Five seconds remained in regulation, Elias Harris stepped back from the top of the key and drained an off balance three pointer. Electrifying. The game was tied with four seconds to go. My classroom filled with the 18 people that showed up for our 6-9pm night class the night of the WCC Championship game went nuts.
Harris is a member of that class, and quite frankly the room was flat and disappointed; filled with little hope. But what he had just done no one thought was going to happen— E hit the tying shot to send the title game into overtime. New life was inspired into the Zag Nation; unfortunately, after five more minutes of play in overtime, Gonzaga was the quietest college campus in America.
It was double bonus, and the WCC player of the year was fouled twice in the final minute of OT. Matthew Dellevadova swished all four free throws, and his freshman teammate Jordan Page knocked down two more with 30 seconds left complete the necessary two possession lead. Neither player had come off the court all night, and those final seconds showed why. The Gaels beat the Bulldogs 78-74.
It was said best by a friend on Facebook, “Live by the Pangos, die by the Pangos.” After dropping 30 on BYU two nights ago, Kevin Pangos was only another body on the court. He finished the night with seven points, going 1-10 from behind the arc. Pangos’ inability to spark a scoring run was only one of the many mistakes and frustrations that littered Gonzaga Monday night in Las Vegas.
Pangos never even made an attempt at the free throw line, the other place on the court where he racks up points. Kevin was a good freshman basketball player that was not able to fill the role as the general on the court that most of GU was expecting him to, despite being the only Zag to play 45 minutes. It’s not his fault, by any means, that Gonzaga lost; there just happens to be a correlation of his performance and the outcome.
The one commanding player on the Bulldogs’ side was Elias Harris. He was a monster, hero, and by far the best athlete on the court. Harris knocked in 22 points and pulled down 13 boards in the game and hit the biggest shot of the night. He is peaking at the right time.
Rob Sacre had a good game inside, as the seven foot center shot 6-12 from the paint on his way to a 17 point performance. He was pumped for his final conference game of his five year career at Gonzaga, and it showed in his play.
Sam Dower was another spark for the Zag offense as he netted 14 points in 15 minutes of play. His performance was much needed, considering he had not been in double figures for quite a few games.
Dower’s time on the court is one of the many factors that contribute to my questioning of the coaching staff. If you look at the big picture and how the game was managed, along with the stat-line of several other players, so many red flags go up. Of course, it is extremely easy to criticize anyone when they lose, but tomorrow there will be a rant on what could have been done better, or who should have been on the court to win the game.
The season isn’t over, however. While, St. Mary’s did get the automatic bid, the No. 24/25 ranked Bulldogs should have no problem making another trip to the Big Dance. Selection Sunday is less than a week away, so now the anxiety of seeding kicks in, as March Madness has only begun.