Zags survive Winthrop; Tech up next
Tucson, AZ (Sports Network) – Adam Morrison scored 27 points and Gonzaga
withstood a game effort from underdog Winthrop to record a 74-64 victory in
the first round of the NCAA Tournament at the McKale Center.
Morrison made 12-of-19 field goal attempts and netted 17 of his points in the
second-half to lead the Bulldogs, the third seed out of the Albuquerque
bracket, into Saturday’s second round.
Ronny Turiaf compiled 13 points and 13 rebounds and J.P. Batista contributed
14 points for Gonzaga (26-4), which will next face sixth-seeded Texas Tech.
Winthrop (27-6), which held the nation’s longest win streak of 18 games coming
in, received 22 points from Torrell Martin, who hit a career-high six
three-pointers. Phillip Williams finished with 17 points and James Shuler
added 12 for the 14th-seeded Eagles, who gave the Bulldogs all they
could handle before yielding late.
“We came up a little short today,” said Winthrop head coach Gregg Marshall.
“Our team gave a valiant effort and I’m so proud to be their coach.”
Gonzaga now owns the top win streak with its 13th consecutive triumph.
The Bulldogs struggled all night long against Winthrop’s tough matchup zone
and were tied 60-60 with the Big South champs until Derek Raivio’s three-
pointer with 4:41 remaining. Following a timeout, Morrison sunk a shot from
beyond the arc with 3:22 to go for a 66-60 lead, Gonzaga’s largest at that
point of the game.
“I know I am a good shooter and it seemed like my shots were hitting the back
of the rim,” said Raivio, who missed nine of his first 10 attempts. “My
teammates kept looking for me to shoot, I just kept my confidence.”
The Eagles still trailed by six, 68-62, with under two minutes left began to
wilt down the stretch. Craig Bradshaw missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with
1:29 remaining and Morrison knocked the ball from point guard Chris Gaynor for
a turnover with just over a minute to play. Two made free throws by Turiaf
with 47 seconds left would finally put the game on ice.
“Myself, my staff and my players were all impressed with what we saw (from
Winthrop),” said Bulldogs head coach Mark Few. “There’s a reason they won 27
Winthrop took a 35-33 lead into the break on the strength of its perimeter
shooting, as the Eagles 7-of-13 three-point attempts in the first half.
Consecutive triples by Martin and Bradshaw gave Winthrop a 26-21 advantage
with 6:02 remaining before intermission and the margin grew to six points,
29-23, when Williams buried a trey from the corner less than a minute later.
A 6-0 run ending with Morrison’s inside bucket near the two-minute mark of the
first half put Gonzaga up 33-32, but Martin drained a contested three-pointer
to send the Eagles into the locker room with a two-point edge.
“The first half was textbook, just like coach taught us,” said Martin. “We
came out, we made plays, we executed rebounding.”
Morrison then took over in the early stages of the second half. His second-
chance basket three minutes into the period tied the game at 39-39 and he
followed with a short baseline jumper at the 16:31 mark to put the Bulldogs in
“Adam has been our most aggressive offensive player throughout the year,” said
Few. “He’s fearless and he can score in a lot of ways.”
Martin answered with a three-pointer on the ensuing possession to send
Winthrop back ahead and the lead would change seven more times over the next
Back-to-back baskets by Batista gave Gonzaga a 60-56 lead with six minutes to
go and the Bulldogs looked like they would finally pull away. However, a steal
and fastbreak layup from Martin followed by two made free throws by Williams
pulled the Eagles back even.
Winthrop is now 0-5 all-time in NCAA play…Gonzaga, which is making its seven
straight trip to the Tournament, advanced to the second round for the sixth
time during that span. The Bulldogs are now 10-7 in NCAA games…The Eagles
lost for only the second time in 25 games this season when leading at the
half…Bradshaw tied a career-high with 11 rebounds in the loss…The Eagles
shot just 37 percent (22-for-60) from the field…Morrison poured in 30 points
in Gonzaga’s victory over St. Mary’s in the West Coast Conference championship