Gonzaga receives their Final Four rings - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Gonzaga receives their Final Four rings

Gonzaga made their first Final Four in school history last season Gonzaga made their first Final Four in school history last season

After a historic run to their first Final Four and National Championship appearance in school history, the Gonzaga men's basketball team received their Final Four rings on Thursday. The Bulldogs have been to every NCAA Tournament since 1999 and in 2017, they did something no other Gonzaga team has ever done, win a Final Four game.

Their road to the National Championship started with a win in the WCC Championship against the Saint Mary's Gaels. After claiming the WCC championship, the Bulldogs received their second-ever one seed in the 2017 NCAA Tournament. Let's take a look back at Gonzaga's historic run to the National Championship:

South Dakota State: Win - 66-46

In the first round of the NCAA Tournament, the Bulldogs faced the No.16 seed South Dakota State. The Bulldogs started the game off with a four-point lead at halftime, but would pull through in the second half thanks to Jordan Mathews. Mathews would lead all scorers with a game-high 16 points on 5-11 shooting. With this win, the Zags improved to 25-19 all-time in the NCAA Tournament and have won nine consecutive first-round games since falling to Davidson in 2008. With Gonzaga's win over South Dakota State, No. 1 seeds moved to 129-0 all-time in the first round of NCAA Tournament games.

Northwestern: Win - 79-73

The Bulldogs began the second round of the NCAA Tournament with an 18-point lead at halftime, but soon saw that lead vanish. Northwestern rallied in the second half, cutting Gonzaga's lead to just five points with 5:31 remaining in the game. However, the Zags would hold on and beat Northwestern 79-73, advancing to their third consecutive Sweet Sixteen appearance.

West Virginia: Win - 61-58

Gonzaga would end up beating the No. 4 seed West Virginia in the Sweet 16 to advance to the Elite 8 for the third time in school history. After a tight second half, Gonzaga's Jordan Mathews hit a 3-pointer with under a minute left in the game that ultimately led the Bulldogs to a 61-58 victory. The Mountaineers failed to score in the final 1:46 of the game, including two missed 3-point shots that would have tied the game. 

Xavier: Win 83-59

In the Elite Eight matchup, both Gonzaga and Xavier were looking for their first-ever Final Four appearance. The Bulldogs would make eight 3-point shots en route to a 83-59 victory. After the win, Gonzaga became the first WCC team to make the Final Four since San Francisco in 1957. This was also Gonzaga's fourth straight victory over Xavier.

South Carolina: Win 77-73

When Gonzaga faced South Carolina, it became the first Final Four game since 1973 that featured both programs making their Final Four debut. The Bulldogs opened the game up with a nine-point halftime lead, but were outscored 37-32 in the second half. The Gamecocks erased a 14-point second-half deficit, but only made two shots in the final seven minutes. Gonzaga ended up beating South Carolina 77-73 and would advance to the National Championship. With this win, the Bulldogs moved to 13-7 all-time against SEC teams.

Gonzaga's season ended when they lost to North Carolina in the National Championship 71-65. However, their season was highlighted by their first Final Four and National Championship appearances in school history.

**All photos taken by Torrey Vail

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