Gonzaga downs South Carolina, advances to first NCAA men’s tournament title game

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Gonzaga will play in its first NCAA men’s basketball title game after edging South Carolina 77-73 on Saturday, April 1st in the national semifinals.

“I’m really, really proud of our guys and our late-game execution,” Gonzaga Coach Mark Few said. “The guys executed it perfectly, especially down the last four minutes. … To be playing the last game of the year is just crazy cool.”

The Bulldogs (37-1) will face five-time NCAA champ North Carolina, which barely got by Oregon 77-76 in the second semifinal.

The Bulldogs were led by guard Nigel Williams-Goss, who scored 23 points and had six assists.

At one point midway through the second half Gonzaga led by 14 points, but South Carolina rallied and took the lead briefly.

“We said all year that we’re a tight group, we said that we’re brothers, we said that we stick together, and it shows,” Williams-Goss told CBS. “When things got tough, we banded together.”

South Carolina (26-11) was led by in scoring by guard P.J. Dozier, who had 17 points and guard Sindarius Thornwell, who chipped in 15 points.

Gamecocks Coach Frank Martin said he told his team that it’s not the result of a game that is important.

“People keep score when you play games … sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t, that score eventually goes away. When you impact people by the masses the way these kinds have, that means you are a winner as a human being, and that’s what matters,” he said.

The national championship game will be played at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, on Monday at 9 p.m ET.

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