Paradise Island, Bahamas — Mark Few knows his Gonzaga team is banged up as its fights through the Battle 4 Atlantis. So far, at least, the eighth-ranked Bulldogs have done enough to earn a trip to the tournament’s championship game regardless.
Drew Timme hit a free throw with 20.6 seconds left in overtime and Gonzaga survived Payton Pritchard’s shot for the win to beat No. 11 Oregon 73-72 on Thursday.
It was hardly a highlight-reel type of game for Gonzaga (8-0). The Bulldogs blew a 17-point first-half lead. They shot just 29 percent in the second half. They used just seven players in a game that saw two highly ranked teams battling in a tense fight to the horn — both in regulation and overtime.
“You always wonder with every team: what is it really going be like when your backs are pressed up against the wall and they’ve got hands on you?” Few said. “They responded terrifically, as good as any of our teams quite frankly.”
Gonzaga sealed the win when Pritchard missed a jumper against Ryan Woolridge and Gonzaga’s Filip Petrusev tied up the rebound during a tussle in the paint. The possession arrow favored the Zags with 0.2 seconds left, allowing them to secure the win by inbounding to Joel Ayayi to kill the last of the clock.
That came after Gonzaga seemed on the brink of victory in regulation after a pair of huge 3-pointers from Corey Kispert, then had a missed 3 for the win from Killian Tillie just before the horn.
Petrusev had 22 points and 15 rebounds for Gonzaga, which blew a 24-7 lead in a matchup of neighboring-state programs playing three time zones away from their Pacific Northwest campuses.
Pritchard finished with 17 points to lead the Ducks (6-1), who erased a huge deficit for the second time in as many days — only this time in a losing effort.
It was less than 24 hours earlier that Oregon completed a comeback from 19 down in the second half to hold off Myles Powell and No. 13 Seton Hall in a thriller to end the tournament’s first day. Afterward, coach Dana Altman expressed concern about the Ducks having a short turnaround to the afternoon game after expending so much energy rallying past the Pirates.
His concerns seemed justified when Oregon found itself in another hole right from the tip, making just 3 of 14 shots while Gonzaga ran out to a 24-7 lead.
But Oregon cut into the gap by halftime, then took its first lead on Pritchard’s 3 over Kispert at the 11:51 mark of the second half.
Oregon shot just 34 percent for the game.
“Our guys battled hard after a bad start,” Altman said. “It’s on me to get them moving the ball better. It’s on me to get them in better sets. … Our offense has got to be much more efficient than we showed tonight.”
Big Ten men
Iowa 72, No. 12 Texas Tech 61: At Las Vegas, Jordan Bohannon had 20 points and six assists, Luka Garza added 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Iowa held off Texas Tech in the third round of the Las Vegas Invitational.
Iowa (5-1) will play in the championship game Friday night against San Diego State or Creighton.
Joe Wieskamp had 16 points and six rebounds for the Hawkeyes, and CJ Fredrick scored 10. His 3-pointer off a broken play as the shot clock expired put Iowa up 64-59 with 1:29 left. He followed that up with two free throws with 1:07 remaining to put it away.
Chris Clarke had 11 points and 10 rebounds off the bench for Texas Tech (5-1), which lost Big 12 leading scorer Jahmi’us Ramsey to a leg injury with 10:06 to play. He finished with seven points.
► No. 5 Maryland 76, Temple 69: At Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Anthony Cowan Jr. scored five of his career-high 30 points in the final three minutes, helping No. 5 Maryland overcome a slow start and beat in the opening game of the Orlando Invitational.
Eric Ayala had 13 points and Jalen Smith finished with 12 points and nine rebounds for the Terrapins (6-0), who trailed by as many as nine in the first half. Cowan put them ahead for good with a long 3-pointer and added two free throws in the closing seconds for a five-point lead.
Ayala also came up big down the stretch with a 3-pointer, two free throws and a driving layup in the final 1:53. Smith capped the win — Maryland’s first by less than 18 points — with two free throws that gave the Terps their biggest lead of the game with 2 seconds remaining.
Alani Moore II led Temple (4-1) with 22 points. J.P. Moorman II had 14 points and nine rebounds, while Owls leading scorer Nate Pierre-Louis was limited to three points — nearly 13 below his average — on 0-for-7 shooting and 3-for-4 on free throws.