ANAHEIM, CALIF. – Florida State upset Gonzaga a year ago in the Sweet 16, bludgeoning the Bulldogs with a big, physical lineup.
Thursday at Honda Center, Florida State again punched Gonzaga in the mouth, and again that was more than a metaphor. After a half-dozen plays, Gonzaga players walked away holding their mouths, checking for loose teeth and flowing blood.
This time, though Gonzaga took the punch and took advantage, winning 72-58 to advance to the Elite Eight.
“Physical game,” Gonzaga point guard Josh Perkins said.
Is that why he received a technical foul after a skirmish with one of the Seminoles? “Hey,” he said, “I’ve got a mouth on me.”
The Seminoles’ lone advantage in the matchup might have been the inside presence of 7-4 center Christ Koumadje. Gonzaga went at him early, he picked up two cheap fouls, and he wound up playing only 11 minutes.
He scored eight points and grabbed three rebounds. Had he played 30-plus minutes, Florida State might have had a chance.
Instead, Gonzaga, a No. 1 seed, pulled away late, as forward Rui Hachimura produced 17 points and four rebounds.
“We haven’t had much adversity in a long time,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. “I think we started leaking a little oil and getting away from why we were so good.”