Gonzaga avenges last year's NCAA exit with gutsy Sweet 16 win over Florida State

Last year, Gonzaga’s season ended in the Sweet 16 at the hands of Florida State.

On Thursday, the Bulldogs ensured there would not be a repeat performance in a gutsy 72-58 win over the same Seminoles team that eliminated them last year.

With the win, Gonzaga advances to Saturday’s West Regional final with a trip to the Final Four on the line.

It wasn’t a vintage performance from the nation’s most efficient offense. Florida State’s halfcourt pressure extended the perimeter and forced the Bulldogs into several mistakes.

But Gonazaga was adept on the other end, preventing Florida State from taking advantage on offense.

In a key second-half stretch, the Seminoles had an opportunity to cut into Gonzaga’s 55-45 lead as the Bulldogs failed to score for three minutes. But they couldn’t capitalize, going scoreless themselves in the same time span.

Florida State threatened as time ticked down, closing the gap to 60-56 with 4:11 remaining. But the Gonzaga offense showed its true colors down the stretch with an explosive run to close the game and secure the win.

11 PHOTOS
March Madness 2019: Photos from the second round
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March Madness 2019: Photos from the second round
Houston players celebrate after their second round men's college basketball game against Ohio State in the NCAA Tournament Sunday, March 24, 2019, in Tulsa, Okla. Houston won 74-59. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Oregon forward Louis King celebrates after scoring against UC Irvine during the second half of a second-round game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament Sunday, March 24, 2019, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Oregon guard Payton Pritchard, middle, drives to the basket between UC Irvine guard Spencer Rivers, left, and forward Elston Jones during the first half of a second-round game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament Sunday, March 24, 2019, in San Jose, Calif. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Texas Tech's Jarrett Culver (23) shoots past Buffalo's Nick Perkins (33) during the second half of a second round men's college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament Sunday, March 24, 2019, in Tulsa, Okla. Texas Tech won 78-58. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Gonzaga's Josh Perkins (13) reaches for Corey Kispert (24) after Kispert's 3-pointer against Baylor during the second half of a second-round game in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament Saturday, March 23, 2019, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Purdue's Carsen Edwards, left, and Villanova's Phil Booth dive for a loose ball during the first half of a second round men's college basketball game in the NCAA tournament, Saturday, March 23, 2019, in Hartford, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
LSU players celebrate after defeating Maryland 69-67 in a second-round game in the NCAA men’s college basketball tournament in Jacksonville, Fla., Saturday, March 23, 2019. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 24: Tommy Rutherford #42 of the UC Irvine Anteaters competes for the ball with Francis Okoro #33 of the Oregon Ducks in the second half during the second round of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at SAP Center on March 24, 2019 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
TULSA, OKLAHOMA - MARCH 24: Brison Gresham #55 of the Houston Cougars grabs a rebound against the Ohio State Buckeyes during the first half of the second round game of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at BOK Center on March 24, 2019 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA - MARCH 24: Wabissa Bede #3 of the Virginia Tech Hokies reacts with teammates on the bench in the second half against the Liberty Flames during the second round of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at SAP Center on March 24, 2019 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SOUTH CAROLINA - MARCH 24: Aubrey Dawkins #15 of the UCF Knights looks to tip-in the ball against the Duke Blue Devils during the second half in the second round game of the 2019 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Colonial Life Arena on March 24, 2019 in Columbia, South Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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