NCAA Tournament scores 2017: Gonzaga downs Northwestern 79-73 in Second Round

Courtesy Gonzaga Athletics

It was goal-tending all the way. The change in momentum was ultimately what sealed the Wildcats fate, an unfortunate set of circumstances that ended Northwestern's first trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Chris Collins lost his mind and got a costly tech with under five minutes to go in Northwestern's loss to Gonzaga in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday over a missed goaltending call.

"I thought our coaches had us dialed into a great game plan", Williams-Goss said. "It makes me feel great", he said deadpanned, the last part garnering laughter from writers in the crowd.

The Wildcats struggled to get around Gonzaga's length defensively in the first half, missing their first 10 shots from behind the arc before guard Vic Law made a 3-pointer with just over a minute remaining until halftime - Northwestern shot 30 percent overall in the first half and trailed 38-20 at halftime.

Collins had a few big moments.

Chris Collins went berserk, running on to the court and drawing a technical foul.

The NCAA sent the statement out while Collins was talking to reporters, so someone read it aloud to the coach.

That crucial sequence denied the "Cats a chance to cut the Bulldogs" lead to three, instead giving Gonzaga two technical free throws at the other end to extend its margin to seven points, 65-58, plus possession, with just under five minutes remaining.

If the coach had any regrets, they weren't apparent in the aftermath.


"If I see a guy from another team put his hand through the rim and block a shot going through the basket, I'm going to react if the play isn't called, " Collins said. I think all of you would. Of course. That cuts it to three. We like playing with our backs against the wall.

What a comeback it was.

Pardon had Zach Collins pinned down low for what should have been an easy hoop. Gonzaga dominated the flow of the game so far. "We weren't really anxious about (that)". An usher seated in the Vivint Arena tunnel looked up and said, "we were rooting for you guys".

Xavier is headed back to the Sweet 16 after dominating Florida State, 91-66, in a West Region second-round game on Saturday night.

Trevon Bluiett had a game-high 29 points for the Musketeers (23-13), who will be making their sixth appearance in the Sweet 16 over the past decade.

The run gave the Wildcats a 55-48 lead and Saint Mary's never led again.

But Northwestern's second half was not short of life. Williams-Goss along with Jordan Mathews led the Bulldogs with 34 points. There are two ways to win in the NCAA Tournament: have one or more gifted players who will go to the National Basketball Association after their freshmen seasons; or have talented, but not too talented, players who can grow together to the point where they are very unsafe by the time they're juniors and seniors.

It's the second straight day of tournament action in which referees have had questionable judgement. Daxter Miles Jr. (18 points), Tarik Phillip (12 points off the bench) and Carter combined for 54 of West Virginia's 83 points on 17-of-29 shooting. "That's what this tournament is all about - you just need to advance". And the story of the game was the first half.

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