The Gonzaga Bulldogs defeated the Southern University Jaguars 64-58 to advance to the third round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
Being the first one seed to fall to a sixteen seed would have been embarrassing. Throughout much of the game, it looked as though we might see it happen.
The Gonzaga Bulldogs struggled in the first half against Southern University. Heading into the lockeroom, Gonzaga only held a 34-31 lead. Gonzaga only shot 42% from the field to Southern’s 47%. Bulldogs guard Kevin Pangos led the way with 9 first half points while Wooden Award Finalist Kelly Olynyk was quiet, only putting up 4 points and 3 rebounds. Southern guard Derek Beltran made things tough on Gonzaga scoring 7 points with 2 rebounds and two assists.
The Gonzaga Bulldogs continued to struggle in the second half. They finally managed to build a nine point lead with 10:13 remaining in the second half, but the Jaguars would not back down. With under 3:47 left to play a Beltran jump shot tied the game at 56 . Gonzaga answered with a three pointer from Gary Bell Jr.
With 2:28 remaining, Bell Jr. fouled Beltran giving him free throws, pulling Southern within a point. Pangos answered with a huge three point shot, extending Gonzaga’s lead to 62-58. Two free thows from Pangos sealed the victory for the Zag’s.
Kelly Olynyk finished the game with 21 points and 10 rebounds.
The physical play of Southern slowed the offensive attack of Gonzaga, and this may be a blueprint used by teams moving forward in the tournament. Gonzaga will now move on to face #9 seed Wichita State on Saturday.