HOUSTON – Justise Winslow says coach Mike Krzyzewski never treated him and the other Duke freshmen like, well, freshmen.
These young Blue Devils certainly aren't playing like it either — and they have Krzyzewski one victory away from another Final Four.
"He gave us his trust and just believed in us," said Winslow, one of the three freshman starters. "When you have that, you play like yourself."
Winslow, playing home in Houston the day after his 19th birthday, had 21 points and 10 rebounds for South Region top seed Duke in a 63-57 victory over revived Utah on Friday night.
Apple Valley's Tyus Jones had 15 points while standout big man Jahlil Okafor had six points and eight rebounds for Duke (32-4), which will play in its 20th regional final, the 14th under Coach K.
The last Final Four appearance was in 2010, when the Blue Devils also went through the home of the NFL's Houston Texans on way to their fourth national title.
"This has been one of my favorite groups. They've been easy to coach, and they really get along. There's only a good attitude, only a good attitude and a willingness to learn," Krzyzewski said. "Sometimes freshmen don't learn that until they're older. But these guys knew it from the beginning. That's why they've had a special year."
Brandon Taylor had 15 points for the fifth-seeded Utes (26-9), who guided by their own Coach K, Larry Krystkowiak, got to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2005, and only three years after winning six games in Krystkowiak's first season.
Gonzaga 74, UCLA 62: Growing up in Poland, Przemek Karnowski had to stay up until 2 or 3 a.m. to watch the NCAA tournament.
Gonzaga's big man got to star in the show in prime time on Friday, scoring 18 points with nine rebounds to lead the second-seeded Bulldogs past the 11th-seeded Bruins.
The victory puts Gonzaga (35-2) in the Elite Eight for the second time, its first regional final since 1999, when the Zags were coached by Dan Monson. He left for the Gophers that year, and Mark Few has been coaching Gonzaga ever since.
"The one accomplishment that we haven't done is reach the Final Four, and we finally have an opportunity to do that," Few said.
UCLA (22-14) opened the second half with a 6-0 run to get within 35-34. Gonzaga got going after that, scoring the next 12 points, thanks to the powerful inside game of the 7-1, 288-pound Karnowski to make it 47-34.
"For me it was always a dream to be here and to play deep into the NCAA tournament," Karnowski said. "And right now I'm here and I'm trying to enjoy every second of it."
Karnowski helped the Bulldogs grab six more offensive rebounds than UCLA, which Bruins coach Steve Alford believes was the key to the game.
"We didn't rebound the basketball," Alford said.
"They got too many second shots."