Gonzaga Bulldogs hold off South Carolina Gamecocks to reach National Championship game

Violet Tucker
April 17, 2017

Kennedy Meeks is the biggest O-rebound producer, grabbing 3.68 per game, good for 10th nationally. No surprise there, either.

Meeks, the only Tar Heel who could shoot straight Saturday night, grabbed the game-saving offensive rebound in a 77-76 victory over OR after the ice-cold Tar Heels missed their fourth straight free throw down the stretch.

They await the victor of Saturday night's other national semifinal game between No. 1 North Carolina and No. 3 Oregon.

The Gonzaga Bulldogs are headed to the national title game. His 21 points came on 11 shots from the field and he only went 3 for 7 from behind the arc.

The program that is labeled a mid-major and acts and plays like a major, seeks to finish the deal and give Few one more opportunity to turn a handstand in the locker room.

Despite playing against the highly rated Gonzaga defense, SC suddenly found life, going on a 16-0 run in just three minutes to erase what looked like an increasingly hopeless double-digit deficit and instead put the Gamecocks ahead.

Never happened. And after Keith Smith's layup pulled OR within one with 7 seconds left, it looked like it would come down to free throws.

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The Gonzaga Bulldogs hold off the resurgent South Carolina Gamecocks to advance to the national championship with a 77-73 win on Saturday night. The biggest contribution off the bench came from Zach Collins who finished with a double-double, 14 pounts, 13 rebounds and six blocks.

"We said all year that we're a tight group", said Williams-Goss.

The Bulldogs maintained a slim lead from there and led 75-72 with 12.7 seconds left as the Gamecocks set up a final play. Thornwell made the first and intentionally missed the second, but Killian Tillie pulled down the rebound for the Bulldogs.

While the Gamecocks trailed by nine points at half and it looked like this match-up was headed for a blowout, SC rallied back, using a 16-0 run during the second half to take a two-point lead with just over seven minutes remaining. "We now have a lot of people believing that we can do great stuff", Gamecocks forward Chris Silva said.

"I don't think there was ever a thought in our mind that he wasn't going to play, just the type of guy he is", Associated Press All-American Justin Jackson said. Coach Roy Williams said Berry probably wouldn't have been able to play Tuesday if the Tar Heels had a game because of the two sprained ankles Berry has. OR and UNC will tip off roughly 40 minutes after the conclusion of that game.

The leading scorer in the tournament coming into the Final Four at 25.8 per game, Thornwell scored 15 points and shot 4-for-12 from the field for seventh-seeded SC (26-11).

Przemek Karnowski - 7-foot-1 and 300 pounds - took a hand to the face and went down hard under the Gonzaga basket.

Other reports by Guamnewswatch

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