Gonzaga Bulldogs Out-work Kansas, Win 89-68 & Now Head To The Round Of 16 For The 9th Consecutive Season

In Salt Lake City, Utah, the Gonzaga Bulldogs, seeded 5th, showcased a dominant performance against the 4th-seeded Kansas team in the NCAA Tournament’s second round. They swiftly took control of the game and secured a convincing 89-68 victory, securing their spot in the round of 16 for the ninth consecutive year.

Similar to their first-round victory against McNeese State, the Bulldogs continued their impressive teamwork by spreading the ball effectively. Five players contributed double-digit points, highlighting their balanced offensive effort.

Anton Watson had an outstanding game, showcasing his skills with dunks, jumpers, and a three-pointer, leading the team with 21 points. Nolan Hickman was exceptional, hitting 3 out of 4 three-pointers and making 7 of 11 field goals for a total of 17 points. Ben Gregg was on fire, making all his shots, going 2 for 2 from beyond the arc and 6 for 6 from the field, tallying 15 points along with nine rebounds. Graham Ike also made a significant impact in the paint, scoring 15 points and grabbing nine rebounds. Freshman Braden Huff provided valuable contributions off the bench, scoring 11 points during crucial moments of the game.

While the three-pointers provided Gonzaga with a burst of energy and helped them extend their lead, it was their dominance in the paint that truly propelled them to a 21-point victory. The Bulldogs scored 32 points inside and out-rebounded the Jayhawks by a margin of 38-33.

Gonzaga had a blazing start in the first half, going on a 6-0 run initially, but then Kansas responded with a 15-4 run to take the lead.

At halftime, Kansas held a narrow one-point lead. However, Gonzaga’s coach, Mark Few, must have inspired his team during the break because they came out strong in the second half. They scored on their first 10 possessions and embarked on an 18-5 run, establishing a 61-49 lead within the first five minutes of the half.

The Zags maintained their aggressive play and solid defense throughout, limiting the Jayhawks to just 24 points in the latter half of the game.

Gonzaga displayed exceptional shooting accuracy, hitting 60.3% from the field, 53.3% from three-point range, and 73.3% from the free-throw line. Conversely, the Jayhawks struggled offensively, shooting only 38.6% from the field, 40.9% from beyond the arc, and 55.6% from the free-throw line.

Despite a tough shooting night, Ryan Nembhard showcased his playmaking abilities with 12 assists, setting a new single-season assists record for the Zags with 236 assists this season. His 11th assist, setting up Anton Watson for a three-pointer, surpassed the previous record held by Josh Perkins, achieved in 37 games. Nembhard achieved this milestone in just 34 games.

As the 5th-seeded team, Gonzaga advances to the round of 16 and awaits the winner between 1st-seed Purdue and 8th-seed Utah State, who face off on Sunday at 11:40 a.m. The Bulldogs will head to Detroit, Michigan, for their next game at the Little Caesars Arena on Friday, with specific timing and broadcast details to be announced after the completion of all second-round NCAA Tournament games.

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