Epic dunk plays into Gonzaga's win against South Dakota State

No. 1 GONZAGA (32-1) vs.

Defense has been significant for Gonzaga throughout the season, something that bears out by the fact that it has held opponents to just 61.2 points per game, which ranks seventh in the nation. Probably not. But the second half of this game doesn't have me to anxious that the Zags are going to come out and lay an egg. South Dakota was expected to win and earn that automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, but the Jackrabbits came to play.

KXLY 4's Will Sherratt and Keith Osso have reaction from the locker room after the win. Though the Tigers have more scoring depth and Mike Davis runs a more conservative system, they also use offensive pressure to win games at the line.

The Gonzaga Bulldogs are having arguably one of their best seasons in school history. In any case, sometimes we get good games because the schedule-makers mess up.

GU started 1 of 3 from the field and South Dakota State jumped up to a quick 8-2 lead, which was momentarily quelled by early buckets from Johnathan Williams and Nigel Williams-Goss.

Daum can't do it alone if South Dakota State hopes to achieve a historic upset. OU won by 10 two years ago in a game played in Norman, and by three points a year ago. Jordan Mathews scored 10 of his 16 points in the second half to pace the Zags, while Przemek Karnowski, Zach Collins and Josh Perkins scored 10 points apiece. We'll take the points.

From there, the West Coast Conference's top team took control. That might work in the first round, but Gonzaga will need to step it up offensively as they get into the later rounds.

That 1-16 game, someone can have that from here on out. They just had the look of a team like that.

"You think we can rewind and get a do-over on that period?" "It's not going to be easy, and we'll have to meet a lot of challenges".

Williams threw down another vicious slam with 12:43 left as Gonzaga ran its lead to double-digits at 48-33 while holding the Jackrabbits scoreless for just over four minutes midway through the half. Collins leads the team in blocks (1.6 bpg) and also is a reliable scorer (10.2 ppg) and rebounder (5.7 rpg).

We're getting ahead of ourselves (but not too far ahead of ourselves; that's for a few spots later), but should the Bears and Mustangs meet in the second round, it could be as rugged and bruising a battle as the mascots' names suggest.

The relentless Mountaineers, who thrive on scrappy defensive pressure, have made the tournament three years in a row under Coach Bob Huggins.

Gonzaga: Faces the victor of No. 8 Northwestern and No. 9 Vanderbilt on Saturday.