Gonzaga crushes Xavier, reaches first Final Four

SAN JOSE -- Gonzaga guard Nigel Williams-Goss scored 23 points, forward Johnathan Williams had 19 points and the Bulldogs bombed their way into their first Final Four with an 83-59 victory over Xavier in the NCAA West Regional final at the SAP Center on Saturday.

Williams-Goss made four 3-pointers and guard Josh Perkins had three as the top-seeded Bulldogs exploited Xavier's zone defense with their long-range accuracy, making 12 of 24 3-point attempts. Six Bulldogs made 3-pointers, including 6-foot-9 Williams, who had eight rebounds.

Gonzaga (36-1) will play the winner of Sunday's Florida-South Carolina game in one NCAA semifinal next Saturday. Gonzaga, which won its first 29 games, has a six-game winning streak.

Guard J.P. Macura led 11th-seeded Xavier (24-14) with 18 points.

The Musketeers shot only 35.5 percent from the field, including 26.7 in the second half, and could not make a dent in Gonzaga's 10-point halftime lead.

Gonzaga limited its four NCAA Tournament opponents to 33.7 percent shooting. It held teams to 36.5 percent in the regular season.

Musketeers leading scorer guard Trevon Bluiett had 10 points on 3-of-14 shooting while being primarily covered by Williams and Williams-Goss. Bluiett had 75 points in the first three NCAA games, including 25 in a 73-71 victory over Arizona on Thursday.

The Bulldogs set a school record for victories with their 30th double-digit win of the season. They have 28 NCAA Tournament wins, one more than Xavier.

Perkins and Jordan Mathews had 11 points apiece, and Williams-Goss had eight rebounds and four assists.

Gonzaga stretched its lead to 69-49 two possessions after Xavier coach Chris Mack was called for a technical foul with 10:51 remaining and was never challenged.

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Gonzaga made eight 3-pointers in the first half, three by Perkins, and led by 11 twice in the first half after pulling away from a 27-25 lead when Macura made two free throws with 7:49 remaining.

Williams-Goss' 3-pointer from the top of the key capped a 14-5 run for a 41-30 Gonzaga lead with 2:51 left, and Williams made a driving layup and a free throw for a 44-33 lead at 1:34.

RaShid Gaston was credited with the strangest basket of the half after a battle for a Bluiett miss. The ball was knocked to the floor, and it bounced off the backboard and into the hoop with 15 seconds remaining to make it 47-39.

Williams-Goss' layup made it 49-39 at half. Macura made a three-quarter-court shot at the end of the half that was first allowed, then correctly ruled to have come after the buzzer.

NOTES: Gonzaga and Xavier are two of the eight schools that have played in at least 11 of the last 12 NCAA Tournaments. Gonzaga has played in 19 straight. ... Gonzaga F Adam Morrison scored 35 points in the teams' only other meeting in the NCAA Tournament, a 79-75 Gonzaga victory in a 2006 West Regional first-round game in Salt Lake City. Gonzaga was seeded third, Xavier 14th. ... Gonzaga and Xavier are two of 28 Jesuit schools competing at the top level of the NCAA. Gonzaga has an enrollment of 7,837. Xavier's is 6,522. ... Gonzaga, North Carolina and Wisconsin are the only three programs to appear in the Elite Eight each of the last three years.