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Despite being a higher seed, the Gonzaga Bulldogs had to travel across country to play the West Virginia Mountaineers...just 75 miles from their own gym. The home crowd was expected to give West Virginia an advantage in the opening-round game.
Gonzaga has learned one secret to playing on the road, though. Take an early lead and don't let the crowd become a factor.
Against West Virginia they took that approach to the extreme. They dominated the paint, played solid defense and were hitting outside shots.
The Bulldogs proved they deserved their at-large bid and seeding.
Gonzaga's center, senior Robert Sacre, had a simple message for his teammates before the game."Hit 'em, is all you've got to say. Hit 'em, be physical, let everything else work itself out. As long as you're physical, that's all that matters. Show that Gonzaga's not soft."
Gonzaga used a 16-1 run to separate from the Mountaineers and never looked back. They'll have a tough matchup on Saturday, squaring off against Big Ten co-champion Ohio State.