TUCSON, Arizona (Ticker) -- The victory will go down as an upset. But for Gonzaga, this is nothing new.
Matt Santangelo scored eight of Gonzaga's final 13 points as the 10th-seeded Bulldogs advanced to the "Sweet 16" for the second consecutive season with an 82-76 victory over No. 2 St. John's in a West Region contest.
"We had success against their zone and made them go man," Santangelo said. "That opened up the perimeter. I just stepped up and knocked down some shots." Gonzaga led by five with 1:46 to go before Santangelo buried a 3-pointer from the right corner to give the Bulldogs (25-8) their biggest advantage of the contest at 76-68 with 41 seconds remaining.
Erick Barkley drained a 3-pointer with 17 seconds left to pull the Red Storm (25-8) within 79-76, but Santangelo hit 1-of-2 free throws and Casey Calvary converted two attempts at the line to account for the final margin.
"I'm just so happy for these kids," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. "They've worked so hard throughout their entire basketball careers. I couldn't be more proud of a group of kids." Barkley finished with 21 points for St. John's, which joined top-seeded Arizona and No. 3 Oklahoma as upset victims in the West Region today.
Last season, the Bulldogs -- also as a 10th seed in the West Region -- bounced second-seeded Stanford to reach to the "Sweet 16" before falling to eventual national champion Connecticut in the regional final.
Gonzaga will battle sixth-seeded Purdue in Thursday's regional semifinal in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The Bulldogs trailed 36-33 to start the second half and went on a 7-2 burst to take their first lead of the contest at 40-39 with 17:50 remaining after a 3-pointer by Ryan Floyd.
The lead changed hands six times and was tied on three occasions before Mark Spink started a 9-2 run as Gonzaga took the lead for good. Calvary capped the burst adding a pair of free throws to give the Bulldogs a 63-56 advantage with 6:02 to go.
Before Santangelo's devastating 3-pointer, the Red Storm narrowed the deficit to 67-64 on an emphatic dunk from Lavor Postell with 3:25 left.
St. John's controlled the action in the first half, mostly because of second-chance shots. The Red Storm scored 10 points on offensive putbacks but allowed the Bulldogs back into the game by sending them to the free throw line 12 times in the opening half and by going 1-of-8 from behind the arc.
A key for Gonzaga all season has been its ability to drain the 3-point shot. Tonight was no different as the Bulldogs drained 9-of-22 from beyond the arc, with Santangelo hitting on six of his 10.
Axel Dench added 17 points for Gonzaga, which shot 57 percent from the field in the second half and held a 38-34 rebounding edge.
Anthony Glover scored 18 points and Postell recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds for the Red Storm, who shot 47 percent from the field, but were only 12-of-21 from the free throw line.
This marks the first time since 1992 that the two top seeds in one region did not make at least the regional semifinals. Kansas and Southern California were bounced in the second round of the Midwest Region that year.
St. John's won the Big East Conference championship for the first time since 1986, but just like that year, was bounced from the NCAA Tournament in the second round.