Meeks shoots, and rebounds, and saves the day for Tar Heels

Lucy Hill
April 17, 2017

The normally strong SC defense was exploited, especially in the paint. South Carolina, meanwhile, enters its first Final Four having never been close to this deep a run. One key sequence came with 5:12 remaining when Karnowski was poked in the eye on a block by Chris Silva and crashed to the court on a play near the basket.

They may be in a mid-major conference, but they were led on Saturday by a pair of blue-chip recruits in Williams-Goss, the senior point guard who transferred from Washington, and Collins, the freshman 7-footer who, despite coming off the bench behind skilled senior 7-footer Przemek Karnowski, has one-and-done National Basketball Association potential.

Kennedy Meeks saved the game.

Guard Duane Notice is the defensive focal point for seventh-seeded SC.

The Sin-derella story finally ended Saturday for the South Carolina Gamecocks, but not until they threw a huge scare into Gonzaga in the first game of the Final Four. Przemek Karnowski and Zach Collins are more than a handful inside.

The Ducks are often thought of as a fast-paced, high-flying team. OR has an adjusted tempo that's 241st nationally and was able to slow Kansas and MI, two fast-paced teams, on its way to the Final Four. For many opponents against the powerful Bulldogs, that would be that.

The teams traded blows until the final moments of the game when USC's Sindarius Thornwell intentionally missed a free throw, only to have it recovered by the Zags.

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Fast or slow, that could determine this side of the bracket. Gonzaga and SC have never played. The Gamecocks were down as many as 14 in the second half, but responded with 14 straight points to tie it at 65.

The Gonzaga Bulldogs have arguably the best team in the history of their program, evidenced by their first-ever appearance in the Final Four.

Maybe it was the lingering effects of flu-like symptoms or maybe it was dealing with the long arms and 4-inch height advantage of Gonzaga's Johnathan Williams.

Spreading the love: What made Gonzaga's offense so efficient in the game? He made just four shots on 12 attempts and only two 3-pointers.

As individual matchups go, this is a good one.

Williams-Goss is a John Wooden Award finalist. He also an underrated defender - just ask West Virginia's Jevon Carter, who was unable to get a clean look in the closing seconds of the Sweet 16.

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. "We went into the zone in the middle of the third and it bothered them a little bit, they missed a lot of shots and we capitalized on it".

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