TUCSON, Arizona (Ticker) -- Guess which school pulled the first upset of the NCAA Tournament? Gonzaga picked up right where it left off last March, receiving 31 points from Richie Frahm in a 77-66 victory over seventh seed Louisville in a West Region first-round contest.
The 10th-seeded Bulldogs (25-8), who reached the West Region final in 1999 before falling to eventual national champion Connecticut by just five points, will St. John's in the second round on Saturday.
"It is nice to get that first win," Gonzaga guard Matt Santangelo said. "It is a little weight off our shoulders. We felt that this was a team (Louisville) that if we came out and played well we would have success against. Now that we have one under our belt it feels better." Frahm, a senior from Battle Ground, Washington, seemed to hit from everywhere on the floor. He was 9-of-14 from the field, 4-of-8 from beyond the arc and 9-of-13 at the foul line as Gonzaga handed the Cardinals (19-12) their second straight first-round loss.
"When any team plays us one-on-one at any postion someone else can step up," Frahm said. "And they were doubling on Casey (Calvary). We were just running the court and trying to take advantage of our opportunities. Luckily they were just coming my way." "(Frahm) was tremendous tonight," Santangelo said. "He was out-running people down the floor, getting some easy looks and knocking them down. He was scoring in all facets." The game featured 20 lead changes, the last on Axel Dench's 3-pointer that gave the Bulldogs a 45-43 advantage with 14:39 remaining.
Louisville, which at times seemed to play out of control, went cold down the stretch, including a 3 1/2-minute period in which it did not score from the field. That allowed the Bulldogs to put together a 9-4 run featuring an alley-oop dunk by Calvary.
Frahm capped that burst by leaning in and throwing the ball off the glass to give Gonzaga a 62-54 lead with 5:13 to play. The Bulldogs would not score again from the floor until another dunk by Calvary with 19 seconds left, but they held on by making their foul shots.
Despite shooting 66 percent from the line as a team entering the night, Gonzaga went 13-of-16 in the final 4:49 as it improved to 4-2 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.
The first half was more like a track meet than a basketball game as both teams pushed the ball at every opportunity.
A layup by Ryan Floyd with 9:40 to before halftime gave Gonzaga a 23-21 lead, but Nate Johnson's layup ignited an 11-2 run as the Cardinals grabbed a 32-25 lead on Rashad Brooks' 3-pointer with just over six minutes to go in the half.
But the Bulldogs responded with a 9-1 run that began with back-to-back 3-pointers by Floyd and Frahm and ended with one by Santangelo that gave Gonzaga a 34-33 advantage. Five lead changes later, Louisville went to the intermission on top, 39-38.
Santangelo had 16 points and Dench added 14 for the Bulldogs, who connected on 56 percent (24-of-43) of their shots, including 8-of-16 from 3-point range.
Marques Maybin scored 21 points, Johnson 14 and Tony Williams 11 for Louisville, which shot 36 percent (24-of-66) and was a miserable 2-of-22 from 3-point range.
The opening 5:21 of the second half consisted of five more lead changes before Dench gave Gonzaga the lead for good.
Louisville, which has played in seven Final Fours, has not won an NCAA Tournament game since reaching the regional finals in 1997, when it fell to North Carolina.