Final Four: Gonzaga Defeats South Carolina, Heads to Championship Game

Collins was outstanding down the stretch despite playing with four fouls.

The top-seeded Zags survived a furious second-half rally by the resilient 7th-seeded South Carolina Gamecocks to hold on a for a 77-73 win in front of 60,000-plus fans at University of Phoenix Stadium. That would be the last time any lead change would go down as SC would only get as close as two points the rest of the way. "Just kind of the intensity that he brings to the game".

The top-seeded Bulldogs must have believers now after assuring itself a trip to its first championship game with a 77-73 Final Four victory Saturday night against No. 7-seed SC at the University of Phoenix Stadium.

Oregon's defensive rebounding vs.

Why do you like North Carolina to win the title?

The Tar Heels were the national leader on the offensive glass during the regular season, snatching 15.74 per game, almost a full rebound more than the next-closest team.

So Thronwell missed, and here SC appeared to catch a break. Can they now knock off a number one seed to secure a place in the Championship Game Monday night? If the Gamecocks get through Gonzaga, though, there's no reason to think they can't beat the victor of North Carolina-Oregon.

Two words likely to be heard from OR coach Dana Altman a lot: "Box out!"

But Gonzaga would not go away or fall apart just because SC had rallied. However, no single player may have been a worse matchup for Frank Martin's team than their center, Przemek Karnowski.

Karnowski went down on the court in the first half after being poked in the right eye as he took a shot underneath the basket. Collins is an athletic 7-foot freshman who can score inside, outside and may be the best National Basketball Association prospect in the Final Four. Chris Silva had 13 points and 13 boards, while Duane Notice had 10 points.

Freshman Maik Kotsar will have the main responsibility of handling Karnowski.

The men fell short with nothing to be ashamed about.

The Ducks are often thought of as a fast-paced, high-flying team. One thing that's tricky about them is that they change defenses quite a bit.

The Gamecocks were the surprise team of this Final Four. Moments later Killian Tillie ensured a Gonzaga victory at the charity stripe.

Fast or slow, that could determine this side of the bracket.

Sindarius Thornwell is leading in scoring (21.6 points), rebounds (7.2), assists (2.8) and steals (2.8) per game. SC wasn't a great offensive team during the year, but they've been strong during the post season and looking to continue that in this one. Defense spurred the spurt, as it typically does with the Gamecocks.

^ SC needed to win four games to reach the first Final Four in program history. He had 22 points on 6-for-13 shooting.

On the postseason, Gonzaga is averaging 72.25 points per game.

Gonzaga's offense was a surprise all its own.

"Their redshirt plan for me was second to none with all the other schools I was looking at", Williams-Goss said.

As individual matchups go, this is a good one.

The only down side to being a nongraduate transfer is having to sit out a season, but Williams-Goss looked at that as a positive, and used it to refine his game. P.J. Dozier had 17 points and nine rebounds for SC, and despite the slow start, Thornwell finished with 15.