ANAHEIM, Calif. — Top-seeded Gonzaga needs just one more victory to secure their second Final Four appearance in three years after holding off the fourth-seeded Florida State 72-58 Thursday at the Honda Center.
In a Sweet 16 matchup, Gonzaga led by as many as 13 points in the second half before Florida State rallied, with the Seminoles trimming the deficit to four points with 4:11 to play. But Gonzaga’s Zach Norvell then answered with a three-pointer as the Bulldogs held off the Seminoles.
On Saturday Gonzaga (33-2) will play the winner of a Sweet 16 matchup between second-seeded Michigan and third-seeded Texas Tech at the Honda Center in the West Regional.
While two Final Four trips in three years would be unprecedented for Gonzaga, the Bulldogs clearly are aiming for more — the school’s first national title. Gonzaga reached the championship game in 2017 and lost to North Carolina 71-65.
This season, at its best, Gonzaga has looked like a title contender. Gonzaga was No. 1 in the USA TODAY Sports men’s basketball coaches poll for four weeks before the NCAA tournament began.
Known for its offense, Gonzaga looked even more impressive on defense in the first half Thursday, holding Florida State to 33.3% shooting from the field. Gonzaga led 38-27 at the half with Rui Hachimura and Josh Perkins scoring 10 points apiece.
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The day before Gonzaga’s game against Florida State, Bulldogs coach Mark Few marveled that his team had reached the Sweet 16 for the fifth season in a row.
He called it “an incredible streak that the players at Gonzaga have been able to accomplish.”
“It’s not easy getting through that first weekend and couldn’t be more proud of this group, how they kind of managed and navigated their way through it,’’ Few added. “Especially in lieu of we weren’t feeling great about how we played in our conference tournament. It was great to see us get through that.’’