Friday, 24 November, 2017

Northwestern returns home after falling to Gonzaga in NCAA Tournament

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Kristopher Love | 20 March, 2017, 00:28

And for the coming weeks, months and years, for that matter.

Northwestern fans will be making most of the noise inside the building, and Gonzaga, once the tournament darlings as underdogs, can appreciate the Wildcats' feel-good story.

After trailing by 18 at halftime, Northwestern cut the deficit against No. 1 Gonzaga to five in the second half. He drew a technical, and instead of Northwestern cutting the lead to three, Gonzaga hit both free throws to make it 65-58.

"This is just the beginning, " promised Law, who saluted the crowd as the last Wildcat off the court. But the Bulldogs didn't wait to grab control of the game, opening up a 10-0 run aided by NU's five early turnovers, a whole lot of missed shots and some favorable calls. "And they just had kind of a spirit of a victor, and we talked about that at halftime". I was cool with 1-seeded Gonzaga pasting them, and the Bulldogs jumped out to a 34-12 lead in the first half.

"We do look forward to that", junior guard Silas Melson said. Saint Mary's (29-5) has advanced to the Sweet 16 just one time during coach Randy Bennett's tenure.

One-seed Gonzaga advances to its third Sweet 16 in a row, and will face five-seed West Virginia in San Jose on Thursday. After the game, the Gonzaga center was still unclear about what, exactly, happened.

But Collins also probably shouldn't have been so demonstrative about yelling at the referees.

"It would have been a three-point game". And we fought to the very end. That's what it boils down to. Be angry and yell all you want, but do it from the sideline.

"We'll take the win whether it's pretty, ugly".

Bryant McIntosh led Northwestern with 7 pts and Nigel Williams - Goss 14 pts for Gonzaga. The Wildcats cut the Zags' lead to under double-digits for the first time with 8:42 to go, 59-50, on a Nathan Taphorn 3-pointer.

"It still was an unbelievable year for this program, " Lindsey said in the losing locker room.

I hope we all find something we love as much as this kid loves Northwestern basketball. You'll be like every other fan base that thinks it got jobbed somehow. "We knew they were going to make a run".

McIntosh talked about what a special group of teammates he has.

That's an automatic technical foul in any situation, but the coach really did have a reason to be upset.

"Coach Few has done that (shown confidence in him) all year, not even just in games but he's on me in practice to always post up and ask for the ball", Collins said. But it was clear that Collins had stuck his hand up through the rim, which is basket interference. And the way we fought it was great. But in the second half the Wildcats came roaring back, by doing to Gonzaga what Gonzaga had done to them. But there should be a YO, HE PUT HIS ARM THROUGH THE BASKET exception, for when a player sticks his freakin' arm through the basket and none of the refs say anything. Junior guard Trevon Bluiett finished with 29 points for the 11th-seeded Musketeers, who will meet the victor of Saturday's game between Arizona and Saint Mary's next week in San Jose.