SAN JOSE, Calif., Sporting Alert — Top seed Gonzaga blew away No. 11 Xavier 83-59 to reach the NCAA Tournament Final Four for the first time in school history on Saturday night. Final Stats | USATSI Photo Gallery
Leading guard Nigel Williams-Goss had 23 points, eight rebounds, four assists and two steals for the Bulldogs (36-1), who became the first West Coast team to reach the Final Four since San Francisco went to three straight from 1955-57.
Gonzaga was the 7-5 favorite at the Westgate SuperBook to win the West Regional before the NCAA tournament started and it has completed those odds.
“Just an incredible feeling of elation and satisfaction,” Zags coach Mark Few said. “It’s been a long, hard journey to get this program here.”
Johnathan Williams added 19 points and eight rebounds, three blocks and two steals, while Josh Perkins and Jordan Mathews each scored 11 points for Gonzaga, which shot 47.5-percent from the floor and made 12-for-24 from 3-point range.
“The Final Four doesn’t validate or discredit a season. It’s not an end-all, be-all,” Williams said.
“Gonzaga has been a great program and we’re just happy to keep carrying the torch.”
J.P. Macura scored 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting to go with five rebounds to lead Xavier (24-14).
“They’re really good. Sometimes you just lose to a better team,” Xavier coach Chris Mack said.
“They’ve proven it all year long.”
Trevon Bluiett added 10 points with seven rebounds for the Musketeers.
“They were just locked in,” said Bluiett. “They were a discipline type of team and we just didn’t execute well enough.”
Both teams pulled down 38 rebounds apiece, but Xavier was held to just six assists on 22 made field goals.
Many doubted Gonzaga in the buildup towards the NCAA Tournament, but the WCC champion, which only defeat this season came against BYU, has shown that its complete game will be difficult for any team to breakdown.
The Bulldogs are have certainly proven they are worthy to be called a definite title contender.
The Zags moves on to face the winner between South Carolina and Florida in next week’s Final Four in Arizona.