Bulldog Mentality, Zags Headed to First Title Game

When South Carolina shot just 14 percent in the second quarter and trailed by nine at halftime, it appeared all the momentum was on Stanford's side.

The Bulldogs beat the South Carolina Gamecocks 77-73 in Phoenix Saturday in the Final Four.

Gonzaga (37-1) will face the victor between North Carolina and OR in the national championship game on Monday night. "I've had some really close teams", Few said. "We have a chance to play for it all. We'll know at the end of the half". He averaged nearly 22 points per game for the entire year and has scored at least 24 points in all four tournament games to this point.

The senior wasn't able to complete South Carolina's surprising tournament run, but he leaves Columbia having put together maybe the greatest postseason performance in school history. He leads the team with 79 3-pointers. But Theo Pinson got inside and batted the ball back out to Berry, who then got fouled with 4 seconds left and took his turn at the line. On the CBS broadcast, they said that the Gonzaga staff expected Karnowski to return in the second half.

The Gamecocks got within 29-20 at the break.

But the 'Zags prevailed, beating fellow Final Four novice SC.

The Gamecocks increased their lead to 41-37 after three quarters.

Guard Duane Notice is the defensive focal point for seventh-seeded SC.

The normally strong SC defense was exploited, especially in the paint. "They worked really hard and I think they had an aggressive game plan in the second half", Stanford coach Tara VanDerveer said.

They'd hold on for dear life coming down the stretch. "I wish we would have closed it out".

VanDerveer added, "I'd also like to congratulate our team on a great season. That's why I've been so positive and so proud of these kids the whole year".

"I had blurry vision, a little bit of a shadow", Karnowski said. The Gamecocks were down as many as 14 in the second half, but responded with 14 straight points to tie it at 65.

But with the SC 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. Rakym Felder's free throws with 7:06 remaining in the game gave them their first lead since the score was 10-8.

"Biggest adjustment in the second half was speeding up the game".

Well Bulldogs fans, it looks like we'll be seeing you Monday night. The Gamecocks couldn't sustain it the rest of the way, but they still had a shot in the final seconds trailing 75-72.

Stanford shot 4 of 21 (19 percent) in the third quarter. Another reason to think points might be in short supply: Gonzaga ranks first nationally in Ken Pomeroy's defensive efficiency metric, allowing 86 points per 100 possessions, while SC ranks second (87.8).

  • Salvatore Jensen