HOUSTON, Texas — With Gonzaga struggling from the outside, Bulldogs center Przemek Karnowski put the team on his broad shoulders and carried it to the South Regional final.
Karnowski led Gonzaga with 18 points as the Bulldogs rolled past UCLA, 74-62, Friday night at NRG Stadium.
Gonzaga (35-2) earned a spot in the Elite Eight for just the second time in program history. The Bulldogs will try to punch their first-ever ticket to the Final Four when they face Duke on Sunday.
UCLA (22-14) lost to Gonzaga for the second time this season. The Bruins shot 39 percent from the field. Guard Bryce Alford went 3 of 11 from the field and two of six from 3-point range and didn’t make a 3-pointer until the 2:25 mark of the second half.
Guard Norman Powell and center Tony Parker paced UCLA with 16 each.
The Bruins scored the first six points coming out of halftime, but Gonzaga surged back with the game’s key run.
Bulldogs guard Gary Bell hit a jumper, then Karnowski scored six straight in the paint, kickstarting an 18-3 run that put Gonzaga ahead 53-37 with 9:02 left.
Karnowski scored eight points, grabbed four rebounds and set up forward Domantas Sabonis for a dunk during the run.
Gonzaga made just three 3-pointer and was 0-for-6 from beyond the arc in the second half until guard Kyle Dranginis nailed a trey from the right side. Dranginis’ basket gave the Bulldogs a 62-45 lead and firm control with 4:22 left.
Bulldogs guard Byron Wesley scored 14, Sabonis had 12 and guard Kevin Pangos added 10.
UCLA went more than six minutes without scoring in the first half, but only fell behind by six when Gonzaga guard Eric McClellan hit a pair of free throws for a 16-10 lead at the 8:42 mark. Powell went to the basket for a layup to break the drought with 7:57 left before the break.
Both the Bruins and Bulldogs struggled to find the range for most of the first half. At a media timeout at the 5:55 mark, UCLA was shooting 32 percent from the field, a shade better than Gonzaga’s 30 percent, though the Bulldogs led 20-14 at that point.
Wesley hit a 3-pointer to extend the Bulldogs’ largest lead of the first half to 11 with 5:11 left before the break. Wesley led Gonzaga with nine points in the first half.
Powell paced UCLA with 12 points in the first 20 minutes.
Terry Rozier posted his third career double-double with 17 points and a career-high 14 rebounds as the Cardinals avenged a regular-season loss to the Wolfpack to advance to the Elite Eight in Syracuse, N.Y., the East Region final.
Montrezl Harrell added 24 points and seven rebounds for No. 4 seed Louisville (27-8), which will square off against seventh-seeded Michigan State in Friday’s nightcap. Freshman Quentin Snider contributed 14 points and Wayne Blackshear chipped in 10 as the Cardinals shot 50 percent in both halves and matched a season low with five turnovers.
Trevor Lacey led the way with 18 points for eighth-seeded North Carolina State (22-14), which had won eight of its previous 10 contests — a stretch that started with a 74-65 victory in Louisville on Feb. 14. Ralston Turner scored 12 points and Kyle Washington tallied 11 for the Wolfpack.
Anthony Barber drilled back-to-back 3-pointers to begin the second half after an 0-for-7 effort from the field in the opening stanza to give N.C. State an eight-point edge. Harrell countered with six of the game’s next eight points and Louisville held the Wolfpack to one field goal over the next six minutes, fueling a 16-2 surge as the Cardinals pulled ahead by six with 13 minutes left.
Blackshear picked up his fourth foul with 8 ½ minutes to go and N.C. State forged ahead 54-53 with six straight points, but Anton Gill answered with a jumper and a 3-pointer to put Louisville back in front for good. Turner’s 3-pointer with 4 ½ minutes remaining left the Wolfpack behind 58-57 before Rozier supplied eight of the Cardinals’ points during a 12-2 burst that put the game away.
HOUSTON — Duke answered a challenge from Utah with a little grittiness on the defensive end and a lot of freshman forward Justise Winslow on offense.
Winslow scored a game-high 21 points as top-seeded Duke outlasted fifth-seeded Utah 63-57 on Friday night in an NCAA South Regional semifinal game at NRG Stadium.
Duke guard Tyus Jones scored 15 points, including making nine of 10 free throws, and guard Quinn Cook pitched in 11. Duke center Jahlil Okafor, the Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year, was limited to six points on 3-of-6 shooting.
Utah guard Brandon Taylor scored 15 points to lead the Utes, center Dallin Bachynski added 11, and Jakob Poeltl and guard Delon Wright each had 10.
Winslow, the son of Houston Cougar Phi Slama Jama alum Rickie Winslow, celebrated his 19th birthday on Thursday, then went to work leading the Blue Devils’ charge in his hometown.
When Utah began to gain some offensive momentum in the second half, Winslow was there to answer with back-to-back 3-pointers.
When the Utes cut Duke’s 15-point lead to six, Winslow punched back with a three-point play that broke a Utah run and re-established a nine-point edge.
So Winslow will be rewarded with another game in his hometown. Duke (32-4) advances to face Gonzaga in the South Regional final on Sunday.
Utah (26-9) couldn’t overcome 35-percent shooting from the field and 15 turnovers that resulted in 16 Duke points.
The Blue Devils built a 15-point lead with an 8-0 run midway through the second half.
Blue Devils forward Amile Jefferson highlighted the run with a dunk on an assist from Jones that caused Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski to pump both fists and prompted Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak to call timeout.
The Utes fought back by scoring nine straight points, including a pair of baskets each from Taylor and Poeltl, to cut the Duke lead to 49-43.
But Winslow’s three-point play kept Utah from creating a bigger wave of momentum and catching the Blue Devils.
The Blue Devils led for most of the first half. Duke used an 8-0 run late in the first half to open a double-digit lead when Okafor went to the basket for a layup with 3:04 left.
The Blue Devils began clamping down defensively during the surge, causing four Utah turnovers, including a 10-second backcourt violation.
The Utes struggled offensively, shooting 30 percent from the field in the first half, a problem made worse by their nine first-half turnovers.
However, Bachynski stopped Duke’s run and changed the momentum for the final three minutes of the half. Bachynski made an inside jumper while being fouled by Okafor and completed the three-point play to cut the Blue Devils’ lead to 27-20 at halftime.
Bachynski was the only double-digit scorer for either team in the first half with 11 points.
The Blue Devils didn’t score in the final three minutes of the half and saw their lead shrink to five points at the break.
SYRACUSE, NY — Travis Trice led Michigan State with 24 points, including six points down the stretch, and Denzel Valentine chipped in with 18 to lead the No. 7 Spartans to a 62-58 win over the No. 3 Oklahoma Sooners in an East Regional semifinal at the Carrier Dome on Friday.
The win punched the Spartans’ ticket to their second straight trip to the Elite Eight and third in the last six years. The Sooners were seeking their first Elite Eight appearance since 2009.
Guard Buddy Hield led the Sooners (24-11) with 21 points and forward TaShawn Thomas had 16.
The Sooners led 31-27 at the half, but a short jumper by Valentine, who had 13 of his 18 points in the second half, tied the score at 39 with 14:31 to go in the game.
The teams traded buckets, but the Spartans took the lead for good on a short jumper by Branden Dawson with 7:26 to go that gave MSU a 46-45 lead. A put-back slam by Matt Costello, a 3-pointer by Valentine and another three by Trice extended the margin to 54-49 with 5:00 to go. Two foul shots by Thomas brought the Sooners to 54-51 but a jumper by Trice from the right side pushed the lead to 56-51 with 2:03 remaining.
Guard Trice hit four free throws and guard Valentine netted two from the charity stripe for Michigan State (26-11) in the final 1:19 to keep Oklahoma at bay.
Hield scored 11 points and guard Jordan Woodard added nine to lead the Sooners in the first 20 minutes. Trice led the Spartans with 10.
The Spartans were ice cold most of the first half, shooting just 33 percent, fueling Oklahoma’s transition game. The Sooners jumped to an 18-8 lead on a layup by forward Khadeem Lattin with 14:22 to go before halftime.
Michigan State closed to 25-21 on two free throws by Trice. The Sooners extended the margin to a 10-point lead again on the strength of a 3-pointer from Woodard and a layup by Hield.
But the Spartans came back yet again on 3-pointers by Valentine and guard Bryn Forbes to close within four.
At one point, the Spartans hit just two of 16 field-goal attempts, but stayed in the game as the Sooners got cold as well, hitting just five of their last 21 shots of the first 20 minutes.