Gonzaga, Ohio State get stay-and-play package in Boise

Casey Dawson
March 18, 2018

These two teams met earlier this season when Gonzaga hammered Ohio State 86-59 in the PK80.

It's what has happened since that will determine the outcome of Saturday's rematch in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

In the week leading up to the NCAA Tournament, plenty was made about the Jackrabbits' lackluster defense, one that gives up a lot of three-pointers, along with his ability to knockdown a shot from anywhere, Williams knew that he could have a big game to open March Madness.

That became even more apparent Thursday night, when Ohio State took down South Dakota State to advance to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Introductions won't be necessary but neither team resembles the one that took the floor at Memorial Coliseum.

At the time of the loss to Gonzaga, Holtmann said "more than anything I want to see how we respond to moments like this".

"He was enjoying a beverage and a view of the mountains", Holtmann said. They had a bunch of freshmen and some returners playing in a new system. "They're the same dudes, so we're coming in with not the same gameplan, but pretty dang close".

The evolution of both teams has been impressive.

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Ryan was probably thinking seven in the semifinals with No. 1 seed Kollin Moore at 197, but Moore was upset by unseeded Kyle Conel of Kent State.

By the February 12 AP poll, OSU was ranked No. 8 and Gonzaga No. 9. Kam Williams was the hero in round one, which bodes well for this game.

The Bulldogs survived a scare from No. 13 North Carolina-Greensboro 68-64 in the first round, while Ohio State overcame a tough challenge from No. 12 South Dakota State, winning 81-73. The game was tied until Zach Norvell Jr hit a three with 23 seconds left in the game. "Sometimes when we travel they think we are Belmont from NY", guard Sierra Jones said.

Now, the Buckeyes must do what they couldn't do in November - beat Gonzaga.

"I remember any time I caught it in the midrange or got into the painted area, they would come and double team", Bates-Diop said. I just try to move forward and be really offensive and try to score a lot of points, and then, if my opponent can handle that, they can handle it. "Good luck with that", UConn coach Geno Auriemma said.

"It's going to be a fight, for sure", said Gonzaga guard Josh Perkins. "Guys are more comfortable in the spots they've been in before".

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