The curse that haunted Gonzaga is now a thing of the past.
Kyle Wiltjer led second-seeded Gonzaga with 24 points, as the Zags stormed past seventh-seeded Iowa 87-68 to advance to their first Sweet 16 since 2009.
The last five years, Gonzaga could not get out of the Round of 32. Granted, the Zags were a seven seed or lower four of those five years. However, not getting to the second weekend haunted Mark Few. What better proof than seeing him do a handstand after their victory Sunday night. That is a side of Few rarely seen.
The Bulldogs took a 3-0 lead with a Wiljter three-pointer to start the game and never looked back, as the Hawkeyes never took the lead. Wiltjer would go on to score ten more points in the first half, helping Gonzaga take a 46-29 lead going into halftime.
More from 2015 NCAA Tournament
- Looking Back on Gonzaga’s Season
- West Coast Convo Bracketology Competition Results
- Playing “What if….?” With Gonzaga and the NCAA Tournament
- West Coast Convo Writers Bracketology Competition Update
- NCAA Elite Eight Recap: Gonzaga Ends Historic Season Against Duke
Pangos and Bell Jr. also had monster performances for the Zags. Pangos added 16 points on 4-of-7 shooting from behind the arc. Bell Jr. contributed 10 points and four assists for the Bulldogs.
One of the more notable stats from this game is the amount of assists. The Zags had 20 of them on 32 made field goals. Seven players contributed at least one assist for GU. Three of those players each had four assists.
Those assists came from superb ball movement. Gonzaga’s unselfish basketball passed up good shots for great shots and looked a lot like the San Antonio Spurs.
Jarrod Uthoff led the way with 20 points for Iowa, while Aaron White added 19. Their contributions would not be enough as Gonzaga’s depth proved to be too much.
With the win, Gonzaga advances to the Sweet 16 for a 2006 NCAA Tournament rematch with UCLA. As Gonzaga fans know, the Bruins overcame a 17 point deficit to stop Gonzaga’s hopes of going to their first Final Four in 2006. How fitting is it that Gonzaga gets a chance to avenge that loss to keep their Final Four hopes alive.
That game tips off 4:15 p.m. Friday and can be seen on CBS.