The chorus of the classic John Denver song, “Country Road” is what the West Virginia Mountaineers are singing as the Zags rocked WVU 77-54 Thursday. The Mountaineers are a one and done team, and Gonzaga proved the selection committee successful as they held their own as the seven seed against the highly favored ten seed.
Distance travelled didn’t make a difference, and hometown crowd had no effect, as the Bulldogs plowed to their victory—leading from the 17:51 mark of the first half on. It was absolutely stunning. An odd mix of Zags filled up most of the minutes throughout the game, giving the key players rest, while dominating a Big East team.
In the win, several Bulldogs had trouble controlling their aggression earning several early fouls, but by the end, no one had more than three, and physicality wasn’t a concern. Rob Sacre and Gary Bell Jr. led the team with 14 points apiece. Kevin Pangos contributed 13, and Elias Harris rounded out the double figure scoring with ten.
As a team, the Zags knocked down nine threes, shooting nearly 53% from behind the arc. Mike Hart and Ryan Spangler earned some great minutes and made a tremendous impact considering their typical lack of court time. Hart drained a buzzer beating three for five points and four rebounds with 17 minutes on the court. Spangler racked up 21 minutes, in which he grabbed a team high of eight boards; he tossed in four points as well.
The Bulldogs will face Ohio State, a two seed, Saturday Morning in Pittsburgh. Tip-off is set for after the conclusion of the Syracuse-Kansas State game; roughly 11:30am (PST) on CBS.