#1 nd goal throughout a long season, and we feel they are von carrie567 23.04.2019 09:17

SAN DIEGO -- Arms waving and legs churning, Arizona is racing back into the Sweet 16. The rest of the bracket should take notice of this one. If they play like this, the Wildcats are going to be awfully tough to beat. Overwhelming Gonzaga with its contest-everything defence, Arizona looked very much like the top seed in the West, blowing out the Bulldogs 84-61 on Sunday to reach the Sweet 16 for the third time in four years. "That Arizona team we saw tonight was as good a team as we have faced, that I can remember," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. "It was just too much for us tonight." Coming off a shaky NCAA tournament opener, Arizona (32-4) ended a wild first weekend of upsets and buzzer beaters with a display of domination. This was not the epic double-overtime game these teams played in the 2003 NCAA tournament. This was an eye-popping display of what one of the nations best teams can do when it gets rolling. The Wildcats overran Gonzaga (29-7) with their size, athleticism and quick hands to blow the eighth-seeded Bulldogs out of the bracket. Turning one of college basketballs most efficient teams on its head, Arizona scored 31 points of Gonzagas 21 turnovers -- 15 on steals -- and never gave the Zags a chance after racing out to a 21-point lead in the first half. Aaron Gordon had 18 points, six rebounds and six assists for Arizona. Fellow freshman Rondae Hollis-Jefferson also had 18 points and Nick Johnson finished with 17. Next up for Arizona is fourth-seeded San Diego State -- a team it beat in this same arena early in the season -- in the Sweet 16 just up the coast in Anaheim. "Tonight was one of our seasons best performances," Arizona coach Sean Miller said. "Obviously, you want to play well in the NCAA tournament and thats exactly what our team did tonight." Gonzaga has relied on its ability to control the game and take care of the ball during a run of 16 straight NCAA tournament appearances. Arizonas pressure ran the Zags ragged, leaving them trailing the Wildcats as they raced off to one layup after another. Przemek Karnowski scored 14 points and Kevin Pangos of Holland Landing, Ont., added 12 for Gonzaga, which hasnt reached the Sweet 16 since 2009. "We didnt do ourselves any favours," said Pangos, who kept playing after turning his ankle early in the game. "We let them feel pretty good about themselves. But they are a good team and they did speed it up a little bit." Arizona was jittery in its opener against Weber State, starting slow and allowing the Wildcats from Utah to claw their way back from a 21-point deficit in the second half to make it close. The first-game anxiety out of their system, the Wildcats played with confidence and plenty of energy against Gonzaga, sprinting up the floor after steals and defensive rebounds to set up easy shots in transition. Arizona made it look easy at times, dropping off passes for layups, flying in for alley-oops and spotting up for 3-pointers on the break. It was so good even Gordon, whose outside shot has been questioned, dropped in a 3-pointer. For good measure, he went in for what seems to become his signature move on the break, soaring up for a reverse dunk on an alley-oop from Johnson to put Arizona up 38-20. Gonzaga shot well against one of the nations best defences -- when it could get shots off. The Bulldogs struggled with Arizonas theyre-everywhere defence, playing catch-up on the break as the Wildcats snared passes and stripped dribblers for eight steals in the first half. Gonzaga had 11 turnovers that Arizona turned into 19 points for a 47-34 halftime lead that would have been more if the Bulldogs didnt make a late run. Arizona had one turnover and 13 assists on its 17 field goals -- 34 attempts -- with Gordon and Hollis-Jefferson combining to hit 8 of 9 shots while scoring 12 points each. "What we did today was push the tempo," Gordon said. "We noticed they werent getting back as well as they should and we just kept that going throughout the game." The second half started like this: two possessions by Gonzaga, two turnovers. Arizona kept the show going from there. Johnson had the defensive highlight of the half, tracking down David Stockton to block what appeared to be a breakaway layup and the ball went off a Gonzaga player, to boot. The offensive reel was highlighted by Gordon, who soared in for a rebound slam over two Gonzaga players. No chance for the Bulldogs and, if Arizona keeps playing like this, not much of one for anyone else. 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Basketball fans around the globe will be watching as Kobe Bryant makes his season debut - 240 days after tearing his left Achilles - against Toronto, a team he has used as his own personal punching bag.Sidney Crosby is the face of the NHL and hockey in Canada, so its only natural that hell be the countrys captain at next months Sochi Olympics. The Pittsburgh Penguins captain, who scored the gold-medal-winning overtime goal against the United States in Vancouver four years ago, got the nod to wear the "C" this time around. Jonathan Toews of the Chicago Blackhawks and Shea Weber of the Nashville Predators were named alternate captains, Hockey Canada announced Sunday morning. "Sidney, Jonathan and Shea have been leaders on the international stage in the past, as well as with their NHL teams," coach Mike Babcock said in a statement. "These three players will be at the forefront of our efforts in Sochi, but we are confident we have 25 players on our roster that will lead in their own way and allow our team to be successful." There will be no shortage of leadership in Sochi given the presence of six NHL captains, but it starts with Crosby. "Playing for Team Canada, playing in the Olympics is a great opportunity," Crosby told reporters at Penguins practice. "But being able to be named the captain is definitely an honour." Crosby was made the youngest captain in NHL history when he got the "C" for the Pittsburgh Penguins six and a half years ago. In 2009 he raised the Stanley Cup as captain. At the 2010 Olympics, Crosby was an alternate along with defenceman Chris Pronger and winger Jarome Iginla. The 26-year-old Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, native doesnt expect his mind-set to change much. Veteran defenceman Scott Niedermayer captained that team and said before his Hockey Hall of Fame induction in November that he had no doubt Crosby is ready to assume that role. "Hes very mature," Niedermayer said. "He was probably ready when he was 16. He was probably ready in 2010, and the thinking was hes going to have enough pressure on him just from who he is and things like that that he doesnt need one more thing to worry about, give it to some old guy thats just trying to figure things out out there. Im sure he would do very well." Toews seemed like the only other logical option, based on performing in 2010 and leading the Blackhawks to two Stanley Cups. Last week he acknowledged the possibility of being named captain. "Im ready for any role," Toews said in Montreal. "Last time, I played five, six, maybe seven minutes at the start of the tournament in Vancouver. By the end of it, the coaches had more confidence in me. They put me in more defensivve situations.dddddddddddd This time around wont be different. Whether Im captain -- or not -- whatever. Im going to Russia to win a gold medal like everyone else." This will be the second Olympics for most of the core, including the leadership group. "Honestly, it doesnt get old," Crosby said in Vancouver of just making the team. "That feeling doesnt get old. The appreciation and being proud to represent your country, its the same for everybody." Asked if he preferred "Captain Canada" over his current nickname of "Sid the Kid," Crosby said: "Ill let you guys worry about that." Ryan Smyth of the Edmonton Oilers has that moniker, and Crosby expects it to stick with the Hockey Canada mainstay despite this announcement. Russia already named Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings as captain. Its Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins for Slovakia and Tomas Plekanec of the Montreal Canadiens for the Czech Republic. The United States has yet to name its captain, though general manager David Poile singled out Ryan Suter, Zach Parise, Dustin Brown, Ryan Callahan and David Backes as the U.S. leadership group. The mens ice hockey tournament in Sochi begins Feb. 12. Canada opens against Norway on Feb. 13. Caroline Ouellette was named captain of Canadas womens team. Haley Wickenheiser will be a permanent alternate, while Jayna Hefford and Catherine Ward will rotate the second "A." "There is a tremendous amount of experience in our dressing room, and there is no shortage of qualified candidates to wear a letter," womens coach Kevin Dineen said in a statement. "The players we have selected as captain and alternates in Sochi have shown their dedication and commitment to the team and its end goal throughout a long season, and we feel they are the ideal choices to lead our team through the Olympic experience." Canadas womens team opens play Feb. 8 against Switzerland. Greg Westlake was named captain of Canadas sledge hockey team. Brad Bowden and Adam Dixon are the alternates. "This is the leadership team we have had in place since 2011, and we have the utmost confidence in them leading our team into Sochi," sledge team coach Mike Mondin said in a statement. "Greg, Brad and Adam have worn the Team Canada jersey with pride every time they have put it on, and have earned the right to wear a letter on the games biggest stage." -- With files from Kelsey Patterson in Montreal and Joshua Clipperton in Vancouver. ' ' '

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