Final Four 2017: Frank Martin brought to tears reflecting on season's accomplishments

  • Final Four 2017: Frank Martin brought to tears reflecting on season's accomplishments

Final Four 2017: Frank Martin brought to tears reflecting on season's accomplishments

This time, though, the magic ran out in the desert on April Fools' Day for SC.

SC and Gonzaga threw haymakers during the first Final Four game of the 2017 NCAA Tournament, and in the end, the the Bulldogs came out on top, 77-73. Gonzaga has been one of the tournament's mainstays winning 21 games in the 18 consecutive years the Zags have reached the NCAA under Few.

Top-seeded Gonzaga was on cruise control with about 11 minutes left, up 65-51 when Williams-Goss flipped in a driving layup and made a free throw for a three-point play.

"The journey we've been on has just been unreal". Stanford also forced seven turnovers and held SC to 25% field goal percentage and a 20% 3-point percentage.

The Gamecocks play defense along the perimeter as if they have six players on the floor.

Nigel Williams-Goss, Gonzaga. A finalist for several national awards, he shot 28.5 percent from the field in the Bulldogs' first three NCAA Tournament games. "We just really struggled without our glue out there when Karlie twisted her ankle".

It wasn't the kind of game that Thornwell and Gamecocks fans had come to expect from their star player, especially in the NCAA Tournament. "I had four fouls today". "But I told him, 'Buddy, you got 16 rebounds, we wouldn't have been in this position if it hadn't been for you'".

Thornwell didn't score until the 6:25 mark of the first half. "His work ethic is awesome".

Karnowski has been battling a back issue. So he's been huge for us. Gonzaga has been in lockdown mode over its last four games, allowing an average of only 59 points.

Gonzaga led by 14 midway through the second half, but like they have all tournament, the Gamecocks made a push. But even those few skeptics will surely be silenced if the Zags can manage to pull out two more wins. Thornwell made the first free throw and missed the second on goal in hopes of his teammates grabbing an offensive rebound.

"I think the offseason was the biggest part where we felt like we had unfinished business", All-America forward Justin Jackson said. Carolina is experienced and has big guys, and they can really play inside and out. "And just ecstatic to be still playing, and to be playing the last game of the year is just insane cool".

Thornwell, who had missed Thursday's practice with flu-like symptoms, said his illness had nothing to do with his lack of scoring. P.J. Dozier had 17 points and nine rebounds for SC, and despite the slow start, Thornwell finished with 15. The Gamecocks tied the game twice in the first half - 26-26 and 31-31 - but both times the Zags swung the game right back in their favor with 3-pointers from Jordan Matthews.

"What these kids have done is pretty special", Gamecocks coach Frank Martin said. "It's what it's all about".