NCAA Tournament (Round of 64)
(2) Gonzaga 86, (15) North Dakota State 76
SEATTLE (AP) — For Gonzaga, it's on to the next round. For North Dakota State, it's back to the market.
Kyle Wiltjer scored 23 points to lift the second-seeded Bulldogs to an 86-76 victory over the team that lifts weights in an out-of-commission grocery store.
The Zags (33-2) will play Iowa on Sunday to try to make the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2009.
Sophomore Dexter Werner had a career-high 22 points — all of them entertaining — while keeping North Dakota State within range for much of the game.
The 15th-seeded Bison (23-10), upset winners over Oklahoma as a 12 seed last year, couldn't muster a repeat. Still, it was quite a season for a team that lost three starters and its head coach from last year and had to improvise on things like weight rooms and practice space while their facilities are being overhauled.
Kevin Pangos had 18 points for Gonzaga, which is making its 17th straight NCAA Tournament appearance but has gone five straight seasons without a trip to the Sweet 16.
The Zags, cheered on by a big crowd that drove across the state on I-90 to watch, did not get a stress-free warmup game against the Bison.
Lawrence Alexander, who sent last year's Oklahoma game into overtime with a tying 3, had 19 points. That was no big surprise.
But when Werner, the 6-foot-6, 240-pound forward who can dribble and drop the baby hook, started going off in the second half, the game got interesting. Over five minutes, Werner scored nine points — capping it with a twisting, lean-in 17-footer — and drew a charge to help cut a one-time 15-point deficit to six and send the few thousand Bison faithful into a tizzy.
But on the next possession, Werner bumped into Pangos as he was shooting a 3. The shot fell and the four-point play bumped the lead to 10. The Bison didn't threaten again.
Gonzaga shot 51.7 percent, just a tad under its nation-leading average this season. Overall, Bison coach David Richman's nightmare — that the Bulldogs would produce from both inside and outside — came true.
Pangos, a senior, made four 3-pointers and added five assists without a turnover in his usual sparkling floor game. Gary Bell Jr., a junior, had 17 points.
Both those guards have felt the disappointment in each of Gonzaga's recent first-weekend flameouts, including a drubbing last year at the hands of Arizona and a loss to Wichita State the year before when the Zags were the No. 1 seed.
In Spokane, there's hope this year could be different, in large part thanks to Wiltjer's decision to transfer from Kentucky.
He was money in this one: 8 for 12 from the floor, 2 for 3 from 3-point range and 5 for 5 from the line, with eight rebounds.
North Dakota State: The renovation at the Bison's facility in Fargo will cost about $50 million and should be complete before next season. ... Also scoring in double figures were Paul Miller (13) and Kory Brown (10).
Gonzaga: The Zags, who rank fifth in the country in assist-to-turnover ratio at 1.56, finished with 16 assists and nine turnovers.
NIT (2nd Round)
Vanderbilt 92, South Dakota State 77
NASHVILLE (gojacks.com) - Fresh off its first-ever Division I postseason win on Wednesday at Colorado State, No. 8 seed South Dakota State traveled to Nashville, Tenn., on Friday to take on No. 5 seed Vanderbilt, but the Commodores used a 16-0 second half run to secure a 92-77 win in front of a raucous crowd of 5,605 fans at Memorial Gymnasium.
The loss ends the Jackrabbits season with a 24-11 overall mark, the 22nd 20-win season in program history. The loss also ends the careers of seniors and .
"I love him, he's such a tremendous teammate,' head coach said of Horstman. "He's just been such an unselfish guy and done what we've asked him to do, and it's very difficult for me to say goodbye to him."
Nagy also commented about Larson, who led the Jackrabbits with 18 points and 10 rebounds in his final game in a Jackrabbit uniform.
"Cody was really good tonight, sharp, got off to a good start, but I don't even care about the basketball with him," Nagy said. "The courage that it took to come back and face the people that doubted who he was and what he could do. There's just no way that anybody can have anything negative to say about him now in terms of what he's done and how he's handled himself at South Dakota State and what a good student-athlete he is."
Vanderbilt improves to 21-13, and advances to play on Tuesday at either No. 2 seed Stanford or at No. 3 seed Rhode Island.
"They're a very good offensive team, they really are, but we were so flat in the first half, we played so poorly and it was really a miracle that were only down six at halftime," said. "We came out in the second half and played really well, but when a team shoots like that, you're just not going to beat them."
Vanderbilt won the tip and knocked down a 3-pointer just 13 seconds into the game, but the Jackrabbits answered with a Larson layup on the other end. forced the first of four tie scores in the first half at 5-5 less than three minutes in, and then Larson gave SDSU its first lead of the game at 7-5 about a minute later, the first of two first half lead changes.
The Commodores retook the lead with a Wade Baldwin 3-pointer on the next possession, but the Jacks battled back to force ties at 20, 22 and 24, the last coming with 5 minutes, 44 seconds left in the opening half.
Vanderbilt outscored the Jacks 9-3 over the rest of the frame to take a 33-27 lead into halftime, as the Jacks missed their final nine shots of the half.
The Jackrabbits came out of the locker room hot, opening the half on a 9-0 run to take a 36-33, and led by as many as four points, but Vandy battled back to force the second of eight second half lead changes to go up 45-44 with 14:24 left.
Up 59-57 after a 3-pointer with 9:13 left, Vandy went on a 10-0 run to go up 67-59, drawing a timeout from the Jackrabbit bench with 7:17 left in the contest. The run continued after the timeout, reaching 16-0, as the Commodores hit 3-pointers on four straight trips down the floor.
Bittle ended that run as well, natting a layup with 5:33 left, but Vandy tacked on a 7-2 spurt to go up 17 at 80-63 with under four minutes to play and never looked back.
Larson's eighth double-double of the season gives him 14 in his career, he also added a block, which gives him 37 on the season, knocking himself out of 10th place at SDSU for a single season. Tellinghuisen added 15 points, all in the second half, while Bittle added 14 and 10 points in the loss.
Baldwin led five Commodores in double figures with 20 points, and tied with Larson for a game-high 10 rebounds. Damian Jones added 15, James Siakam 14, with both Matthew Fisher-Davis and Luke Kornet chipping in 12 points.