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Zags hold off Gamecocks 77-73 in Final Four

Associated Press • Apr 1, 2017 at 9:03 PM

GLENDALE, Ariz. — 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 South Carolina on Saturday in a matchup of first-time teams at the Final Four.

The Bulldogs’ 7-footers, senior Przemek Karnowski and freshman Zach Collins, took care of things on both ends of the court, combining for 18 rebounds. Collins also had six blocks.

Gonzaga (37-1) will face the winner between North Carolina and Oregon for the national championship on Monday night.

Williams-Goss missed a shot with 12.7 seconds left and South Carolina rebounded and called a timeout trailing 75-72. South Carolina passed the ball around and Gonzaga fouled Sindarius Thornwell with 3.5 seconds left. He made the first and missed the second on purpose. Killian Tillie rebounded for Gonzaga, was fouled and made two free throws with 2.2 seconds left to cement the game.

Williams-Goss, a second-team All-American, pushed the Bulldogs to a 14-point lead in the second half, but it disappeared quickly when the Gamecocks (26-11) went on a 14-point run to grab a 67-65 lead with 7:06 to play.

Collins and Karnowksi then accounted for the next seven points, including a 3-pointer by Collins and a thundering dunk by Karnowski.

Still, South Carolina wasn’t done. The seventh-seeded Gamecocks scored five straight to get within 74-72 with just over two minutes left.

PJ Dozier led the Gamecocks with 17 points and Thornwell, the leading scorer in the NCAA tournament at 25.8 points per game, finished with 15 on 4-for-12 shooting after a slow start.

Karnowski went down on the court in the first half after being hit in the face as he took a shot underneath the basket. He left for the last give minutes of the half, but Collins picked him up, finishing with eight points at halftime.

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