Wiltjer, Gonzaga cruise past Iowa

Omaha, NE ( - There was no Round of 32 letdown for Gonzaga Sunday.

Kyle Wiltjer put that idea to rest early.

Wiltjer had 24 points on 10-of-12 shooting with seven rebounds as the second- seeded Bulldogs cruised to an 87-68 win over Iowa in third-round action from the South Region.

The Bulldogs had dropped their previous five games with a trip to the Sweet 16 on the line.

Gonzaga, the nation's most efficient offensive team (52.4 percent) during the regular season, made 12 of its first 16 shots and raced out to a 29-17 advantage. Wiltjer, who nailed his first three shots from beyond the arc and six from the field overall, netted 10 quick points during the Bulldogs' lightning fast start.

The Bulldogs (34-2) led by 17 at the break and were up by as many as 22 over the final 20 minutes, easily reaching its first regional semifinal since 2009.

Wiltjer's first miss didn't come until there was 9:03 remaining in the game. Gonzaga finished 61.5 percent (32-of-52) from the field and connected on 10- of-16 long distance shots.

"You have to have the confidence to shoot the next one. But tonight when you get on a roll and my teammates do such a good job of finding me, you just get more and more confident," Wiltjer said.

During the five-year Round of 32 stretch, Gonzaga lost to a pair of No. 1 seeds -- Syracuse (2010) and Arizona (2014) --, second-seeded Ohio State in 2012 and No. 3 seed BYU the year prior. The heartbreaker came in 2013 when the top-seeded Bulldogs were upset by ninth-seeded Wichita State, which reached the Final Four.

"There's no greater feeling than this, because I haven't been able to experience it," Gonzaga guard Kevin Pangos said. "Most of the guys in the locker room haven't, so for us to be able to get past this is definitely a great feeling."

Domantas Sabonis posted 18 points and nine rebounds off the bench, while Pangos added 16 points in the triumph.

"They have weapons any way you look at it," Iowa coach Fran McCaffery said. "You can trap the ball screen, they got shooters, they can throw it inside. They can drive the ball. They share the ball. They're willing passers."

Gonzaga will face 11th-seeded UCLA in the Sweet 16 Friday night in Houston. The Bulldogs beat the Bruins 87-74 in Los Angeles in December.

Jarrod Uthoff supplied 20 points and eight boards and Aaron White scored 19 points for seventh-seeded Iowa (22-12), which routed Davidson in the second round Friday night.

Iowa trimmed a 46-29 halftime deficit to 60-49 midway through the second period, but Gonzaga scored the next nine points to quell any chance of a comeback.

Pangos knocked down a left corner 3 to up the advantage back to 69-49 with 6:38 left and the Bulldogs were never threatened again.

Game Notes

The Bulldogs have reached the Sweet 16 just twice in their last 14 NCAA Tournaments ... Gonzaga dished out 20 assists on its 32 made field goals ... The Hawkeyes haven't reached the second weekend of an NCAA Tournament since 1999. Their win over Davidson was their first in the Big Dance since 2001.