South Dakota State Beaten By Gonzaga in NCAA Tournament Opener
Someday it's going to happen.
There will be a day when a 16-seed beats a number-one seed in the NCAA Tournament.
It's never happened since the event expanded to 64 teams in 1985. That means 128 different 1 vs. 16 match-up, and 128 wins for the big guys.
But if 2017 is going to be the year the streak ends, it won't be South Dakota State pulling off the shocker. The Jackrabbits became victim number 129 in a 66-46 loss to Gonzaga, this afternoon (March 16), in Salt Lake City.
The Bulldogs (33-1) struggled to grab a four-point lead at halftime, but came out with much better tempo in the second half, scoring nine of the first 13 points of the half to open up an 11-point lead. That advantage grew to as many as 22 .
Neither team shot the ball well. Gonzaga hit 40 percent from the floor, but just 8-of-30 from behind the three-point line. The Jackrabbits finished just 31 percent from the floor, 5-of-20 from long range.
Mike Daum led all socrers with 17 points, but it took him 16 shots to get there. No other SDSU player scored in double figures. Reed Tellinghusien had a particularly rough day, hitting just two of his 12 shots.
Jordan Matthews led Gonzaga with 16 points.
The Jacks had a slight rebounding advantage at intermission, but finished minus-nine on the glass overall.
SDSU got the start it wanted, hitting three-of-four from the floor to start the game, grabbing an early 8-2 lead, while the Bulldogs had trouble connecting from outside, missing their first five attempts from behind the three-point line.
Daum, the second leading scorer in the nation, struggled against a nearly constant Gonzaga double team in the first half, going just 3-of-10 from the floor, for seven points, to go with four turnovers.
The Jackrabbit defense was content to let the Bulldogs shoot from the perimeter in the first 20 minutes, and Gonzaga went just 2-of-14 from three-point range.
SDSU never trailed in the first 18:19 of the game, but only scored three points in the final 7:30, missing 10 of their last 11 shots before halftime, trailing 26-22 at the break.
Gonzaga now gets the Northwestern - Vanderbilt winner in Round Two, Saturday (March 18).
The Jackrabbits finish 18-17 in their first season under head coach TJ Otzelberger. SDSU began the season 1-6 and later got off to a 1-5 start in Summit League play, before winning six-of-eight to end the regular season. They followed that up with wins over Denver, South Dakota, and Omaha to capture the conference tournament crown for the fourth time.
The Jackrabbits have lost all four of their NCAA Tournament games: