SALT LAKE CITY — Gonzaga is headed to its fifth consecutive NCAA tournament Sweet 16.
The ‘Zags used a school-record 36 points by Brandon Clarke to hold off Baylor 83-71 Saturday night. Top-seeded Gonzaga (32-3) will have a rematch with Florida State in the Sweet 16 next weekend in the West Regional in Anaheim. FSU, which earlier Saturday ended Murray State’s dream season, eliminated Gonzaga last year.
Clarke, who broke Adam Morrison’s school record for points in an NCAA game, made 15 of 18 shots and added eight rebounds, five blocks and two steals.
“I just played super hard tonight,” he said on TV. “I was really focused tonight.”
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The ‘Zags were in control until Baylor made a run in the second half, coming as close as five. But coach Mark Few did not admit to being worried.
“We fought,” he said. “This team’s got grit. We’ve been in situations. We got that in us. When they came out with way more energy than us, we got back on our heels. The guys flipped a switch.”
Last year, FSU was a ninth seed and Gonzaga a No. 4. But the ‘Zags played without the injured Killian Tillie and Clarke, a transfer, was redshirting.