Originally created 03/19/00

Gonzaga upsets St. John's



TUCSON, Ariz. -- Those tournament darlings from Gonzaga sure aren't one-year wonders.

The Bulldogs advanced to the NCAA regional semifinals for the second straight year, stunning second-seeded St. John's 82-76 on Saturday night behind 26 points from Matt Santangelo.

Gonzaga, which made an amazing run to the West Regional final a year ago as the No. 10 seed, is one game away from matching that performance.

The Bulldogs (26-8) will play sixth-seeded Purdue, which beat No. 3 Oklahoma 66-62 earlier Saturday in a wide-open Western Regional. The top three seeds all fell Saturday, with Wisconsin beating No. 1 Arizona 66-59 in Salt Lake City.

Coach Mark Few hugged his players, who gathered at midcourt after the final buzzer, and they waved to their fans who traveled all the way from Spokane, Wash., for the weekend.

But after having toppled No. 2 seed Stanford a year ago, the Bulldogs didn't stage a wild celebration that many lower-seeded teams do after a major upset.

St. John's (25-8), with its highest seeding since being a No. 1 in the West in 1986, finished a turmoil-ridden season with a disappointing loss.

The Red Storm overcame a pair of suspensions to leading scorer Erick Barkley and an investigation just this week into Barkley and teammate Lavor Postell.

But St. John's couldn't overcome Gonzaga's efficient offense and effective zone defense that kept the Red Storm at bay.

Santangelo added five assists and controlled the ball against a swarming St. John's press. After committing 24 turnovers in a first-round win over Louisville, Gonzaga had just 10 against the Red Storm.

Axel Dench added 17 points for Gonzaga, Casey Calvary had 13 and Richie Frahm scored 10, all in the second half.

Barkley led St. John's with 21 points and Anthony Glover added 18. Bootsy Thornton, who had topped 20 points in seven of his last nine games, was held to 12 on 3-of-13 shooting.

The turmoil hadn't affected Barkley or St. John's, which had won 12 of 13 games since the first suspension on Feb. 3 before falling to Gonzaga.

Barkley hit a 3-pointer to tie it at 54 with 10:19 left. But he missed two free throws that could have given St. John's the lead two minutes later.

Gonzaga went on a 9-2 run to take the lead for good, with Santangelo's 3-pointer as the shot clock wound down making it 59-54.

"I just stepped up and knocked down some shots," he said.

The Red Storm got off to a quick start in the first half and looked like they would make it back to the round of 16 for the second straight year.

They held Gonzaga's two leading scorers -- Frahm and Calvary -- to just one point and led 34-25 on a driving layup off the glass by Barkley with 4:52 to play.

The Bulldogs then went on a 8-2 run to end the half, highlighted by Mark Spink's flying dunk over Chudney Gray.