Coaches will tell you there is nothing more attractive than winning ugly, especially in a moment as significant as the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, a step Gonzaga advanced from Thursday night by outslugging West Virginia 61-58 at the SAP Center.
The game between the Gonzaga Bulldogs and West Virginia Mountaineers was an absolute grind in the Sweet 16 on Thursday night. They always get so close and just when you think they have turned the corner, they foul a 90 percent free throw shooter 40 feet from the basket, miss two free throws, miss a lay-up and a dunk and allow a dagger 3-pointer. Most teams don't have double-digit offensive rebounding numbers for an entire game.
They had the Gonzaga Bulldogs on the ropes during their Thursday night Sweet 16 contest. Lead by Polish big man Przemek Karnowski, the Bulldogs took an eight-point lead early in the second half. He abandoned the press and went to the zone, but Gonzaga found open spaces and open shots.
The victor will earn a berth in the Elite Eight and will take on the victor of tonight's other contest between No. 2 seed Arizona and No. 11 Xavier.
Jevon Carter was suddenly feeling his oats, too. He made one of two, giving West Virginia a chance to tie. "So I know it has to hurt a lot, probably more than it hurt me".
The Mountaineers had the ball down three with 37.9 seconds left on the clock - plenty of time to score quickly and foul, or, milk it for the last shot.
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The possession looked dead at this point, but Carter had to do something.
It seemed Carter might have been responsible for the game-winning play with 1:48 remaining, when he made a three-pointer to West Virginia ahead 58-55. Williams-Goss had 10. They haven't allowed a team to shoot 50 percent this season and allowed just one opponent to reach 80 points on January 5. It initially appeared that Williams-Goss had grabbed the ensuing rebound - but he had it poked away from him, and it wound up in the hands of Nathan Adrian with no one around him.
West Virginia played an outstanding game against Notre Dame in round two after a solid victory over Bucknell to kick off the NCAA Tournament.
After a the referees took a long trip to the monitor, Jevon Carter walked over to the crowd of West Virginia faithful across from the WVU bench and raised his arms - as to be expected, they erupted. The second came with a foul by Adrian, and the four-point play put Gonzaga up 41-34.
West Virginia finished the half with six straight points and was up 42-33 at the break. Miles didn't manage to get a shot off before the horn sounded. The ball makes its way back to Carter. They were 15 of 20 in the first half, meaning they got as many points during the action as they did during the pauses within.
In the end, this was something of a fitting end to an extremely sloppy and foul-happy basketball game. Many thought Arizona would ultimately be the team to end Gonzaga's March Madness run, but now that the Wildcats are out of it.
"We had a shoot-around walk-through today and made every shot".