Northwestern shouldn't let one unfortunate moment define a season

South Dakota State finally in the rear-view mirror, Gonzaga sophomore guard Josh Perkins walked inside Vivint Smart Home Arena to catch 10 minutes of the Northwestern-Vanderbilt game. While he had a right to be upset, Chris Collins had been flirting with a tech all game with some of his sideline protestations, and the refs rightfully had enough when he ran onto the court.

The Wildcats were the victims of a awful non-call Saturday by officials who missed an obvious goaltending violation on a shot by center Dererk Pardon.

Here's Collins' reaction upon hearing that the NCAA admitted the call was missed.

Nothing about the outcome can be changed now, though. Gonzaga now moves to play 4th seed West Virgina. "But it's an honest mistake". He made at least half his shots in 15 of the team's 36 games this season, but he also had 11 games in which he shot 25 percent or lower.

NU broke out of a six minute scoring drought with a bucket from Dererk Pardon aroud the midway point of the first half, but failed to break double digits until a driving layup from Scottie Lindsey made it 22-10 Gonzaga with six minutes left in the half.

"I thought we were shell-shocked early, " Collins said. "Coming here and just really competing was just awesome". So that's why for us we don't really view ourselves as a Cinderella story because we feel we've played a great schedule.

More news: Ryan working with more conservative lawmakers to pass health care bill

Collins credited the fans' energy for motivating his team down the stretch of the first-round game, when his players were exhausted and his team was trying to cling to a lead. We just came up a little bit too short. Northwestern (24-12), which was playing in its first NCAA tournament, rallied from a 21-point deficit in the second half but ultimately couldn't overcome a sluggish start on offense. "And they just had kind of a spirit of a victor, and we talked about that at halftime".

Leading Scorers: Gonzaga- Nigel Williams-Goss 20 pts, 8 rebs, 4 ast Jordan Mathews 14 pts, 7 rebs, Zach Collins 14 pts, 5 rebs.

The Bulldogs felt scrutiny all season as they climbed to the top ranking in the country and ripped off 29 straight wins before losing in their regular season finale to BYU.

"It's the tournament", Collins, who had 12 points and three blocks in the second half, said. Bonzie Colson led the Irish with 27 points and eight rebounds, including a career-high four 3-pointers. It's common this time of year - and throughout college sports - in the social media age, as TV cameras are quick to spotlight emotional fans in the stands and everybody online is immediately ready to make those camera shots go viral.

Given the history of Northwestern's men's basketball program, crying seemed an acceptable emotion for Saturday's heartbreaking loss to Gonzaga. The win moves WVU into the sweet sixteen in San Jose next week. For this to happen during my last year, for us to make it this far, the season we had, for everything to fall into place for my last year is a dream come true for me.

"We know we're a good team", Law said.

Edition: