SALT LAKE CITY —
Gonzaga barely escaped to keep No. 1 seeds undefeated against No. 16s since the NCAA tournament field expanded to 64 teams in 1985.
That doesn't mean it was easy for the Zags, who ran into a No. 16 seed that wasn't playing like one.
Kelly Olynyk scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half to help the Zags (32-2) advance. Gonzaga iced the game with a pair of 3-pointers — one by Gary Bell Jr., the next by Kevin Pangos — that gave the Bulldogs their small cushion after Southern tied things at 56 with 3:45 left.
Gonzaga coach Mark Few was almost ready to jump on the Southern bandwagon.
"Everyone was so moved by their effort, their resilience, their confidence," Few said. "If I wasn't coaching on the other sideline, they'd be a tough team not to root for."
Derick Beltran made life particularly difficult on the West Coast Conference champions. He scored 21 points and blocked eight shots, while Southern made 10 3-pointers on the night.
Gonzaga's next opponent slowly pulled away from Pitt, ending the Panthers' season at 24-9.
Wichita State's Tekele Cotton did such a good job shutting down Pitt's leading scorer, Tray Woodall, that Woodall was in tears after the game. He managed only two points while the Shockers guard came up with five steals and a key 3-point basket.
At the news conference after the game, Woodall broke down and had to be comforted by teammate Dante Taylor, who wrapped an arm around his teammate's shoulder.
"It's a bitter taste in my mouth to end my career with one of the worst games I've ever played," said Woodall, who came into the game averaging 11.8 points. "I'm sorry. I let my team down."
Cotton, a 6-2 sophomore, hit his 3-pointer to start as 12-4 run and added a fast-break dunk to put the Shockers ahead 45-35 with 10:31 remaining. Woodall finished just 1 of 12 from the field, and 0 of 5 from 3-point range.