Nevada sends Gonzaga packing
Seattle, WA (Sports Network) – Kevinn Pinkney scored a game-high 20 points as
Nevada posted a 91-72 upset of Gonzaga in the second round of the NCAA
Tournament at Key Arena.
Todd Okeson added 19 points and seven assists, while Kirk Snyder had 18 points
and nine rebounds for the Wolf Pack (25-8), who will make their first-
ever Sweet 16 appearance. Nevada, the No. 10 seed in the St. Louis bracket,
will play on Friday, March 26 against the winner of the Georgia Tech/Boston
College matchup. The Yellow Jackets and Golden Eagles will do battle on
Nevada has won nine in a row and equaled its school record for wins in a
season set during the 1945-46 campaign.
Cory Violette paced Gonzaga with 16 points and 11 boards. Adam Morrison had 14
points for the Bulldogs (28-3), who had their school record 21-game winning
Ronny Turiaf was in foul trouble most of the game and finished with 13 points.
Blake Stepp also had 13 points for the No. 2 seed Bulldogs.
“They just didn’t go down,” Stepp said of the Wolf Pack. “If I ever make it to
the NBA, I hope I don’t have to play in Key Arena.”
After Sean Mallon’s three-pointer gave Gonzaga an early 7-6 lead, the Wolf
Pack scored 23 of the next 29 points for a 29-13 advantage. Okeson had eight
points during the burst, including a pair of three-pointers.
Nevada surprisingly dominated the Bulldogs throughout the first half and later
pushed its lead to 34-16 on Snyder’s three with nine minutes left. Stepp
converted a rare four-point play for Gonzaga minutes later, and the Bulldogs
were down by a 42-26 score.
The Wolf Pack then headed to the locker room with a 47-32 cushion. Nick
Fazekas and Okeson had 11 and 10 points, respectively, for Nevada, while
Violette paced Gonzaga with 10 points. The Wolf Pack also made 15-of-19
from the free throw line compared to a 4-of-6 performance by the Bulldogs.
Gonzaga opened the second half on an 8-2 run to close within 49-40, but a
three-point play by Gary Hill-Thomas restored Nevada’s double-digit lead at
Pinkney later dunked over a Gonzaga player and was fouled on the play. He
buried the foul shot and the Wolf Pack had a 68-54 cushion with eight
minutes remaining in the game.
“You know, these guys I got playing for me are pretty good players,” Nevada
coach Trent Johnson said.
With less than five minutes to go in the game, Snyder pulled up and buried a
three-pointer to push Nevada’s lead to 76-61. Turiaf then countered with a
three-point play, trimming the deficit to 12 points.
The Bulldogs had no bite left and suffered the 19-point loss.