The Gonzaga Bulldogs lept to No. 1 in the AP Top 25 Poll and catapulted into the national spotlight after taking down the mighty Duke Blue Devils at the Maui Invitational tournament November 21.
The undefeated Bulldogs have been cruising ever since, notching double-digit wins against the North Dakota State Bison and the Creighton Bluejays before hosting the Washington Huskies Wednesday night.
Gonzaga racked up an eight-point lead with just over two minutes to play, but the Huskies stormed back and tied the game with 10 seconds left.
Bulldogs star Rui Hachimura knocked down an exhilarating jumper with 0.6 seconds remaining on the clock to put Gonzaga ahead by two and save the team’s perfect season.
Ever since Gonzaga took down the mighty Duke Blue Devils at the Maui Invitational tournament November 21, the No. 1 Bulldogs have been the kings of college basketball.
But the Washington Huskies challenged the throne Wednesday night, nearly forcing overtime if not for star Rui Hachimura’s late-game heroics.
Gonzaga had stomped out the Texas A&M Aggies, Illinois Fighting Illini, and Arizona Wildcats heading into its season-defining victory against Mike Krzyzewski’s Blue Devils. After arriving home from Hawaii, the Bulldogs notched a 38-point rout of the North Dakota State Bison before securing a tough road win against the Creighton Bluejays December 1.
But it was clear from the opening tip that Washington would not go down without a fight. The Bulldogs racked up a 10-point lead heading into halftime and held onto an eight-point advantage with just over two minutes to play, but the Huskies stormed back and tied the game with 10 seconds left.
Gonzaga point guard Josh Perkins ran a couple of seconds off the clock by bringing the ball up the court and dribbling around the perimeter but found Hachimura just inside the free-throw line with his back to the basket and three seconds to go. The Toyama, Japan, native caught the ball in the air and twisted towards the basket before he landed. With four Washington players closing in on him, Hachimura rose up through traffic and sank the clutch jumper with just 0.6 seconds on the clock.
RUI HACHIMURA HAS THE CLUTCH GENE! ❄️ @ZagMBB pic.twitter.com/aSQBKMsXxf
— NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) December 6, 2018
“It was crazy,” Hachimura told NCAA.com’s Andy Katz. “My teammates and coaches trust me, and Josh [Perkins] passed me the ball so I was like ‘okay I have to make it’ and I shot.”
Hachimura finished the game with 26 points and seven rebounds to lead his team out of a very close call. The Bulldogs will hope to carry that momentum into a number of tough upcoming contests. Gonzaga will travel to Phoenix for a tough neutral-site contest against the No. 7 Tennessee Volunteers Sunday afternoon before heading to the Tar Heel state to take on No. 14 North Carolina at the Dean Smith Center less than a week later.
The Bulldogs are just one of 11 teams in college basketball that remain undefeated this season. If …read more
Source:: Business Insider