Gonzaga advances in Boise in thriller

Gonzaga advances in Boise in thriller

There aren’t many advantages to being a lower seed, but the University of North Carolina Greensboro utilized every bit of the chip on their shoulder to give fourth-seeded Gonzaga a scare on Thursday morning in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

The Spartans stayed close for most of the first half, as the Zags got production on offense from freshman Corey Kispert and Johnathan Williams, who ended the game with 19 points and 13 rebounds

A switch to zone defense mid-way through the second half halted any Bulldog offense, and UNCG came all the way back.

A layup from Jordy Kuiper put the Spartans up 2, which Josh Perkins tied with a pull-up jumper. Zach Norvell hit a three-pointer with 23 seconds remaining to give the Zags a 3-point lead, one they would not relinquish.

In a game much closer than anyone predicted, the team was just happy to survive and advance

Silas Melson: You know it might not look as good on the scoreboard, but i’s about results in the tournament it”s either you win or you lose and we got the job done today.

Corey Kispert: This is as good as it gets, right? I mean, welcome to March. They were really tough, rebounded the ball really well and didn’t make it easy on us, not giving us those second chance points we usually get. They played really tough and we had to stick it out all the way to the very end.

Josh Perkins: I mean, everything, my heart is still going like we’re playing in the last stretch. But for us to go out on top, you can’t even put words to it, and I’m glad we’re still dancing.”

Gonzaga will play No. 5 seed Ohio State Buckeyes on Saturday.