It didn’t go quite as smoothly as Mark Few would have liked, but at the end of the day, No. 1 seed Gonzaga got out of their first round matchup with No. 16 South Dakota State without too much of an issue, winning 66-46.
The Jackrabbits made some noise early. They doubled the post by completely ignoring whichever Gonzaga big man was playing on the perimeter, and the Zags struggled to find a rhythm from the perimeter.
It was just a weird, ugly game that was perfectly summed up by my buddy Eamonn Brennan:
Jordan Mathews had 16 points to lead the Zags, who shot 8-for-30 from beyond the arc and less than 40 percent from the floor, while Josh Perkins, Przemek Karnowski and Zach Collins chipped in with 10 points apiece.
But Gonzaga’s most impressive performance might have come from Jonathan Williams III, who scored just six points and was the liability on the offensive end of the floor. He did the heavy-lifting against SDSU’s Mike Daum, the nation’s second-leading scorer that had just 17 points on 7-for-16 shooting, doing much of his damage after the outcome of the game was already decided.
Williams added 14 boards and a pair of blocks as well.
The Zags will advance to face the winner of No. 8 Northwestern vs. No. 9 Vanderbilt on Saturday.