MOTSAG Pretend March Madness: West Region, Third Round

With the Sweet 16 completed only the Elite 8 remain. This is the part of the tournament where teams ride the momentum that they have built up in order to advance to the Final Four. In the West Region, only Gonzaga, Yale, BYU and San Diego State remain.

The top two seeds in the bracket remain on a collision course to advance and the lone double-digit seed Yale at #12 continues their storybook run into history. Can they upset the #1 Gonzaga Bulldogs? Or will they fall to a more talented and superior team? In the second matchup #2 San Diego State will face #6 BYU in order to advance further. Both teams are geared up and ready for the upcoming challenges.

First up, #1 Gonzaga versus #12 Yale. This contest was a surprising one as Yale comes out with their hair on fire. Eric Monroe leads the team in assists as he continues to find his shooters as they stay hot in the first half. Petrusev and Wooolridge weather the storm as they fight their way back just before halftime. With solid defense they go into the half down by six points with a little bit of momentum.

Going into the second half Gonzaga caught fire and never looked back. Yale did all they could to keep it close, but a barrage of three’s later, the other Bulldogs found themselves on the ropes. Monroe led a valiant charge, but the defense clamped on him and forced him into turnover after turnover. Atkinson was also wiped out of the game plan whenever he touched the ball, a second defender would double him and force a pass under duress. Gonzaga advances 71-64.

Next up, #2 San Diego State faces off against BYU and this was a game of the back and fourth variety! Jake Toolson led the charge with TJ Haws feeding him in both, space and in traffic. Turning great defense into offense, they got a little bit ahead of the slow starting Aztec team. In a game of runs, Malachi Flynn and Yanni Wetzell ignited the offense with a little defense to offense to ease make it a contest. In a barrage of well-timed blocks and timely three pointers they overtake the lead momentarily. Haws playing the role of the spoiler broke the 10-0 run with a feed to Toolson in the paint for an and-one play.

Momentum began to swell in BYU’s favor until a misplaced pass came on the heels of BYU’s 7-0 run where Flynn took it coast-to-coast for a layup the other way. Another crucial possession for BYU ended up becoming another key error on a charging call that went against them with the game being close at 56-57 with them having the lead. Wetzell inbounded the ball during the waning minutes of the contest. The clock is in the final 24 seconds of the game and Flynn brings it down. 5…4…3…a well timed pick on Haws and a clutch three from Flynn… San Diego State advances 59-57 in a heartbreaker for BYU.

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