NCAA: Nigel Williams-Goss, Gonzaga stave off Northwestern

Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

In the end, Northwestern fell just short, but that should take nothing away from what was a season that will be remembered in Evanston forever.

Northwestern coach Chris Collins was furious the moment that call was missed - so furious that he ran out onto the floor and the officials called a technical on him. But, on the other, how do three officials on the court miss what was so obviously goaltending in an NCAA tournament game?

The call didn't cost Northwestern the game on its own, but it helped stifle a Wildcats comeback.

Nothing about the outcome can be changed now, though.

Junior guard Nigel Williams-Goss scored 14 of his team-leading 20 points in the first half for the Bulldogs, who advance to face West Virginia next Thursday at San Jose, and also had a team-high eight rebounds. "But it's an honest mistake".

Northwestern fans were challenging the structural integrity of Vivint Smart Home Arena with their eruptions after every Wildcat basket or free throw.

The Zags did an excellent job locking down Northwestern's Bryant McIntosh who finished with an offensive rating of 91 and 5 turnovers (averages 2.7).

"It wasn't really painful because I like to think that I have a huge heart and I'll play through anything", Alkins said. So instead of being able to go to the tape and reverse the call - which would have put points on the boar for Northwestern - the technical foul on Collins allowed Gonzaga to go to the free throw line and collect points themselves.

In a sense, Northwestern was the Cinderella darling of the Salt Lake region site - and perhaps the entire tournament to this point.

In the first half, Gonzaga's defense showed why it's now ranked #1 in KenPom's adjusted defensive efficiency ratings. There are two ways to win in the NCAA Tournament: have one or more gifted players who will go to the National Basketball Association after their freshmen seasons; or have talented, but not too talented, players who can grow together to the point where they are very risky by the time they're juniors and seniors. "If something presents itself, we're certainly looking, the way other people have looked and analyzed to see how it would work for them".

One Division I coach who requested anonymity, in fact, actually sent a text to a USA TODAY Sports reporter midway through the second half: "I like Chris, but can't believe he hasn't gotten a T".

"It was unbelievable to look up in the stands and hear the chants about us", said forward Sanjay Lumpkin of all those that have come to Utah to cheer the team on.

Bernard played pick-up ball and spent social time with numerous Seminoles past year when he played at Florida A&M, which is also in Tallahassee. You win, in Northwestern's case, it's probably the best thing they've done in the history of the school.

Consider that on a Saturday in mid-March, Northwestern woke up as the talk of college basketball. The Wildcats cut the Zags' lead to under double-digits for the first time with 8:42 to go, 59-50, on a Nathan Taphorn 3-pointer.

No. 1 seeds North Carolina and Kansas look for Sweet Sixteen bids on Sunday, as will Duke, Louisville, Kentucky and UCLA.

"We know we're a good team", Law said.

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