March 18, 2006
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - There's a lot more to Gonzaga than Adam Morrison and his wispy mustache. Good thing for the Zags, because they needed the whole package to get past Indiana and its vast collection of 3-point shooters.
The Zags proved they're much more than a one-man show Saturday in the second round of the tournament, defeating the Hoosiers 90-80 and making coach Mike Davis' resignation official despite getting only 14 points from their scraggly haired superstar.
With Indiana defenders taking turns draping themselves over the mustachioed Morrison, J.P. Batista had 20 points and nine rebounds, Erroll Knight had 11 points and Sean Mallon had a career game with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
The victory got the third-seeded Bulldogs (29-3) out of the first weekend of the tournament for the first time since 2001. Davis, meanwhile, will head back and start cleaning out his office despite a super effort from the sixth-seeded Hoosiers (19-12).
Next up for Gonzaga is a game against UCLA in the Oakland Regional, which means another chance for Morrison to show he's the best player in the country, not Duke's J.J. Redick.
Morrison certainly didn't have it all going in this one. He shot 5-for-17, marking only the sixth time this season he's been held under 20. He was frustrated, much as he was in the first-round win against Xavier, and it boiled over early in the second half when he started jawing with Roderick Wilmont, who was harassing him all game long.
Morrison and Wilmont each got technicals, though it was another T, 22 seconds later on Indiana center Marco Killingsworth, that completely changed this game.
The technical, right after a personal foul, gave Killingsworth four fouls and put him on the bench - turning Indiana's strategy into a 3-or-nothing game. The Hoosiers hit a bunch - 13 to be exact - in the second half and kept the game in reach for most of it.
Robert Vaden went 6-for-13 from behind the line, Marshall Strickland went 6-for-9 and A.J. Ratliff went 3-for-7. All but 10 of Indiana's 49 points in the second half came from there and, for a brief moment, it looked as if Davis' plan to trade 3-for-2 down the stretch might actually extend his stay at Indiana.
It wasn't to be, though, and that was mainly because Indiana couldn't stop Gonzaga's wide assortment of long, lanky guys underneath.
Mallon matched his career high in rebounds. Batista easily won the matchup against Killingsworth (12 points), in large part because he stayed on the court longer. Knight played a more extended role and had a couple of sweet plays - an underhanded scoop of an offensive rebound for a basket and a jam on an alley-oop from Derek Raivio that made it 79-69 with 1:44 and pretty much put the game out of reach.
With 18 seconds left in his troubled six-year tenure at Indiana, Davis pulled Strickland (13 points, nine rebounds, 10 assists) from the game and the two shared a long, hug - the guard burying his head in the coach's shoulder. Then, Davis ended it with class, telling his players to simply dribble out the clock and end it - trailing by 10 and with no chance to win.
He got a nice hand from the few Indiana fans left in the gym when he came to courtside for a radio interview.
But now, the cheers will belong to Gonzaga, which has turned itself into a powerhouse over the last eight years, but is making its first trip to the regional semifinals since 2001 - back when the Zags were still considered plucky underdogs.