March Madness: Gonzaga Falls Short Again as the Favorite – The New York Times

March Madness: Gonzaga Falls Short Again as the Favorite – The New York Times
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Timme led Gonzaga with 25 points and 7 rebounds, and Holmgren added 11 points, 14 rebounds and 2 blocks, but they received insufficient help from their teammates.

“We needed Chet to be able to stay in there a little longer,” Few said of Holmgren, who was not among the three Gonzaga players brought to the postgame news conference.

The rims at the Chase Center were hardly as kind to Arkansas and Gonzaga as they are to the regular denizens of the arena — Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and the rest of the Golden State Warriors. For much of the night, 3-pointers clanked off the rims and runners rimmed off them. Neither teams shot free throws with anything resembling proficiency.

When Gonzaga found itself behind at halftime, 32-29, it was not an unfamiliar position in this tournament. The Zags led 16th-seeded Georgia State by only 4 points midway through the second half before winning in a rout. And they trailed Memphis by 12 points early in the second half before rallying for a narrow victory.

The Zags have uncharacteristically had trouble scoring in stretches.

The nation’s most efficient offense went nearly four minutes without scoring in the first half, which allowed Arkansas to recover from a 27-19 deficit, a stretch from which Gonzaga never recovered its form. A culprit has been spotty 3-point shooting. Chet Holmgren, a 43.8 percent 3-point shooter in the regular season, made just 2 of 16 3-pointers in Gonzaga’s five postseason games. Julian Strawther, who entered the tournament shooting 39.6 percent on 3-pointers, made his only 3-pointer of the tournament on Thursday and finished it 1 for 14.

“At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how great of a shooter you are, you are going to miss shots,” Holmgren said on Wednesday. “You can’t lose confidence. I get in the gym every day and work on my shots, so next time I shoot that shot I know it’s going in.”

Holmgren, who is expected to be among the top picks in the N.B.A. draft, had a more immediate problem against Arkansas — staying on the court.