monday.

"I don't know if I can come up with a statement that can describe this game", Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. She came back to play in the second half but was clearly not the same. "I had four fouls today".

"We're not going to settle for this and we still feel, like, we got one more game", regional MVP Sindarius Thornwell said with one of the nets draped around his neck.

The Bulldogs advance to play for the national championship on Monday and meet the victor of North Carolina and Oregon.

Nigel Williams-Goss scored 23 for the Bulldogs. SC passed the ball around and Gonzaga fouled Sindarius Thornwell with 3.5 seconds left. He made the first, then intentionally missed the second but Gonzaga got the rebound and put the game away from the free throw line for a 77-73 victory. Thornwell made the first and appeared to purposely miss the second, but Gonzaga's Killian Tillie got the rebound with 2.2 seconds left and made two free throws for the final margin.

"The plan was to miss it left and hopefully, Chris could tap it out to someone", Thornwell said. 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.

"Their redshirt plan for me was second to none with all the other schools I was looking at", Williams-Goss said.

When it comes to the public betting on today's game, the wagers are going with SC. The former Washington point guard has had a spectacular season and it was on full display in every facet of the game on Saturday against SC. OR and UNC will tip off roughly 40 minutes after the conclusion of that game.




If a No. 7 seed from a major conference can be a Cinderella story, that's what SC was, rebounding from a rough finish to the regular season to make an improbable run to the Final Four after not winning a tournament game since 1973. He's been playing well for us the entire season. "And we try to do our best to respond the way we learn how to respond".

"They just crowd the paint", Thornwell said. "They're always on me to show emotion, so that's my fairly weak effort of showing emotion".

"That's my job, is to go in and rim protect".

At 7-foot-1, 300 pounds, Karnowski may be the biggest player in the country. He led the team with 8 points at the break. "I had blurry vision, a little bit shadow". He said his vision blurred but improved after he returned to the court in the second half.

How did SC end up here? Stanford used double, triple, and sometimes even quadruple teams to hold South Carolina's star, A'ja Wilson, to just four points. 2, 3 and 4 seeds in the East region.

The Bulldogs won both the West Coast Conference's regular season and tournament titles on their way to earning a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Gonzaga had made three Elite Eights without advancing to the Final Four.

The rest of his team: 14 for 55 from the floor. Collins was huge off the bench for the Bulldogs. PJ Dozier led all Gamecocks in scoring with 17 on the night. Jordan Matthews was hot from 3-point range, hitting four 3s en route to 12 points. In the second five minutes, Williams-Goss hit 20 points for the game.

I give Gonzaga an edge against SC because they're so good inside that they can withstand a night where they're not shooting the ball well from the perimeter.

Karnowski, a senior, averages 12.2 points and 5.8 rebounds while shooting 60 percent from the field. Thornwell had just five points in 18 minutes before halftime.

The Gamecock women beat Stanford Friday night 62-53 and head to the women's NCAA National Championship in Dallas.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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