Junior guard Nigel Williams-Goss scored a game-high 23 points as the No. 1 seed Gonzaga Bulldogs made light work of No. 11 seed Xavier with a 83-59 victory in the West Region final on March 24 in San Jose, Calif.
Gonzaga players celebrate after a win over Xavier during an NCAA Tournament college basketball regional final game Saturday, March 25, 2017, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Gonzaga (36-1) moves on to the Final Four for the first time ever, finally breaking through after eight Sweet 16 appearances and three trips to the Elite Eight in school history.
Xavier (24-14) was simply no match for Gonzaga’s explosive offense, which saw four players in the starting lineup scoring double digits. While Gross led the way, junior forward Johnathan Williams added 19 points with eight rebounds; sophomore guard Josh Perkins and senior guard Jordan Mathews each added 11 points.
Gonzaga matched its offense with an efficient defense, holding Xavier to just 35 percent shooting. Star junior guard Trevon Bluiett was held to just 10 points in the loss, nearly nine points fewer than his season average.
“They’re really good. Sometimes you just lose to a better team,” Xavier coach Chris Mack told reporters after the game. “They’ve proven it all year long.”
Gonzaga will take on in next week’s Final Four, the Sunday, March 26 East Region Championship winner of No. 4 Florida’s Elite Eight matchup with No. 7 South Carolina.
In the other Elite Eight NCAA Tourney action, No. 3 Oregon knocked off No. 1 seed Kansas, 74-60, in the Midwest Region championship. Oregon will take on in next week’s Final Four, the Sunday, March 26 South Region Championship winner of No. 1 North Carolina’s matchup with No. 2 Kentucky.