2014 NCAA Tournament Recap: Gonzaga Escapes Oklahoma State

Victory!

In truly one of the most odd games I have ever witnessed, Gonzaga took down Oklahoma State 85-77.  It was largely a game dominated by the officials but, through all that mess, Gonzaga's Gary Bell and Przemek Karnowski were able to lead the way for the Bulldogs as they got the win and advance to take on Arizona.

The first half was an odd but beautiful mixed bag for the Bulldogs.  Gary Bell, who seemed downright pissed off he had to watch the Zags lose last year, came out absolutely on fire and had double digits before Oklahoma State could even realize what was happening.  Continuing on with the great results from the first half was Przemek Karnowski who was able to get favorable position against the Pokes several times and cash in.  Karnowski and Bell finished the first half a near perfect 8-9 from the floor with 22 points.

While Karnowski and Bell were sizzling, Sam Dower and Kevin Pangos were large non-factors.  Dower was absent throughout the first half while Pangos got going late, drilling a big three as the half wound down.  He missed a couple free throws, as well, which is always head scratching.  Kyle Dranginis provided a big spark in the first half as he added five points and chased down two offensive rebounds.  While his contributions are always relatively small on the stat page, his timing has often times been so crucial for this team.

The Pokes were largely on their heels during the first half but always found a way to squash the Bulldogs' big runs and keep the game close.  Marcus Smart, surprise surprise, is damn good at basketball.  For all his flopping and complaining to the officials, he has game that can't be questioned.  Le'Bryan Nash and Kamari Murphy were saddled with fouls for a good chunk of the first half as the officials called it close.  At the end of the first half, the Cowboys had amassed 12 fouls to Gonzaga's 10.

The second half is simply indescribable.  It was very back and forth early on as the Zags hit a quick three but that was followed by a torrid Oklahoma State run that saw the Bulldogs lead shrink to 3 multiple times.  About five minutes into the second half, however, the officials really started to impose their will.  Oklahoma State was in the double bonus by the twelve minute mark or so and a number of them were very questionable.  Meanwhile, Gonzaga could simply not get anything going offensively.  They had several stretches with no field goals and there was just a plethora of absolutely bizarre activity throughout.  Everytime the Cowboys cut it down, however, the Zags found a way to extend the lead.

All in all, it was just a crazy game but it is  a big win for this program.  No one, and like honestly no one was giving the Zags a chance and they were clearly the superior team throughout this one and got the win.

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