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Gone-zaga: Wichita State knocks off top-seed Gonzaga
Question of the Day
“To have the best season in the history of basketball at our school and kind of capture the attention of a nation, it was one hell of a ride,” he said. “We had a lot of fun.”
The Zags also had their share of detractors.
While Gonzaga held the top spot in the AP Top 25 over the final weeks of the season, skeptics thought of the Bulldogs as a soft No. 1 seed that benefited from a relatively easy schedule in the West Coast Conference while other top contenders were getting banged around in the power conferences.
One thing is certain: Wichita State was not intimidated.
“They never quit,” Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall said. “You know we got the big lead, Gonzaga makes a great run as a No. 1 team in the country would, and these guys dig down.”
Shockers, for sure.
They showed their grit after Gonzaga’s 12-0 run gave the Bulldogs a 49-41 lead with 11:53 left. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Pangos and Hart started it, Olynyk hit a jumper then a pair of free throws, and Pangos capped it with a steal and fast-break layup.
But Wichita State outscored the Zags 35-21 from there.
The string of five straight 3s began when Tekele Cotton spotted up with 6:05 remaining and hit a shot that cut Wichita State’s seven-point deficit to four.
It ended at the 1:28 mark when Fred VanVleet, dribbling the ball between his legs, nearly lost it, but gathered himself and threw one up with 1 second left on the shot clock. It went in, the Shockers were ahead 70-65 and the rest of the game was a free-throw-shooting contest.
“I was just disappointed that with 1 second left that we even let him get a 3 off,” Few said. “That was a mental error on our part.”
The Shockers, who made just 2 of 20 3-pointers in their 18-point win over Pitt on Thursday, shot 50 percent from beyond the arc and 50 percent overall.
“They deserve a ton of credit,” Few said. “It’s the first time in a while someone made 50 percent on us, and to bang in 14 3s (overall) is pretty amazing.”
Gonzaga’s 39-30 rebounding edge couldn’t make up for 36 percent shooting.
“Man it means a lot,” Shockers senior forward Carl Hall said. “It means a lot to this program and our fans deserve this.”
By Robert N. Tracci
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