FINAL: Arizona 84, Gonzaga 61
SAN DIEGO — The top-seeded Arizona Wildcats secured a trip to Anaheim for the Sweet 16 with an 84-61 victory over eighth-seed Gonzaga on Sunday night at Viejas Arena in San Diego.
After leading the Bulldogs (29-7) by 13 at halftime, the top seeded Wildcats (32-4) picked up right where they left off, and continued to hold a comfortable double-digit advantage throughout the entire second half.
The UA utilized a 12-4 run over the half’s first 6:13 to keep the momentum rolling in its favor; but Gonzaga clawed back, tightening the gap to as few as 11 points two and-a-half minutes in.
Ultimately, the Wildcats became too much for the Bulldogs to handle and Arizona started to run away with the game, extending its lead to 20 points or more numerous times in the contest.
Arizona junior guard Nick Johnson shoots a three point shot during the first half of the third round of the NCAA Tournament against Gongaza in Viejas Arena in San Diego on Sunday. Arizona leads 47-34 at the half.
Head coach Sean Miller opted to let the starting lineup rest up for next week’s game and sent in the reserves and walk-ons with 2:05 remaining on the clock.
Junior guard Nick Johnson added 10 points, two rebounds and an assist to his first half totals and ended the night with 17 points, five boards, five assists, four blocks and three steals overall.
Junior point guard T.J. McConnell scored 12 points in addition to six assists and three steals.
Freshman forward Rondae Hollis-Jefferson added six points, three rebounds, three assists and two blocks over the final 20 minutes. He finished with a team-high 18 points to go along with five rebounds, five assists, four blocks and a steal.
Despite running into early foul trouble and playing only 23 minutes as a result, freshman forward Aaron Gordon carried the UA on his back. He was one of five Wildcats to record double figures and subsequently scored 18 points, grabbed six rebounds and dished out six assists while grabbing four steals.
—Follow Evan Rosenfeld @EvanRosenfeld17