NCAA tournament at KeyArena: Gonzaga advances to Sweet 16 for first time since 2009 with dominant 87-68 win over Iowa
SEATTLE – Disappointment visited the Gonzaga Bulldogs in each of the past five seasons, each endeavor hopeful until the NCAA tournament’s first weekend.
That’s where Gonzaga lost, five years running, nary a Sweet 16 to show for a half-decade span that otherwise featured noteworthy performance.
Byron Wesley played in exactly zero of those games. Yet he had no choice but to embrace the sting.
“That’s pretty much the talk around town, is that Gonzaga, they always win their league, they always win the league championship, but in the tournament, they always fold and lose early,” said Wesley, a Gonzaga senior guard who transferred after playing his first three seasons for USC. “So I think it’s definitely frustrating when you hear that so much, and people always talk about how they just can’t get to that next level.”
They will not be saying it on Monday morning. Not here. Not in Spokane. And certainly not in Iowa City, where the Iowa Hawkeyes must now return after Gonzaga buried them on Sunday afternoon beneath an insurmountable pile of 3-point jumpers and easy interior buckets, the Bulldogs racing to a thoroughly dominant 87-68 victory before a sellout crowd of 14,901 at KeyArena that amounted to equal parts excitement and catharsis.
It’s now on to Houston, where 2nd-seeded Gonzaga (34-2) will face a familiar opponent – 11th-seeded UCLA, which GU defeated by 13 points, in Los Angeles, on Dec. 13 – in its first Sweet 16 appearance since 2009. Read more »