Williams-Goss, Gonzaga stave off Northwestern
SALT LAKE CITY -- Nigel Williams-Goss scored 20 points while Jordan Mathews and Zach Collins added 14 apiece to help No. 1 seed Gonzaga survive a late rally and beat Northwestern 79-73 on Saturday in the second round of the West Region of the NCAA Tournament.
The Bulldogs (34-1) prevailed despite scoring just four baskets over the final 13 minutes of the second half. Gonzaga has advanced to the Sweet 16 for the third consecutive season.
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Bryant McIntosh scored 20 points and Vic Law added 18 and eight rebounds to lead the Wildcats.Northwestern (24-12) rallied from a 21-point deficit in the second half, but ultimately couldn't fully overcome a sluggish start on offense.
Northwestern could get nothing to work on offense before halftime. The Wildcats shot just 30 percent from the field and did not make a 3-pointer until Law buried a long-distance basket with 1:01 left in the first half.
Gonzaga took full advantage of Northwestern's offensive struggles. The Bulldogs allowed a single basket over a 10:15 stretch in the first half and built a 22-8 lead during that stretch. Williams-Goss and Mathews made back-to-back baskets to break an early 6-6 tie. Williams-Goss finished off the lengthy run on a dunk with 6:27 left before halftime.
Gonzaga eventually led by as many as 22 points in the first half. The Bulldogs went up 34-12 with 2:30 remaining before halftime when Przemek Karnowski scored a pair of baskets sandwiched around a dunk from Williams-Goss over three straight possessions.
Northwestern cut the deficit to 44-32 early in the second half on Law's corner 3-pointer. Williams-Goss quickly dialed up a basket from the perimeter on the other end. Collins followed by driving to the rim and converting 3-point plays on back-to-back possessions to give Gonzaga a 53-34 lead.
The Wildcats didn't go away. Nathan Taphorn buried a pair of 3-pointers to cap a 15-4 run and cut Gonzaga's lead to 59-50.
Once the Bulldogs' lead fell under single digits, Northwestern ratcheted up the pressure. The Wildcats trimmed it to 63-58 with 5:31 remaining on Law's putback dunk off a missed 3-pointer from McIntosh.
Northwestern lost valuable momentum when Collins appeared to commit goaltending after blocking Dererk Pardon's layup attempt with 4:58 left that would have cut it to three. Chris Collins got hit with a technical foul for protesting the no-call and Williams-Goss made a pair of free throws on the other end.
Gonzaga eventually extended its lead to 69-59 on a jumper with 3:00 left. The Wildcats never drew closer than five points the rest of the way.
NOTES: Northwestern went just 1 of 11 from 3-point range in the first half. The Wildcats missed 10 straight baskets from the perimeter before finally making one. ... Gonzaga C Zach Collins finished with four blocks. ... Northwestern outscored Gonzaga 17-3 in points off turnovers after halftime. The Wildcats forced 11 second-half turnovers. Gonzaga G Nigel Williams-Goss scored 14 of his 20 points in the first half.