Zags Upset Cavs On Calvary Putback, 86-85

March 16, 2001

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    AP Sports Writer

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Gonzaga is causing trouble for the big guys again.

    Casey Calvary put back a blocked shot with 9.2 seconds left Friday to give Gonzaga an 86-85 victory over Virginia in the opening round of the South Regional and add to the Zags' list of upsets. For Calvary it was the second game-winner at an NCAA Tournament after his put back in 1999 carried GU to the Elite Eight with a 73-72 win over Florida.

    "I don't know where I was or where Dan was," stated Calvary when explaining the last few seconds of the game. He was bringing the ball up and was going to dish or put up the shot. That was what we talked about in the huddle and the ball bounced off the glass and right to me and I put it in."

    Gonzaga, seeded No. 12, was ahead by as many as 13 and looked in control heading down the stretch, but fifth-seeded Virginia (20-9) cut it to 82-80 on Roger Mason Jr.'s 3-pointer with 3:25 left.

    Mason hit another 3 two minutes later to give Virginia it's first lead of the second half, 85-84, with 1:28 left. J.C. Mathis, who shot less than 50 percent from the foul line on the season, was fouled with 21.4 seconds left but missed the free throw, and the Bulldogs had a chance.

    "We weren't crazy about playing them," Virginia coach Pete Gillen said. "They are much better than a 12 seed. It's not the committee's fault. They hadn't seen Gonzaga. These guys are tremendous."

    Gonzaga (25-6), which seemed to score easily throughout the game, couldn't find the basket in the last three minutes until the final possession. And even then it took a second effort by Calvary.

    Adam Hall blocked Dan Dickau's shot, but Calvary put it in for the one-point edge.



    Mason then missed a driving shot and time expired as players scrambled for the loose ball.

    "It's a terrifying situation to be in," Gonzaga head coach Mark Few said as he talked about the final play of Zags win. "You're worried about not fouling and you have a tremendous player (Robert Mason, Jr.) coming at you with the ball and time running out and he has 30 at that point. We made him take a tough shot. Fortunately it went our way but it could have easily gone Virginia's way and they were derserving to win also."

    Gonzaga will play No. 13 Indiana State in the second round on Sunday after the Sycamores upset No. 4 Oklahoma 70-68 in overtime.

    Dickau scored 29 points for Gonzaga while Calvary added 16, Alex Hernandez 15 and Zach Gourde 12. Calvary also had a career-high 15 rebounds but none bigger than the last one that sent Gonzaga onto the next round. For fans of the Bulldogs it may have sparked some memories of another Calvary rebound and put back that sent Gonzaga to the Elite Eight in 1999.

    "My whole mindframe was bringing the ball down the court and and was to get down the lane and put up the shot. I was going to make it or knew this guy (Calvary) was going to pick up the scraps and put it in. Quentin Hall missed a layup and big fellow over here tipped it in and that started our run. Thanks Casey," said a very happy Dickau at the post-game press conference.

    Gonzaga now joins the legendary San Francisco teams of the 1950's as the only West Coast Conference schools to win three consecutive first round games in the NCAA Tournament.

    Virginia was led by Mason with a career-high 30 points, while Donald Hand had 14.

    Virginia couldn't find a way to stop Dickau in the first half, and he poured in shots from as far away as 23 feet. The junior point guard finished the first half with 21 points, including four 3-pointers.

    "Dickau was hitting shots. Loose balls, they'd go get them, he'd have them. Bang! Three!. He'd be way out, shoot a scud, hit the rim, hit the backboard, go in. He was on fire," Gillen said.

    Virginia trimmed the lead to 48-42 at halftime, but Gonzaga didn't let the Cavaliers stay close for long.

    After Watson scored with 15:38 to cut it to 54-53, Gonzaga went on a 12-0 run helped by Virginia mistakes. Hernandez scored on a goaltending call, and Hall missed three layups.

    Calvary dunked in Dickau's missed 3-pointer to give Gonzaga a 66-53 lead with 11:37 remaining.

    Trailing by 13, the Cavaliers had a 13-4 run capped by Keith Friel's third 3 in a row with 9:03 left that cut it to 70-66.

    But Dickau hit a 3-pointer to put the Zags back up by seven. Virginia cut it to four twice but each time Gonzaga's defense held until the final minutes.

    "That is the character of this team," explained a tired Dickau after playing 39 minutes against the Cavaliers. "We are a bunch of tough guys and never want to quit and give up. Obviously that showed tonight."

    Watson's basket with 3:25 left cut it to 82-80, and Calvary scored to push the lead back to four. But Gonzaga didn't score again until Calvary's final basket.

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