Freshman guard Zach Norvell Jr. established season highs of 28 points, 12 rebounds and six 3-point baskets to lead fourth-seeded Gonzaga to a 90-84 victory over fifth-seeded Ohio State on Saturday in a second-round NCAA Tournament West Region game at Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho.
Sophomore forward Rui Hachimura added 25 points on 9-of-11 shooting and also blocked four shots as the Bulldogs (32-4) won their 16th consecutive game and advanced to the Sweet 16 for the fourth straight season. Junior point guard Josh Perkins contributed 10 points and eight assists before fouling out for Gonzaga, which shot 53.4 percent from the field.
Junior forward Keita Bates-Diop scored 28 points for the Buckeyes (25-9), who shot 45.5 percent from the field. Senior guard Kam Williams added 19 points, junior guard C.J. Jackson had 18 and senior forward Jae’Sean Tate tallied 11 before fouling out.
Gonzaga will next face either top-seeded Xavier or ninth-seeded Florida State in the Sweet 16 at Los Angeles. The Musketeers and Seminoles meet on Sunday in Nashville, Tenn.
“What a great weekend here for us in Boise,” Bulldogs coach Mark Few said. “What a great performance by my guys. We beat a heck of a basketball team in Ohio State that’s got a ton of fight and is so well-coached. The run they made at us in the second half had us back on our heels. And just like these guys have done all year, they responded and we were able to find a way to get some stops down the real stretch of that game.
“We couldn’t be happier. There aren’t many things better in life than winning these NCAA Tournament games in March. They’re something special.”
The Buckeyes trailed by 11 at the break before using a 13-4 push to open the second half. Freshman forward Kaleb Wesson culminated the burst with a three-point play to pull Ohio State within 48-46 with 17:26 remaining.
The Buckeyes took their first lead of the game when Williams buried a 3-pointer for a 56-54 edge with 10:32 left. Tate’s steal and ensuing dunk made it a four-game differential with 10:11 to play.
Ohio State held a 67-62 lead after a 3-pointer by Bates-Diop with 6:02 to play. Gonzaga answered with 11 straight points and took a 73-67 advantage on Hachimura’s 3-pointer with 3:43 remaining.
Tate’s driving hoop with 2:48 left ended the spurt, but Norvell was at it again, knocking down his sixth 3-pointer and adding two free throws a short time later to give the Zags a 78-69 lead with 1:52 left.
The Buckeyes were within 86-81 after Bates-Diop’s layup with 15.7 seconds remaining, but Hachimura made two free throws and then slammed home a dunk with 4.2 seconds left to make it a nine-point margin as the Bulldogs closed it out.
Gonzaga scored the game’s first 15 points en route to holding a 44-33 halftime advantage.
Norvell hit two 3-pointers to open the contest and Hachimura scored three straight baskets to cap the run.
Jackson hit two free throws to cap a 10-3 burst as the Buckeyes crept within 30-23 with 5:16 left before the break. Gonzaga later led by as many as 13 before settling for the 11-point halftime cushion.
—Field Level Media