ANAHEIM, Calif. – Brandon Clarke had a double-double of 15 points and 12 rebounds as top-seeded Gonzaga fended off fourth-seeded Florida State 72-58 in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday at the Honda Center.
Rui Hachimura scored 17 points for the Bulldogs (33-3), while Zach Norvell Jr. and Josh Perkins added 14 points. Perkins also dished out five assists and had three steals.
Florida State chipped away at an 11-point Gonzaga halftime lead, getting within four points in the second half before GU pulled away.
Trent Forrest paced the Seminoles (29-8) with 20 points. No other Florida State player finished in double figures.
The Bulldogs finished shooting 40.3 percent from floor and 36.8 percent from deep, while Florida State shot 39.9 percent overall and just 15 percent from 3-point range.
The Zags outrebounded FSU 45-36, while both teams finished with 14 turnovers.
Gonzaga advances to the Elite Eight for the second time in three seasons. It will play either second-seeded Michigan or No. 3 seed Texas Tech on Saturday in Anaheim. Time and television for that game are still to be determined.
NCAA March Madness / YouTube
Final – Gonzaga 72, FSU 58: Zags get the offense going when they need it most. Top that with the defense locking back up and Gonzaga is elite once again.
Florida State’s cold-shooting first half doomed the Seminoles, who made things interesting near the end of the game.
Bulldogs get either Michigan or Texas Tech on Saturday – two of the nation’s top defenses. Winner of that is off to Minneapolis and the Final Four.
2:06 – Gonzaga 63, FSU 56: Everything becoming that much tighter and tougher as the game nears a close. Officials getting tighter with the calls, so this one could come down to makes at the charity stripe.
Another key turnovers hurts the Seminoles as Anthony Polite doesn’t re-establish himself in the court before catching a pass.
Trent Forrest trying to will FSU back into this one. The shifty guard is up to 18 points.
What looked like a comfortable GU lead has shrunk to make the finish of this one very interesting.
Big block from Killian Tillie keeps up two possessions. Zach Norvell Jr. follows with a massive triple. Norvell up to 14 points. Brandon Clarke the fourth player into double figures for GU with 11 points.
7:34 – Gonzaga 57, FSU 51: Outside of a 90-point outburst in the second-round against Murray State, FSU hasn’t been among the nation’s highest-scoring teams, but Gonzaga has shut down the Seminoles tonight.
FSU shooting just 41.2 percent from the floor and have 12 turnovers.
Biggest concern for the final minutes of this one will be avoiding fouls for the Zags. Zach Norvell Jr. has four, while Josh Perkins has three.
Fouls won’t matter much though if the Zags keep playing offense at a high level. Rui Hachimura with a massive two-handed slam while getting fouled to get to 16 points.
Seminoles reel off another 6-0 run though to just the Zags lead to six, forcing a Mark Few timeout. Huge burst for FSU.
12:03 – Gonzaga 55, FSU 45: Florida State forced to pull Christ Koumadje after Rui Hachimura’s smart play in the paint leads to the big man picking up his fourth foul.
Terance Mann gets his first field goal of the game on a fast-break slam.
GU once again has an answer as Jeremy Jones throws down a put-back jam followed by a highlight-reel putback from Brandon Clarke.
To make things worse for the Seminoles, PJ Savoy goes down with a shoulder injury on the Clarke bucket.
Corey Kispert makes it a dunk trio with a breakaway slam on the next possession.
Zags look to run away, but FSU’s M.J. Walker hits a timely 3-pointer to keep the GU lead to 10.
Hachimura up to 14 points, while Zach Norvell Jr. (11) and Josh Perkins (10) round out the players in double figures.
15:36 – Gonzaga 45, FSU 35: Florida State gets four quick points out of big man Christ Koumadje before he grabs his third foul.
Seminoles get the GU lead down to single-digits again but Zach Norvell Jr. nets five fast points, including another 3-pointer to get to 11 points.
FSU coach Leonard Hamilton keeps Koumadje in the game and is rewarded with a big slam. Koumadje at eight points as GU just doesn’t have an answer for his size.
On the next possession, Josh Perkins picks up his third foul – the first Gonzaga player with three.
Halftime – Gonzaga 38, FSU 27: Tough break for GU near the last media timeout as Rui Hachimura head to the bench after taking an elbow to the face. Officials take a look but deem that it was not worth of a flagrant.
Hachimura’s stay on the bench is short-lived as he checks back in and hits a 12-footer to reach double figures with 10 points.
FSU grabs four straight points, keyed by a Zach Norvell Jr. offensive foul and a fast-break layup off a Terance Mann block.
Zags get a huge boost before the half though as Josh Perkins gets a steal, finishes at the rim and draws the foul to get the Zags back into a double-digit lead.
Gonzaga’s defense has to commended through the first 20 minutes. FSU shooting 33.3 percent from the floor and 18.2 percent from deep with nine turnovers.
GU on the other hand is shooting 40.5 percent overall and 38.5 percent from 3-point range.
Hachimura and Perkins lead all scorers with 10, while Norvell has six points for the Zags.
Florida State gets back its 7-foot-4 center Christ Koumadje in the second half and will look to get more offensive production out of Mann (two points) and Mfiondu Kabengele (six).
GU also outrebounding FSU 23-21 and have allowed the Seminoles to grab just three offensive boards.
3:39 – Gonzaga 33, FSU 23: Heck of a half from Josh Perkins, who is up to seven points and two assists so far.
Killian Tillie getting in on the 3-point action for the Zags to push the Gonzaga lead to 13.
Florida State can’t get anything to fall on offense as the Seminoles are shooting just 33.3 percent from the floor.
Tillie called for his second personal of the game and will go to the bench. Zags have done a good job of limiting their bigs to one foul so far.
FSU gets back on track with a 4-0 run to cut the GU lead to 10. Zags would love to keep the lead to double figures at the half.
Rui Hachimura leads all scorers with eight points on 3 of 6 shooting. Rui, Tillie and Corey Kispert lead the Zags with three rebounds each. Zach Norvell Jr. up to six points for the Zags.
PJ Savoy still pacing FSU with six points.
6:39 – Gonzaga 25, FSU 17: Massive triple from Josh Perkins after a Mfiondu Kabengele swat on Josh Perkins.
GU forces another FSU turnover on the following possession as the Seminoles seem out of sorts on offense at the moment. FSU coach Leonard Hamilton takes a timeout to reset his team.
Big storyline coming into this one is the absence of Phil Cofer for the Seminoles. Cofer is back home with his family after the death of his father last week. FSU is wearing bands on its jerseys that say “MC” in honor of Michael Cofer.
7:48 – Gonzaga 22, FSU 17: First 3-pointer of the game for the Zags comes courtesy of Corey Kispert.
Zags follow up the triple with a Rui Hachimura jumper to extent the GU run to 5-0.
FSU answers back with a deep 3-pointer from PJ Savoy, his second of the game to get to six points.
GU’s Zach Norvell Jr. sees your deep 3 and raises. First points for “Snacks”
Seminoles up to seven turnovers after a shot-clock violation. Mark Few has to be impressed with his team’s defensive showing so far.
Zags doing a great job slowing down Mfiondu Kabengele, who has just two points on three shots. Kabengele has shown an ability to create second-chance shots for FSU though with his four rebounds.
Seven GU players have seen the floor, six have picked up a foul.
11:53 – Gonzaga 14, FSU 12: Gonzaga with one of its best defensive starts to a game this season as they’re smothering the Seminoles and forcing tough shots and turnovers.
Florida State showing some fight inside with its standout scorer Mfiondu Kabengele getting a pair of offense rebounds before scoring his bucket.
Very physical game so far between these teams – expect the foul totals to be a bit high by the end of the night.
FSU’s second top scorer, guard Terance Mann, off to a slow start on offense, but he gets a big block to stop a Zach Norvell Jr. breakaway.
Brandon Clarke trying to back up his school-record performance from last week with his second basket.
16:27 – Gonzaga 6, FSU 3: Interesting start to this one as Florida State wins the tip but the clock doesn’t start.
Once the game gets going FSU scores on an easy alley-opp to 7-foot-4 center Christ Koumadje.
Gonzaga’s Brandon Clarke gets his first points on a 12-foot jumper, but past that the two offenses don’t get much going early with six straight empty possessions.
Big second foul called quickly on Koumadje sends the big man to the bench. A double foul was called giving Clarke his first. Rui Hachimura and Killian Tillie follow up with their first fouls as the whistles are active early on in Anaheim.
Hachimura GU’s only offense early on as he’s up to four points.
Both defenses locked in to start this one as GU has forced three turnovers.
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