2017 Update III

March Madness 2017 Update III

April 2, 2017

Gonzaga and North Carolina survive to advance to final game

Gonzaga 77       South Carolina 73

With 10 minutes left in the second half, Gonzaga stretched their lead to 14 points. It appeared the Kwon would win. Concession call coming. And then a 14 point run by the Gamecocks tied the score with under 8 minutes to go. Then Nigel Williams-Goss who dominated early for the Zags, went cold. It became a game again. With the twin of the towers, the Polish lad Karnowski seeing double or not at all, 7 footer Zach Collins a freshman from Vegas took over. A 7-0 run put Gonzaga back up by five with 4:41 to go. On the night, Collins had a career game. 14 points, 13 rebounds, and 6 blocked shots. Down to the wire. And onto the last possession, Zags up 75-72, with but 3 seconds left, Sindarius Thornwell, SC’s best, stricken with the flu and weak most of the game, hit the first free throw to draw within 2 points. Purposefully missing the 2nd attempt, Killian Tillie, the French Frosh, grabbed the rebound, and calmly made 2 freebies at the other end of the court, ending South Carolina’s miraculously run and season. Frank Martin, SC intensity and coach, broke down in the interview and brought tears to all. The Zags will face North Carolina in the championship matchup Monday night. The two #1 seeds prevail, much to the dismay of your poolmaster.

North Carolina 77 Oregon 76

The writing of the Fountainhead began in 1936 and was finally published in 1943.
The year 1939 saw the Oregon Webfoots defeat Ohio State to win the inaugural NCAA men’s basketball tournament in Evanston, Illinois (Phi Alpha). The Tall Firs trumphed (average height 6’ 2”), but it would be 78 years for Oregon to return to the big stage. Howard Roark, look it up, had the transcontinental running on full diesel steam but alas, the Tar Heels advanced. North Carolina’s Joel Berry started the game with a 3- pointer and it looked like it would be a highwire act. However after a full 7 minutes, the sloppy, dull game was tied 9-9. North Carolina held tight as the best rebounding team in college basketball and that was the omen. Awful game in the first half for both sides. Turnovers, missed shots. Oregon’s zone hurt NC, as did their drive and kick, but NC was tall in the paint. However, the Duck offense was reeling on this night, and the loss of star Chris Boucher out for the season late with an ACL injury, finally caught

up to Oregon. The game became a two man show. When this night held no paycheck for no work from Oregon stars Dillon Brooks and Tyler Dorsey, Dylan Ennis scored 18 with 6 rebounds. Kennedy Meeks for NC was dominant, and more so. Ducks on virtue of 12 turnovers found themselves down at the half. In the second session, the blond streak Ellis opened the scoring for the Ducks. But they could not contain Meeks who continued throughout to crash the glass and roll up the points. North Carolina found the answer as Meeks rolled up career highs with 25 points and 14 rebounds (8 offensive). In the end, it was too much, too tall, too many waves, too much size, and the absence of Boucher which doomed the Ducks. In an unreal ending, with NC holding a 77-76 lead, the Tar Heels secured not one, but two offensive rebounds at the free throw line, with the last being Kennedy Meeks steamrolling his man to secure the ball. No call on what some would think was a foul, preventing Oregon from free throws at the other end. Ducks had no chance for a last second winning shot. North Carolina advanced. Barely. Go Zags. 

© Gary M. Gurtcheff 2013