Zach Collins is the first McDonald’s All-American Mark Few has landed at Gonzaga in 18 years as the team’s head coach. On Saturday night, the freshman center made what was the most important shot of Few’s long tenure at the school.
With Gonzaga trailing 67-65 after an incredible 16-0 run by South Carolina, the Bulldogs needed something good to happen. Collins, who was having the best game of his collegiate career, got the ball and launched an ugly 3-pointer. The ball hit the heel of the rim, went completely dead and softly fell through the net. It ended the run and got the Zags back into things. They never trailed again and went on to win 77-73
That shot was what catapulted Gonzaga to its first national championship game. That ugly, random 3-pointer by a freshman center was what put Few and the Bulldogs one game away from glory.
One millimeter in any direction and that shot bounces out and falls harmlessly off the rim. Sometimes things are just meant to be. Gonzaga’s run to the NCAA championship game certainly feels that way.
Collins, who is projected to be a lottery pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, certainly played like it against South Carolina. He scored 14 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, had one assist and six blocks. He also hit what may have been the biggest shot in Gonzaga basketball history.