Gonzaga To Vie For Its First NCAA Men's Basketball Title

It was a tough night; his Gamecocks had just lost a Final Four matchup against Gonzaga, 77-73, and their hopes of bringing a championship back to SC were gone. Collins also had six blocks.

The game remained close the rest of the way as Gonzaga held on, to secure the first spot in the National Championship game on Monday, April 3 at 6 p.m. PT.

"To be playing the last game of the year is just insane cool", said coach Mark Few, who performed a celebratory handstand in the locker room.

SC had a chance to tie, taking possession with 12.7 seconds left, down 75-72. After finally breaking through and making Final Four for the first time, Gonzaga is now 40 minutes away from a national title.

He made the first, but the second didn't fall as the Bulldogs' Killian Tillie grabbed the carom.

SC coach Frank Martin wanted Thornwell to make the first free throw, which he did, and then miss the second one to the left, hoping that Gamecocks forward Chris Silva could tap the ball out to a teammate to get a last-second shot to send the game into overtime or win it in regulation with a 3-pointer.

"We had been practicing it all year and we always want to foul under 6 (seconds)". "I thought the guys did a great job".

No. 7 seed SC, ever full of surprises, made that inevitable run - coming all the way back from a 14-point deficit midway through the second half to take a 67-65 lead with 7:06 left via a 16-0 run - and forced Gonzaga to earn it, possession by brutal possession, until the final seconds.

"It's who we are", SC coach Frank Martin said.

"I knew I had a couple of rough games before this", Collins said. They're 206-39 these last six years, losing double-digit games just once.

The Bulldogs steadied themselves with a 7-0 run, punctuated by a dunk and a layup from Karnowski.

It was the largest first-half deficit for SC during the tourney.

The Under Armour-sponsored Gamecocks were led in scoring by guard PJ Dozier, who had 17 points.

Karnowski went down on the court in the first half after being poked in the right eye as he took a shot underneath the basket. University of Stadium was rocking hosting it's first Final Four and proved to be a unique environment for the game on it's biggest stage. 2, 3 and 4 seeds in the East region.

South Carolina's Cinderella run to the Final Four ended at the hands of Gonzaga on Saturday night, and head coach Frank Martin had some important words to share - as usual. Thornwell scored 15, falling 11 points shy of his 26 point performance against the Florida Gators in the Elite 8. Rebounds - South Carolina 35 (Silva 13), Gonzaga 36 (Collins 13). "And we just never stopped believing and we've had the utmost confidence in ourselves the entire season long", Williams-Goss said. Fouled Out-Brooks. Rebounds-Oregon 42 (Bell 16), North Carolina 42 (Meeks 14).

  • Julie Sanders