After a poor showing and a simple survival job on Thursday in the 2nd round Gonzaga were clear favorites to be the likely 1st top seed out of the 2013 NCAA Tournament and they proved all their critics right, going down in a mid-major fight to 9th seeded Wichita State, 76-70, on Saturday.
The Shockers did just about everything right in taking down the presumed favorites in this one as they used a great defensive effort to hold down the Zags, especially in the 1st half, where Gonzaga only shot 33 percent. However, Gonzaga was able to slowly chip away at what was a 10 point Wichita State lead in the 1st half half and were down just five at the break.
It was just the beginning of a wild end to the game, which was perhaps the 2nd best of the day next to what went down between Butler and Marquette. Just how wild did this game get?
Well, a set of back-to-back treys by Kevin Pangos and Mike Hart with 13:38 left to play gave Gonzaga a 43-41 lead and sparked a 12-0 run by the Bulldogs that gave them an eight point lead and should've ended the game.
But no.... Instead the Shockers never gave up and retook the lead at 62-61 with 3:29 left to play. It was a battle for a bit after that with the lead changing hands again until a pair of improbable treys for the Shockers gave them a five point, 70-65 lead, a lead that proved too much for the top seeded Zags to overcome that late in the game.
The made triples were really the story of this game for Wichita State, as they hit 14.... Yes, 14 triples on the night and wouldn't have made it back or kept it's lead without them. The Shockers shot 53 percent from deep after struggling from beyond the arc in the opener.
You can't blame possible player of the year candidate Kelly Olynck for this one though, as he pulled more than his fair share of weight with a 26 point performance in the loss.
However, you also shouldn't be shocked that the Zags are out so early after they had to squeak by Southern in their tourney opener. Wichita State will get the winner of the upset special in the West region as 12th seeded Ole Miss takes on 13th seeded LaSalle tomorrow.