NCAA Tournament: Gonzaga advances with 72-58 win over Florida St.
No. 1 seed Gonzaga is one win away from their second Final Four appearance in three years after beating No. 4 seed Florida State 72-58 in their Sweet 16 matchup Thursday night.
Gonzaga led by as many as 13 points in the second half, but Florida State rallied to cut the lead to four points with just over 4 minutes to play. But, Gonzaga Guard Zach Norvell answered with a three-pointer and the Zags cruised from there.
Norvell and four others finished in double-figures with Forward Rui Hachimura leading the way with 17 points.
Gonzaga (33-3) will play the winner of the matchup between No. 2 seed Michigan and No. 3 seed Texas Tech Saturday at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
Last year, the Seminoles, then seeded ninth, knocked off the fourth-seeded Bulldogs 75-60 before losing in the Elite Eight to eventual runner-up Michigan.
Gonzaga, playing in its 21st straight NCAA Tournament and with the third No. 1 seed in program history, dominated Fairleigh Dickinson 87-49 in the first round and then beat Baylor 83-71 to reach the Sweet 16.
The Bulldogs have been led by junior forwards Hachimura and Brandon Clarke so far in the tournament, with the former leading the way with 21 points and eight rebounds in the first round, while Clarke turned it up a notch in the second round with a season-high 36 points to go with eight rebounds and five blocks.
The Bulldogs went through West Coast Conference play undefeated, but were knocked off in the conference tournament title game by Saint Mary’s, snapping their six-year reign as WCC tournament champs.
Once seen as a mid-major underdog, Gonzaga has long since become a national basketball power. The team has now advanced to at least the Sweet 16 in five straight tournaments, including an Elite Eight berth in 2015 and a loss to North Carolina in the national title game in 2017.
Florida State (29-8), which beat No. 13 Vermont 76-69 in the first round and then dispatched No. 12 Murray State 90-62 in the second, sought an Elite Eight berth for just the fourth time in program history.
The Seminoles were playing in their third straight tournament.