BUFFALO -- Robert Sacre, Canadian native, knew exactly what to expect when Gonzaga took the floor against the big bodies of Florida State.
“I knew coming to Buffalo it was going to be a Sabres game, basically,’’ Sacre said.
The Zags almost let one slip through the five hole.
Gonzaga surrendered all but the last bits of an 18-point lead before finally staving off Florida State, 67-60.
Gonzaga won by doing what no one else has been able to do against the Seminoles –- shoot the ball. The Bulldgos sliced and diced the Seminoles for 50 percent shooting for the game, ending a run of 67 consecutive opponents held under 50 by FSU.
And they did it by making the easy buckets. Sacre and Elias Harris combined for 26 points (13 apiece) as the Zags scored 24 of their points in the paint and just nine from the arc.
“Anytime you get easy buckets and shoot high-percentage shots, it’s a lot easier,’’ Matt Bouldin.
Still the comeback or near choke (depending on your team colors) was slightly alarming. Sharpshooting Deividas Dulkys nearly single-handedly brought the Seminoles back, scoring 11 in the final five minutes, including a 3-pointer that kissed off the glass.
“I thought, ‘He didn’t. … he didn’t just bank that in?'’’ Steven Gray said.
The Seminoles inability to hit free throws in an endgame clank fest and the late rally ended up being their undoing but not before the Zags were forced to get their act back together.
Gonzaga travels the country in the regular season just to prepare for the rigors of March and while Mark Few praised his team’s poise, the end game should raise a few red flags considering what could be next -– No. 1 seed Syracuse in essentially a home game.
“It was a little combination of things," said Gray, who finished with 15 points. “We had a little drought there and I think we also got a little panicked and rushed. We forced some things that we shouldn’t have."