(14) Winthrop 64

(27-6, 15-1 Big South)

(3) Gonzaga 74

(26-4, 12-2 WCC)

    7:25 PM ET, March 17, 2005

    McKale Center, Tucson, Arizona

    1 2 T
    #14WIN 35 2964
    #3GONZ 33 4174

    Top Performers

    Winthrop: T. Martin 22 Pts, 5 Reb, 3 Ast, 1 Stl

    Gonzaga: A. Morrison 27 Pts, 6 Reb, 5 Ast, 2 Stl, 1 Blk

    Third-seeded Bulldogs moving on despite scare

    TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- Going from plucky underdog to a favorite in the NCAA Tournament hasn't gone smoothly for Gonzaga.

    Fourteenth-seeded Winthrop flirted with a Gonzaga-like upset against the third-seeded Bulldogs on Thursday night before the Zags grabbed control late and won 74-64 in the first round of the Albuquerque Regional.

    "They had a swagger about them, they were playing with a great deal of confidence," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said about the Eagles. "It reminded me of our first one in 1999."

    That year, the 10th-seeded Zags pulled off three stunning upsets of higher seeded teams before losing to No. 1 seed Connecticut in the West Regional final.

    They were a 10th seed in 2000 and stunned No. 7 Louisville and No. 2 St. John's. In 2001, they fell to a 12th seed and still made the South Regional semifinals.

    But they lost in the first round as a sixth seed in 2002, got beaten in the second round as a No. 9 seed in 2003 and were bounced out after two games as a No. 2 seed last year.

    This year almost looked like another washout.

    "They had the slipper on for a bit, but we tried to take it off and we did," said Adam Morrison, who led the Zags with 27 points.

    Gonzaga will face sixth-seeeded Texas Tech in the second round Saturday. The Red Raiders beat UCLA 78-66.

    The loss snapped Winthrop's 18-game winning streak, longest in the nation. Gonzaga (26-4) won its 13th in a row and now has longest winning streak in Division I.

    "It set itself up pretty well for them to come in here and let it rip and they did," Few said about the Eagles. "We played a little tight at the start and to get through this one feels great. Hopefully, we'll play much better in the second round."

    Neither team led by more than two points until late in the game, which was tied four times in the final 20 minutes.

    "I don't think it was a 10-point ballgame. We had many opportunities to win," Winthrop coach Gregg Marshall said. "We were right there. Maybe next year we can come back with a higher seed."

    J.P. Batista added 14 points and Ronny Turiaf had 13 points and 13 rebounds for Gonzaga.

    Torrell Martin scored 22 points and made six 3-pointers -- both career highs -- for the Eagles (27-6), who are 0-5 all-time in the NCAA Tournament. Phillip Williams tied his career high with 17 points and Craig Bradshaw grabbed 11 rebounds.

    "This game doesn't sum up our whole season," said James Shuler, who had 12 points for Winthrop. "We showed a lot of people who thought the game wasn't even going to be close that we were a good opponent."

    Gonzaga outscored the Eagles 14-4 over the final 4:54 to pull away. Bradshaw made Winthrop's only field goal in that stretch.

    Martin got a steal and a fast-break layup and Williams made two free throws for a 60-all tie. Then Derek Raivio and Morrison hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give Gonzaga the lead for good, 66-60, with 3½ minutes remaining.

    Winthrop brought a loyal gold-shirted following from Rock Hill, S.C., a suburb of Charlotte, N.C. The school's 6,658 students, who pay $4 to attend home basketball games, are about 70 percent women, a remnant of Winthrop's former status as an all-women's teachers college.

    "Great fans came all the way from home with us," Shuler said. "A lot of people got a chance to see our team and how we play. We really showed everybody what we had to offer."

    Winthrop led by six points three times in the first half, when neither team shot well.

    Erroll Knight capped a 7-0 run with a 3-pointer to give Gonzaga a 19-18 lead. The Eagles outscored the Zags 17-14 to close the half ahead 35-33. They hit four 3-pointers, including three straight, in the spurt.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 64 74
    FG Made-Attempted 22-60 (.367) 27-59 (.458)
    3P Made-Attempted 10-26 (.385) 5-16 (.313)
    FT Made-Attempted 10-12 (.833) 15-22 (.682)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 19 (0/0) 14 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 6 10


    » Mar 17, 2005 @GONZ 74, WIN 64Recap