Gonzaga Falls To Nevada In Second Round
By ANNE M. PETERSON
SEATTLE (AP) - Now Gonzaga knows what it's like to get knocked out by a plucky underdog.
Once the darlings of the NCAA tournament, the second-seeded Bulldogs were blown out by Nevada, 91-72 Saturday in the second round.
Kevinn Pinkney scored 20 points, Todd Okeson had 19 and Kirk Snyder had 18 for 10th-seeded Nevada (25-8).
The loss snapped a school-record 21-game winning streak for Gonzaga (28-3), which had lost only to No. 1 seeds Stanford and Saint Joseph's this season.
Players on Gonzaga's bench stood in amazement in the final minute and Kyle Bankhead sobbed at the buzzer, while Wolf Pack fans chanted "Sweet 16! Sweet 16!"
Nevada, in the tournament for the first time in 19 years, was one of just three double-digit seeds to reach the second round. The Western Athletic Conference tournament champions upset Michigan State on Thursday night.
The Wolf Pack advance to the St. Louis Regional to play the winner of Sunday's game between Boston College and Georgia Tech.
It was the eighth straight season that at least one No. 10 seed has advanced to the round of 16.
Since 1999, 10th-seeded teams are 8-2 against No. 2 seeds - two of those upsets were by Gonzaga.
This time it was Nevada's turn.
"You know, these guys I got playing for me are pretty good players," coach Trent Johnson said.
The Bulldogs, who trailed by as many as 20 points in the first half and went into the break behind 47-32, narrowed it to 49-40 on Cory Violette's layup.
Violette had 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Zags.
Gonzaga, which made a surprising run to the round of eight in 1999, was in the tournament for the seventh time with its highest seed ever. Finally rewarded with the high seed they had hoped for in years past, the Zags didn't live up to it.
The Bulldogs took top-seeded Arizona to double overtime in the second round last year before losing as the ninth seed. Gonzaga, a sixth seed, lost to No. 11 Wyoming in 2002.
With aggressive inside play, Nevada went on a 12-4 run to take a surprising 19-11 lead. They opened the game with 60 percent shooting from the floor.
Okeson pounded his chest after he hit a a 3-pointer to extend Nevada's lead to 24-13, and the Wolf Pack's contingent of fans cheered wildly. Okeson didn't even set up when his next 3 put Nevada ahead 27-13.
Gonzaga got into trouble when Turiaf got his third foul with 11:07 to go in the first half. Blake Stepp didn't even score until he made the second of two free throws with 10:17 to go.
Stepp did not score from the floor for Gonzaga until he hit a 3-pointer and got fouled with 4:40 left.
Stepp, off-target in the Zags' opening-round win against Valparaiso, also had an off-game Saturday, shooting just 3-for-18 from the floor. He finished with 13 points and five assists.
"I felt good. They just didn't go down," Stepp said. "If I ever make it to the NBA, I hope I don't have to play in KeyArena."
The Wolf Pack got a brief scare late in the half when Jermaine Washington, chasing after a ball, tumbled over the courtside scorer's table and onto the floor behind the Nevada bench.
Washington was not hurt, and the effort for the ball exemplified the Wolf Pack's aggressive style of play.
Stepp missed a 3-point attempt as time ran out in the half and the Gonzaga fans roundly booed the officials as they left the floor.
Turiaf returned to the floor for Gonzaga in the second half, but quickly collected his fourth foul and went to the bench until the final 10 minutes. He also finished with 13 points.
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