RECAP: No. 1 Gonzaga cruises over Norfolk State

Mar 20, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Drew Timme (2) blocks a shot by Norfolk State Spartans guard Jalen Hawkins (24) during the first half in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Corey Kispert made six 3-pointers as part of a 23-point effort to lead top-ranked Gonzaga to a 98-55 victory over 16th-seeded Norfolk State on Saturday night in NCAA Tournament West region play at Indianapolis.

Anton Watson added 17 points on 7-of-7 shooting to help the Bulldogs (27-0) record their 31st straight win. Watson also had seven rebounds, four assists and three steals.

Gonzaga continues pursuit of its first national title when it faces eighth-seeded Oklahoma (16-10) in the second round on Monday.

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Joel Ayayi added 15 points and nine rebounds and Drew Timme had 10 points for Gonzaga, which shot 55.7 percent from the field and made 14 of 27 3-point attempts. The Bulldogs outrebounded the Spartans 45-22 and led by as many as 49 points while notching their 24th consecutive double-digit victory.

Devante Carter scored 12 points but was just 4-of-17 shooting for Norfolk State (17-8), which had a seven-game winning streak snapped. Kyonze Chavis also tallied 12 points and had four steals for the Spartans, who dropped to 2-2 all-time in NCAA Tournament play.

Norfolk State shot 30.6 percent from the field and hit 7 of 21 from 3-point range.

The Spartans hung with the Bulldogs for the first seven-plus minutes and held an 11-10 lead after a basket by Kashaun Hicks with 12:41 left in the first half.

Watson answered with three consecutive baskets and Aaron Cook and Kispert followed with 3-pointers during a 12-0 surge that gave Gonzaga an 11-point lead with 9:40 remaining.

The Spartans were within 24-16 after a three-point play by Jalen Hawkins with 8:33 left. But Ayayi responded with a 3-pointer to jumpstart a 16-2 push as the Bulldogs elevated the lead to 40-18 with 4:15 remaining.

The Zags held a 43-23 halftime lead behind Kispert’s 15 points. But they turned things up a notch early in the second half with a 13-0 surge that was capped by Kispert’s layup to make it 61-27 with 13:07 left.

Watson’s corner 3-pointer pushed the margin to 40 at 72-32 with 9:25 remaining and Gonzaga cruised to the finish.

–Field Level Media