Abdullahi Kuso shook Gonzaga out of its early funk with 8 straight points in the paint, then Josh Heytvelt (19 & 8), Jeremy Pargo (16) and Matt Bouldin (14 & 6 asts) took over with a balanced 49 combined points, with Derek Raivio (21 & 8 rbs) hitting five treys and 21 points.
It was a game of big leads, gritty comebacks and a battle of wills. The Tar Heels led by 12 early in the game, but the Zags came back to lead by 3 at the half. Then Gonzaga worked its lead to 16 before North Carolina whittled it down to a mere 2 points. But the Zags pulled ahead late again for the final margin.
Clutch Player: Pargo. Made big plays when GU needed them.
Star Player: Heytvelt. Scored every way possible, upstaged Tyler Hansbrough.
Breakout Player: Bouldin. Showed why Mark Few recruited him so hard last year, a complete game.
Sparkplug: Kuso. Got his team off the shnide and ignited GU's comeback.
Deadeye: Raivio. Despite some poor decision-making down the stretch, Derek was money from long range.
Pendo defends Hansbrough with Heytvelt winding up to jump and swat. Hansbrough was held to 9 points.
Pendo forces Terry to step on the baseline.
As assistant coach Tommy Lloyd looks on, Mallon and Pargo celebrate the win.
Realization sinks into the Tar Heel bench.
Kuso ignites his team early in the game.
Raivio drives here but was most effective from beyond the arc.
Heytvelt looks on as Mallon takes a good shot but Tar Heels defend well.
Quite possibly the Player of the Game, Pargo drives against Ty Lawson.
Gonzaga will play Butler on Friday at 4:00pm PST, ESPN2, in a battle of bulldogs.