Zags Have Georgia On Their Mind!
March 18, 2001
By ELIZABETH A. DAVIS
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - No upset necessary for Gonzaga this time.
The Bulldogs finally got to play a lower seed in the NCAA tournament and now head to the round of 16 for the third straight year.
"We weathered a serious storm there," stated Gonzaga head coach Mark Few who is taking his second straight Bulldog club to the Sweet Sixteen. "That score is definately not indicative of this game. We beat a very good basketball team. My hat's off to Indiana State."
The Bulldogs (26-6) will play top-seeded Michigan State in a regional semifinal in Atlanta on Friday. The Spartans dropped Fresno State, 81-65 in Sunday's final game in Memphis. The other half of the bracket will consist of No. 11 Temple against No. 7 Penn State.
Gonzaga came within one victory of the Final Four as a 10th seed in 1999, and reached the round of 16 from the same slot last year. Each time, the Bulldogs knocked out second-seeded teams in the second round.
On Sunday, though, Gonzaga had some trouble early against the Sycamores (22-12), whose first-round win over Oklahoma was their first tournament success since Larry Bird led the team to the 1979 championship game.
After Marcus Howard's 3-pointer put Indiana State up 51-48 with 12:09 left, Gonzaga coach Mark Few called a timeout and yelled "Settle down!" at his players.
That was all it took to get Gonzaga going.
Calvary and freshman Kyle Bankhead each hit 3-pointers, and Dickau made a smooth spinning move down the lane to put the Bulldogs ahead 56-51 with 9:17 remaining.
A barrage of 3-pointers from both sides followed, with Indiana State's Michael Menser hitting two 3s sandwiched around one by Calvary.
Matt Renn's 3-pointer for the Sycamores tied it at 60, but Dickau followed with a pull-up jumper and two free throws to put Gonzaga ahead 64-60 with 7:23 to go.
Then, after Menser hit yet another 3-pointer to pull Indiana State within 66-65 with 6:06 remaining, Zach Gourde's basket 20 seconds later started an 11-0 Gonzaga run that sealed the victory.
"Yesterday, I said Gonzaga was very good. Today they showed why," Indiana State head coach Royce Waltman commented on the Zags performance down the stretch. "Their experience showed today. I'm extremely pleased with what we have done this season."
Gourde scored 15 points, and Alex Hernandez 12 for the Bulldogs, who beat Stanford in 1999 and then St. John's last year in the second round.
"Alex has been huge," says coach Few of the junior college transfer. "We brought him in because we thought he could be a different kind of scorer for us. He's been big time in Memphis and he was a big key tonight."
Renn and Howard each scored 16, and Menser added 15 for Indiana State.
Indiana State led 37-32 after a tight and fast-paced first half. But Dickau, who didn't have a field goal in the opening 20 minutes, had a rebound basket and made a free throw to start Gonzaga on a 9-0 run to go ahead 45-43 with 14:48 left.
Gonzaga looked like the inexperienced tournament team in the first half with sloppy plays, missed shots and 13 turnovers.
Dickau, who scored 21 points in the first half against Virginia in the first round, only scored on three free throws and had four turnovers. The Zags, who average 14.3 turnovers a game, had just two in the second half. "I thought the halftime lead would carry over," Sycamore senior forward Matt Renn said following his final collegiate contest. "I thought we were playing really well defensively in the first half but they just outplayed us in the last few minutes of the second half."
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