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Gonzaga holds off North Dakota State

Mar 21, 2015 - 5:47 AM Seattle, WA ( - Kyle Wiltjer had 23 points and Kevin Pangos scored 18 as Gonzaga held off pesky North Dakota State, 86-76, in a South Region second-round contest.

Making its 17th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance, the second-seeded Bulldogs received 13 points from Gary Bell Jr. and 11 from Przemek Karnowski.

Gonzaga (33-2), which set a school record for wins in a season, will play the seventh-seeded Iowa Hawkeyes Sunday. Iowa downed Davidson Friday night.

"It's just great to move on. Especially sitting there watching all those games transpire over the weekend and just how tough it was for everybody out there," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. "We knew this was going to be tough. But, again, these guys stepped up and made enough big plays down the stretch, especially on the offensive end to hold off a really, really courageous and bighearted opponent."

Dexter Werner scored a season-high 22 points and Lawrence Alexander had 19 for North Dakota State (23-10), which earned the Summit League's automatic bid into the tournament with a victory over rival South Dakota State, 57-56, in the league championship game.

Last year, the Bison defeated Oklahoma in overtime during the second round of the NCAA Tournament before being eliminated by San Diego State.

There would be no upset this time, even though the No. 15 seeded Bison made a strong case for one in the second half.

Werner's jumper had North Dakota State within 68-62 with nearly six minutes remaining, but the sophomore forward ran into Pangos during a made 3-pointer on the ensuing possession. Pangos hit the free throw.

That started an avalanche of points for the West Coast Conference champions, who used an 11-2 spurt to take control. Pangos buried a right wing jumper to conclude the push for a 79-64 difference with 3:17 remaining.

The Bison didn't get the margin under double digits the remainder of the game.

"They took a really good punch from us and still got us," Bison coach David Richman said. "I think that's a team that's got a chance to make a legit run here and go deep into this thing, especially when they have got all parts working together like they do normally."

North Dakota State made a trio of 3-point shots in the opening 1:36 before the Bulldogs caught fire. Karnowski's jumper capped a run of 12 straight Gonzaga points for a 24-13 difference. The Bulldogs led, 43-30, at the half.

Karnowski was accidentally poked in the left eye in the second half and went to the locker room briefly.

The Bison trimmed what was an 18-point deficit down to six a couple of times but ran out of momentum.

Game Notes

Iowa beat Gonzaga in the previous two meetings, but the teams haven't played each other since Dec. 23, 1985 ... The Bison, which received 13 points from Paul Miller and 10 from Kory Brown, shot 53.7 percent from the field to 51.7 percent for the Bulldogs ... Werner was 10-of-14, while Wiltjer finished 8- of-12 from the floor ... Gonzaga held a 24-5 edge in points off turnovers.