Ethan Anderson #20 of the USC Trojans drives to the basket against Anton Watson #22 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs during the round of 16 of the 2021 MSB Division I men’s basketball tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on the 30th. March 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo: Jack Dempsey/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
Drew Timme scored 23 points and grabbed five rebounds, pretending to throw his mustache on the wheel after a touchdown in front of several thousand fans in the stands. The first-seeded Bulldogs will be the third team to reach the Final Four undefeated since the group expanded to 64 teams in 1985.
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The last undefeated team was Indiana in 1976. The Bulldogs will take on the winner of the final Elite Eight game between UCLA and Michigan in the semifinals on Saturday.
Timm did everything he wanted to do against the nation’s fourth-ranked guard – a team that won its first three games of the tournament by an average of 21 points – just like virtually every other player in a white jersey.
Jared Suggs finished with 18 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists. American’s Corey Kispert scored 18 points and played 8 times on a bad night – just 6 of 19 from the floor. Gonzaga shot just 44% in the second half and just 50% for the entire game. It was five times less than the national average, but that didn’t matter much.
Blowouts are supposed to be boring, but at times it felt like a Globetrotters game, filled with weird jump passes through traffic, reverse layups, a powerful pick-and-roll from Joel Ayaya (nine points) and the occasional post-basketball flick from a halfback from 0.
Gonzaga led USC 7-0 after two minutes, 25-8 after 8:30 and 36-15 after Kispert took a great layup from Timme for an easy layup with 6:03 left before the timeout.
Gonzaga entered halftime with a 19-point lead and zero points in the turnover column, a measure of a team that excels in offensive efficiency.
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The final 20 minutes were extended – plenty of time for Timm to rub his moustache and for the Bulldogs to add to their stats.
It’s a statistical dream – a team that finished No. 1 (91.8), won 29 of 30 games by double digits and wasn’t stopped by USC (25-8) or the Mobley brothers – Isaiah and Evan, who served as centers on one of the longest teams in the country (average length 6-7).
Both had their share – Isaiah with 19 points and seven rebounds and Evan with 17 and five – but the most impressive numbers belonged to Zagam.
The game was interrupted by an anxious moment in the first half when official Bert Smith fell to the ground and had to be hauled off. CBS reported in the second half that Smith was feeling good and rested in the arena.
He was replaced by Tony Henderson, but the substitute didn’t put in a great effort.
USC got no closer than 16 points in the second half, and though the intensity faltered at times, there was never any doubt that the Zags would be heading to the Final Four for the first time since 2017.
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