Zags Record-Breaking Season Ends in Elite Eight
HOUSTON (AP) – Second-seeded Gonzaga fell to top-seeded Duke 66-52 in the South Regional Final on Sunday in Houston, Texas.
Duke's Justise Winslow, the freshman playing home in Houston, had 16 points, including a 3-pointer in the closing minutes. Matt Jones had also had 16 points while freshman Tyus Jones had 15 points, while Jahlil Okafor nine points and eight rebounds.
Duke (33-4), the region's No. 1 seed, is going to Indianapolis to play Michigan State in the Final Four.
Duke's last Final Four and national title was in 2010, when the Blue Devils were also the No. 1 seed in the South Regional and had to go through Houston.
No. 2 seed Gonzaga (35-3) had taken a 38-34 lead less than 4 minutes into the second half, putting the Blue Devils in their largest deficit of this tournament.
The young Blue Devils responded with nine straight points and never trailed again. They had stretched it to 60-51 when Winslow made a 3-pointer from the left wing with 2:28 left.
Gonzaga, in its 17th consecutive NCAA Tournament, was trying to get to the Final Four for the first time.
This was only Gonzaga's second regional final, and its first since 1999, when the Bulldogs were a No. 10 seed that lost to top-seeded UConn. Mark Few was an assistant coach on that squad, and took over as head coach the following season.
It was the final game for seniors Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr., who had both played at least 135 games for Gonzaga.
Kyle Wiltjer, the transfer from Kentucky who as a freshman was part of the Wildcats' 2012 national championship, had 16 points for Gonzaga. Byron Wesley had 10.
Wesley, the other Gonzaga senior starter who had transferred from USC for his final season, picked up a loose ball and made a layup while being foul. His free throw made it 38-34 with 16:20 left.
Duke's comeback stretch included a tiebreaking 3-pointer by Matt Jones on an assist from Tyus Jones.
Okafor then made a jumper to put the Blue Devils back up 43-38.
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