Gonzaga survives against Southern

Mar 21 2013 - 11:50pm

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BENJAMIN ZACK/Standard-Examiner 
Gonzaga star Kelly Olynyk strips the ball away from Jameel Grace during Gonzaga’s 64-58 victory over Southern University in the second round of the NCAA tournament at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City on Thursday. See slideshow of Thursday’s game at www.standard.net
BENJAMIN ZACK/Standard-Examiner
Southern University guard Yondarius Johnson covers his face in the final second of their 64-58 loss to Gonzaga in the second round of the NCAA tournament at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City on Thursday.
BENJAMIN ZACK/Standard-Examiner 
Gonzaga star Kelly Olynyk strips the ball away from Jameel Grace during Gonzaga’s 64-58 victory over Southern University in the second round of the NCAA tournament at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City on Thursday. See slideshow of Thursday’s game at www.standard.net
BENJAMIN ZACK/Standard-Examiner
Southern University guard Yondarius Johnson covers his face in the final second of their 64-58 loss to Gonzaga in the second round of the NCAA tournament at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City on Thursday.

SALT LAKE CITY -- Gonzaga, long the symbol of mid-major upstarts in the NCAA Tournament, finally got its chance to enter the tourney as one of the big boys of March Madness.

The Bulldogs never looked comfortable in the role.

No. 1 seed Gonzaga survived a scare from No. 16 Southern with a 64-58 victory on Thursday at EnergySolutions Arena to open the tournament with a second-round win thanks in large part to West Coast Conference player of the year Kelly Olynyk.

The 7-foot junior from Kamloops, British Columbia, scored 17 of his 21 points after halftime as Gonzaga avoided becoming the first No. 1 seed to fall to a No. 16 in NCAA Tournament history.

Zags guard Kevin Pangos -- another Canadian -- drilled a 3 with just under two minutes to go and sealed the win with a pair of free throws with 14.3 seconds remaining.

Southern only managed one field goal over the final 5:19 but tied it at 54-all on two free throws from Malcolm Miller and again at 56-all on with Derick Beltran's jumper with 3:46 remaining.

Beltran finished with 21 points to tie Olynyk for the game-high.

The Jaguars, heavy underdogs to the Bulldogs, took little comfort in coming close to making history.

"We came into this game trying to win the game," Beltran said. "It's not a good feeling because we worked so hard all year long. It just don't feel good."

Southern, out of the Southwestern Athletic Conference, shot just 39.1 percent (30.4 percent in the second half) and was outrebounded 40-27, but the Jags managed to make Gonzaga nervous by hitting 10 of 23 from long range (43.5 percent).

After having little impact in the first half, Olynyk was dominant in the second half, scoring Gonzaga's first 10 points out of the locker room.

"Any win in the tournament is a good win," Olynyk said of being tested by a 16 seed after having 10 days off since the West Coast Conference Tournament.

"Hopefully, we got the cobwebs off from the conference tournament and we will continue to get better."

Gonzaga will face No. 9 seed Wichita State in the third round on Saturday in Salt Lake City.

Pangos, a sophomore guard, finished with 16 points and scored the Bulldogs' final five points after two free throws from Beltran cut the lead to 59-58 with 2:28 left. Another sophomore guard, Gary Bell Jr., had 11 points and combined with Pangos to go 7 of 17 from beyond the arc.

Gonzaga backup point guard David Stockton, son of former Utah Jazz legend John Stockton, wanted to focus on Thursday's second-round result, not the location of the arena where his father's statue stands outside.

"It was just another game, NCAA Tournament game, so it was great," said Stockton, who finished with four points and seven assists. "The fact that is was in Salt Lake City where I used to hang out is irrelevant, I think, because we're here to play basketball, not worry about stuff outside of that."

The Jaguars fought back from two Gonzaga runs in the first half by shooting 47.8 percent. The Zags threatened to break away again in the second half, taking an 11-point lead just beyond the midway point before Southern made it interesting again, gaining more and more fans inside EnergySolutions Arena as the clock ticked closer to a potential upset.

Junior guard Malcolm Miller scored nine points and senior center Brandon Moore, junior center Javan Mitchell and junior guard Yondarius Johnson added seven each for Southern.

Southern second-year coach Roman Banks was proud that his players weren't satisfied with almost winning.

"I think they might have been cultivated to expect to win," he said. "I came to Southern to try to build a basketball program, using Gonzaga as an example. To be playing these guys and using them as an example all year is special."

* NO. 14 HARVARD 68, NO. 3 NEW MEXICO 62: The smartest guys in the tourney pulled off the biggest upset of the second round.

Wesley Saunders scored 18 points, Laurent Rivard had 17, Christian Webster had 11 and Kenyatta Smith had 10 as a balanced Crimson attack shot 52.4 percent overall and 44.4 percent from deep.

Seven-foot sophomore center Alex Kirk had a 22-point, 12-rebound double-double for the Lobos and Cameron Bairstow had 15 points and nine boards, but Rivard's 3 with 6:16 gave Harvard the lead for good.

The Ivy League champ, in the tourney for the second straight year and third time overall, lost their two best players before the season due to an academic cheating controversy but proved it's more than just Jeremy Lin's alma mater by becoming the 17th No. 14 seed to beat a No. 3 in tourney history.

New Mexico, looking to make a statement for the Mountain West Conference, which sent five teams to the tourney for the first time, instead went home red-faced with the loss to the Crimson. The Lobos shot 37.5 percent and only kept it close by outrebounding Harvard 34-26, including 16 offensive rebounds.

* NO. 6 ARIZONA 81, NO. 11 BELMONT 64: The Wildcats took away the Bruins' chance for an upset by making sure they never had a second chance to score.

Senior guard Mark Lyons scored 23 points to lead Arizona to a second-round victory as the Wildcats dominated the boards, outrebounding the undersized Bruins 44-18. Kevin Parrom, Nick Johnson and 7-footer Kaleb Tarczewski contributed 12 points each for Arizona.

Senior guards Kerron Johnson and Ian Clark combined to score 43 of the Bruin's 64 points.

* WICHITA STATE 73, PITTSBURGH 55: Malcolm Armstead scored 22 points, Cleanthony Early added 21 and ninth-seeded Wichita State ousted Pittsburgh.

Freshman Steven Adams led Pitt (24-9) with 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Call Hall added 11 points for the Shockers (27-8).

The Shockers forced Pitt into 15 turnovers and held the Panthers to 35 percent shooting.

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