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NCAA men's tournament: 'Zags, Ducks reach Final Four

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- As the clock wound down to secure an elusive trip to the Final Four, Gonzaga coach Mark Few hugged star guard Nigel Williams-Goss as he left the floor. Then he allowed himself a good cry.

Kyle Terada / USA Today Sports Gonzaga center Przemek Karnowski (24) shoots against Xavier forward Tyrique Jones during the second half in the West Region final Saturday at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif.
Kyle Terada / USA Today Sports Gonzaga center Przemek Karnowski (24) shoots against Xavier forward Tyrique Jones during the second half in the West Region final Saturday at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif.

SAN JOSE, Calif. - As the clock wound down to secure an elusive trip to the Final Four, Gonzaga coach Mark Few hugged star guard Nigel Williams-Goss as he left the floor. Then he allowed himself a good cry.

"Tears of joy," Few said. "It makes your heart warm, 365 degrees Celsius ... maybe it's Fahrenheit. It's been awhile since I was in class."

Former Cinderella-turned-powerhouse Gonzaga powered its way into its first Final Four with a decisive 83-59 victory over Xavier in the NCAA West Region final Saturday at the SAP Center.

Williams-Goss scored 23 points and forward Johnathan Williams had 19 points and won the tournament MVP award. The Bulldogs bombed their way past the Musketeers by making 12 of 24 3-pointers to shoot holes in Xavier's zone defense.

Top-seeded Gonzaga (36-1) will play the winner of today's Florida-South Carolina game in one NCAA semifinal in the Phoenix suburbs on Saturday. Gonzaga, which won its first 29 games, has a six-game winning streak.

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"We had a plan for ourselves," said Williams-Goss, a junior transfer in his first season in the program. "We believed from day one when we all set foot on this campus that we could go to Phoenix. We didn't shy away from setting that goal. We knew it wasn't going to be easy, but we knew if we bought into the system that we could do it."

For Gonzaga, the 19th time was the charm. The Bulldogs' 19th straight NCAA appearance induced their third Elite Eight, and they finally jumped the last hurdle by dominating both sides of the ball against the game Musketeers (24-14).

Williams-Goss made four 3-pointers and guard Josh Perkins had three. Williams-Goss contributed eight rebounds and four assists, Perkins and Jordan Mathews had 11 points each, and Williams had eight rebounds.

The Bulldogs set a school record for victories with their 30th double-digit win of the season. They have 28 NCAA tournament wins, one more than Xavier.

"I've been there 28 years," said Few, who has been head coach for the last 18 years after serving as an assistant. "My first year on our staff we won four Division I games.

"And I mean, this wasn't even possible. And each year we got better and better, and then we got really good. Our culture is so strong. This was a culture win and a culture statement."

Guard J.P. Macura led 11th-seeded Xavier with 18 points.

Oregon 74, Kansas 60

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Tyler Dorsey scored 27 points and Dillon Brooks added 17 as the Ducks knocked off the top-seeded Jayhawks in Kansas City, Mo., to reach the national semifinals for the first time since the first tournament in 1939.

The game was played at Sprint Center, less than an hour from Allen Fieldhouse, the home of the Jayhawks, but the Ducks owned the house.

Oregon had not reached the semifinals since the tournament's debut, when they defeated Ohio State 46-33 for the title.

Kansas, which came into the game 10th in Division I shooting 49.2 percent from the field, was out of sync all game, shooting just 35.0 percent. They were just 5-for-25 from 3-point range (25.0 percent) after averaging 41.1 percent this season, fourth best in Division I.

The second half started like the first half ended, with Oregon on a spurt. When Brooks hit a 3-pointer with 14:38 left in the half, the Ducks led 55-37.

Kansas cut the lead to six points with 2:50 left but could get no closer.

Kansas (31-5) was led by Frank Mason III with 21 points. Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and Josh Jackson also had 10 points.

Oregon (33-5) also had 12 points from Dylan Ennis and 11 from Jordan Bell.

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