PORTLAND, Ore. — Drew Timme was not going to let the Gonzaga Bulldogs lose. The junior took control of the game early in the second half to rally the Zags to a 93-72 win over Georgia State.
It was certainly not the dominant type of performance you might expect from the top overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, at least for the first 30 minutes of the game. The Panthers kept it close into the second half before the Bulldogs ran away with the game.
That's when the Zags went on a 21-0 run to blow the game wide open.
Timme led the Bulldogs with 32 points and 13 rebounds. Chet Holmgren added 19 points, 17 rebounds, and 7 blocks, while Andrew Nembhard had 9 points and 11 assists. Rasir Bolton and Anton Watson also scored in double digits.
The Panthers lost one of their best players with 10 minutes left in the game when Kaleb Scott fouled out. That opened up the game for Gonzaga's frontcourt.
The Panthers were led by Corey Allen, Kane Williams, and Jalen Thomas.
Despite leading 35-33 at the half, it is 20 minutes of basketball that Gonzaga would like to forget. The team struggled, especially on the offensive side of the court.
At one point, the Zags missed 12 shots in a row before Timme finally hit a layup. Gonzaga shot 40% from the floor in the first half. The shooting struggles continued at the free-throw line, where the Bulldogs hit only 9 of 19 free throws in the first half.
On the defensive end, Gonzaga held Georgia State to just 28.6% shooting but failed to rebound. The Panthers cleaned up with second chance points, and outrebounded Gonzaga 29 to 27 in the first half.
Both teams struggled with fouls in the half. Gonzaga had nine while Georgia State had 13, including four fouls for Scott and three for Jalen Thomas.
Timme led Gonzaga in the first half with 10 points and 8 rebounds. Holmgren added 5 points and 9 rebounds, along with 4 blocks in the first half. Corey Allen led the Panthers with 10 points in the half.
Gonzaga vs Memphis
Gonzaga will now face No. 9 seed Memphis in the second round of the tournament. Memphis beat No. 8 Boise State in the first round, 64-53.
Memphis was led by DeAndre Williams who scored 14 points for the Tigers. The Tigers struggled early in the season but played better down the stretch, reaching the title American Athletic Conference championship game where they lost to Houston.
Gonzaga vs Georgia State: Photos from the first round of the NCAA Tournament
While coach Mark Few preaches taking it one game at a time, for the Gonzaga players the goal is clear.
"It's just so exciting, I mean, It's a big moment for all of us! Our whole season has been going towards this goal of coming here and winning a national championship. So, for it to finally be here and get that started is really cool," sophomore Julian Strawther said.
Gonzaga will once again be the favorite in the next round, and throughout the tournament, but coach Few said winning in March Madness is something of a crapshoot.
“You got to be really good, but you also got to be lucky too. Those are two different entities," Few said. "Whether we haven't won it or we had won a championship, we want to win this thing just as bad as anybody. I feel smart enough and balanced enough to really cherish the accomplishment that we had, not only this year but in years past."
Gonzaga’s Timme and Holmgren got some good news before the game as they were named to All America teams. Timme was named to the All-America second team, while Holmgren was named to the All-America third team.