South Carolina and Gonzaga on the defensive in Final Four

South Carolina and Gonzaga on the defensive in Final Four”

SC guard Sindarius Thornwell had become a star of the tournament with his dazzling offense but battled illness earlier this week.

Gonzaga (37-1) will play the victor of North Carolina-Oregon on Monday night.

Nigel Williams-Goss scored 23 points, Gonzaga's big men combined for 27 and the Bulldogs used some last-second strategy for a 77-73 victory over SC on Saturday in a matchup of first-time teams at the Final Four.

Collins regained the lead for Gonzaga when his 3-pointer bounced around and in, starting a 7-0 run in which center Przemek Karnowski had a dunk and a layup. And on the next play, he scored on an old-fashioned 3-point play.

Oh, and he hit a 3-pointer with 6:45 left to put Gonzaga up, 68-67, which ended a 16-0 SC run and gave the 'Zags a lead they'd never relinquish. Thornwell made a block and drew a charge in a momentum-changing sequence for the Gamecocks. They went on a 14-5 run to end the first half and went into the break with a 45-36 lead.

The Bulldogs held off a furious rally as SC used a 16-0 run to overcome a 14-point deficit. Gonzaga never relinquished the lead after that and made some key defensive plays down the stretch to preserve the win. No. 7 SC (26-10).

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South Carolina: The Gamecocks entered the tournament having last won a game in 1973. Collins is an athletic 7-foot freshman who can score inside, outside and may be the best National Basketball Association prospect in the Final Four.

The Gamecocks missed two shots on the other end but got one more chance to tie the score, taking possession with 12.7 seconds left.

SC players huddle during a practice session for their NCAA Final Four tournament college basketball semifinal game Friday, March 31, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. Not to mention being a No. 7 seed out of a football conference.

The miraculous run for the South Carolina Gamecocks came to a halt on Saturday afternoon in Glendale, Arizona. The Gamecocks defeated No. 4 Florida in the Elite 8. "They're checking on it right now". He's also recorded three of the four best single-season win totals in program history.

Adding transfers has been the norm during coach Mark Few's tenure at Gonzaga, but the Zags have hit the jackpot this year.

In the first half, Stanford's defense was spectacular. P.J. Dozier showed out, scoring 17 points on 16 shots and Chris Silva and Duane Notice joined them in double figures with 13 and 10. He left the game for the rest of the half. Maybe the Gamecocks women's team will do better Sunday in that tournament's title game. In the first half, five Gonzaga players had at least six points in the game. When you get people to travel across the country by the masses because they believe in what you do, it's powerful stuff. He had 15 points and five rebounds, but was just 4 of 11 from the field. Samuelson did not shoot a single shot after her injury, finishing the game with zero points.

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