INDIANAPOLIS — Drew Timme scored 22 points and top-seeded Gonzaga did against Creighton what it’s done throughout this unblemished season, rolling past the fifth-seeded Bluejays with versatile offense and efficient defense to win 83-65 on Sunday in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
Andrew Nembhard added 17 points for the Bulldogs (29-0), who have won a school-record 33 consecutive games and extended their Division I record to 26 straight double-digit wins.
Gonzaga did it this time on a quiet day for star Jalen Suggs, who finished with nine points. The Bulldogs methodically built a 10-point halftime lead and pushed ahead by 20 on Suggs’ layup with 11:22 left. The Zags will face sixth-seeded Southern California or seventh-seeded Oregon on Tuesday in the West regional final.
Marcus Zegarowski scored 19 points to lead the Bluejays (22-9), who were trying to reach their first Elite Eight since 1941, when only eight teams played in the NCAA Tournament.
As they have many times this season, the Zags led wire to wire.
Gonzaga’s fast start forced Creighton to call its first timeout a little more than two minutes into the game and within seven minutes the Zags already led 22-12.
The Bluejays settled down and fought back within 27-25. But Gonzaga answered with five straight points, took a 43-33 halftime lead and spent most of the second half pulling away.
Nembhard also had eight assists while Timme added six rebounds. Joel Ayayi finished with 13 points and eight rebounds and Corey Kispert had 12 points for Gonzaga, which shot 59.6% from the field.
Denzel Mahoney added 13 points for Creighton.
Creighton: The Bluejays reached their first Sweet 16 since 1974 but didn’t have nearly enough against a foe on a clear mission. They were simply overwhelmed by the much stronger Zags over the final 30 minutes.
Gonzaga: Coach Mark Few’s team just has that look. The Bulldogs are not intimidated by chasing history, not worried about falling short, not even concerned with the hoopla surrounding their quest for the first perfect season by an NCAA champion since Indiana in 1976.
Big East teams certainly haven’t found Hinkle Fieldhouse to be any friendlier as a neutral court than it is when they play Butler each season.
Villanova and Creighton both lost here this weekend by double digits, and it might have been disconcerting for the Bluejays to hear the public address announcer saying things like “Bulldogs 3-pointer” when Gonzaga made a shot from beyond the arc.
Syracuse, which played in the Big East during the league’s glory days, also lost at Hinkle on Saturday.