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No. 1 Gonzaga easily dispatches No. 5 Creighton to advance to Elite Eight

Nick Bromberg
·3-min read

Gonzaga is three wins away from an undefeated season.

The No. 1 overall seed Bulldogs had absolutely no problems with No. 5 Creighton in the teams' West region Sweet 16 matchup on Sunday. Gonzaga won 83-65 after putting the Blue Jays away early in the second half with a 19-9 run over the first nine minutes after halftime.

Creighton didn't play poorly in the first half. Yet it still found itself down 10 at the break thanks to Gonzaga's ruthless offensive efficiency. It was hard to see how the Blue Jays would be able to keep up with the Bulldogs in the second half after what transpired in the first 20 minutes and that became evident as Gonzaga was able to cruise in the game's final minutes.

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 28: Joel Ayayi #11 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs reacts after hitting a three against the Creighton Bluejays in the Sweet Sixteen round of the 2021 NCAA Division I Mens Basketball Tournament at Hinkle Fieldhouse on March 28, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)
Gonzaga didn't have much trouble with Creighton on Sunday to advance to the Elite Eight. (Photo by Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Gonzaga shoots 60%

Gonzaga boasts the nation's best offense largely because of how good it is inside the 3-point line. The Bulldogs entered the game shooting a nation-best 64% on two-pointers and shot 76% inside the arc on Sunday.

To put those stats into perspective, Furman was the only other team in the country to shoot better than 60% on twos in the 2020-21 season. And only 22 teams shot 55% or better from inside the arc all season.

Gonzaga and coach Mark Few also realize how much of a strength the team's two-point offense is. As more and more teams shoot threes, Gonzaga is so successful shooting twos while also taking a lot of them. Granted, some of those twos are easy looks in transition, but less than a third of Gonzaga's shots are from beyond the 3-point line.

Gonzaga took a lot of threes on Sunday; 24 of the team's 57 shots came from behind the arc as Creighton tried to pack the paint. The Bulldogs made nine of those threes to match its season average of 37.5%.

That relatively high mark from three when Gonzaga does shoot it from deep is why no one has stopped Gonzaga so far this season. It's the country's most dangerous team when it gets on the fast break and each of its five starters is capable of putting up a big night to beat you.

Drew Timme led Gonzaga with 22 points on 10-of-14 shooting. The only Gonzaga starter that didn’t score in double figures was star freshman Jalen Suggs. He had nine points but grabbed five rebounds and had six assists.

No one has finished undefeated since 1976

Gonzaga is aiming to be the first national champion to go an entire season without a loss since Indiana in 1976. If the Zags win on Tuesday night to advance to the Final Four they will be the first school to make the Final Four without a loss since Kentucky in 2015. The Wildcats lost to Wisconsin in the Final Four.

Gonzaga made the Elite Eight in that 2015 NCAA tournament. Sunday’s win shows how successful of a program Gonzaga has become since that season.

Gonzaga has now made the Elite Eight three times in the last four tournaments. The Bulldogs lost in the national championship game in 2017 and lost in the Elite Eight in 2019 and were heavily favored to advance deep into the 2020 tournament if it hadn’t been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Gonzaga finished the 2019-20 regular season at 31-2 and was No. 2 in the AP top 25 when the season was called off.

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