Hot shooting start carries Oklahoma past Gonzaga 75-62
SEATTLE (AP) — Vionise Pierre-Louis had 17 points, nine rebounds and nine blocked shots and No. 6 seed Oklahoma used its early hot shooting to hold off 11th-seeded Gonzaga 75-62 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday.
Pierre-Louis controlled the interior throughout, making sure the Sooners' torrid shooting from behind the 3-point line in the first quarter withstood all of Gonzaga's charges. The Sooners (23-9) led by as many as 15 and watched Gonzaga (26-7) trim the deficit to five in the fourth quarter before holding on in the final minutes.
Oklahoma hit six 3-pointers and scored 29 points in the first quarter, a season-high in points for the opening 10 minutes.
Laura Stockton led Gonzaga with 14 points and Jill Barta added 13.
Gabbi Ortiz added 12 points and Maddie Manning had 10 for the Sooners, while Elle Tinkle scored 11 for the Bulldogs.
Down 13 at halftime, the Bulldogs pulled within nine after three quarters and cut the deficit to seven on Stockton's transition layup with 7:38 remaining, the closest they had been since late in the first half. After an Oklahoma miss, Tinkle scored on a drive to pull Gonzaga within five, but Gioya Carter's three-point play pushed the lead back to eight.
Twice more the Bulldogs pulled within five but the Sooners continued to answer and Manning's corner 3-pointer with 4:15 left gave Oklahoma a 67-57 lead. Gonzaga was unable to get closer than eight the rest of the way.
Oklahoma, averaging just over six made 3-pointers per game on the season, hit six 3s in the first quarter and eight in the first half, building a 39-26 lead at the break. Little was the main culprit from behind the arc, but Manning's first basket was a 3 with 1:37 left in the half and Derica Wyatt added another 3 in the final minute to give the Sooners a 13-point advantage.
Oklahoma also made Barta a non-factor in the first half. Barta had 37 in the West Coast Conference championship game against Saint Mary's, 22 of those coming in the first half. Barta was scoreless for the first 13 minutes and had just four points in the first half.
Gonzaga: The Bulldogs were unable to match their tournament run of two years ago when as a No. 11 seed they reached the Sweet 16. Gonzaga was 3 of 18 (17 percent) on 3-pointers after hitting 33 percent for the season.
Oklahoma: The Sooners are in the round of 32 for the third straight year and the 15th time since 2000.
Oklahoma will face either No. 3 seed Washington or No. 14 seed Montana State on Monday night.
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