Bishop Gorman’s Collins advances to Sweet 16 as Gonzaga wins 79-73

Zach Collins was massive down the stretch as the Bulldogs survived blowing a 22-point lead against Northwestern.

Gonzaga (34-1) will face West Virginia on Thursday in San Jose, Ca.

Collins was the main target on Zaga’s offense in the final few minutes. With former UNLV commit Nigel Williams-Goss running the point, Collins was difficult to control as the roll man in the pick and roll. He also hit two key free throws with 27.6 seconds left.

NWG led the way with 20 points, eight rebounds and four assists. The freshman Collins had 14, five rebounds and four big blocks. Cal-transfer Jordan Matthews had 14.

Collins was one of the main players in the most controversial play of the game. The 7-footer blocked a Wildcat shot with 4:54 left, but his hand was inside the rim. Northwestern coach Chris Collins saw it and flipped out. Instead of admitting their mistake the officials slapped a technical on the coach. A five-point lead got pushed to seven after two Williams-Goss free throw makes.

His regular season play, and performances in the tournament have surprised many. Collins was universally tabbed the third best prospect on Gorman’s big-man rich roster during the 2015-16 season. Fellow BG frontcourt players Stephen Zimmerman and Chase Jeter were both considered Top 15 recruits in the 2016 class. Collins was the third man in the Gaels’ big-man rotation.

Zimmerman lasted one year at UNLV, playing just 26 games averaging 10.5 ppg and 8.7 rpg. After one season, “Big Zimm” bolted for the NBA where he was the 41st pick in the NBA Draft. Jeter, now a sophomore a Duke, has averaged only 2.2 ppg and 2.2 rpg in 48 games. Collins, playing only 17.2 minutes per game this season, averaged 10.2 ppg and 5.7 rpg for the Zags.

Photo courtesy SB Nation

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Author: Steve Cofield

Host of Cofield & Co., and 3-6p PT slot since 2007. Native of New Jersey’s Jersey Shore. Went to Rutgers. Has worked for Yahoo! Sports, Sporting News Radio and SiriusXM. Las Vegas resident since 1996. Fan of Yankees, Nets, Jets and Rutgers. Hobbies include making soup, downing jalapeno beer, hooping it up and singing karaoke. Vocal influences include Gene Wilder and Sammy Davis Jr.

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