Drew Timme recorded 32 points and 13 rebounds and Gonzaga used a 21-0 burst to pull away from pesky Georgia State and notch a 93-72 first-round victory on Thursday in West Regional play at Portland, Ore.
Chet Holmgren scored 19 points and matched career highs of 17 rebounds and seven blocked shots for the top-seeded Bulldogs (27-3), who received a fierce battle from the 16th-seeded Panthers over the first 27 minutes. Andrew Nembhard contributed 11 assists while Rasir Bolton and Anton Watson scored 10 points apiece for Gonzaga.
The Bulldogs will face ninth-seeded Memphis (22-10) in Saturday’s second round. The Tigers beat Boise State 64-53 earlier Thursday.
“There are going to be jitters,” Timme told TNT. “It’s the first game of March Madness, this is a big event, fans are back. It took everyone a minute to settle in. We just got back to doing what we do, which is Zag basketball. I couldn’t be more proud of our guys for handling the adversity.”
Corey Allen scored 16 points for Georgia State (18-11), which trailed by two at halftime. Jalen Thomas recorded 12 points and nine rebounds, Kane Williams also scored 12 points and Justin Roberts had 11 for the Panthers.
Georgia State lost leading rebounder Eliel Nsoseme (9.8 average) to a knee injury with 6:20 left in the first half. He watched the second half in street clothes from the bench.
Gonzaga shot 50.7 percent from the field but was just 5 of 18 from 3-point range. The Bulldogs owned a 54-41 rebounding edge.
Georgia State made just 32.9 percent of its shots and was 6 of 16 from behind the arc.
The Bulldogs couldn’t shake the Panthers before exerting control in the final 13 minutes.
Timme scored back-to-back baskets to give Gonzaga a 56-54 edge with 12:23 left and Holmgren followed with a three-point play.
Georgia State trailed by four when big man Kaleb Scott fouled out with 10:26 left. Not having Nsoseme and Scott left the Panthers unable to match up with Timme and Holmgren and the Zags took advantage while scoring the next 21 points.
Holmgren scored nine points and Timme added eight during the run as Gonzaga’s lead reached 83-58 with 5:19 left.
The lead topped out at 26 points.
Gonzaga led 35-33 at the break and expanded the lead to 45-39 on Timme’s layup with 17:29 remaining.
The Panthers answered with seven straight points, taking a one-point lead on Williams’ basket with 16:05 left.
Georgia State went ahead for the final time at 54-52 on Evan Johnson’s basket with 13:09 remaining.
Timme had 10 points in the first half for Gonzaga, but the Bulldogs missed 12 consecutive field-goal attempts during one stretch. The drought ended on Timme’s basket with 2:24 left.