Houston, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - Gonzaga's shots weren't falling and UCLA cut what was once a double-digit deficit to one early in the second half.
It almost looked as if history would repeat itself, but Przemek Karnowski and Domantas Sabonis made sure the Bulldogs survived the Bruins this time.
Karnowski finished with 18 points, Sabonis scored 10 of his 12 in the second half, and second-seeded Gonzaga pulled away for a 74-62 win over the 11th- seeded Bruins in the semifinals of the South Region.
Gonzaga (35-2) advanced to the Elite Eight for the second time in its history and can reach its first Final Four by upending Duke on Sunday. The top-seeded Blue Devils upended Utah in the nightcap at NRG Stadium.
Karnowski, Sabonis and Kyle Wiltjer combined to pull down 27 rebounds for a dominant frontcourt that owned a 50-39 advantage on the glass. Byron Wesley chipped in with 14 points and Kevin Pangos added 10 for the victors.
"I thought the game was very physical, and I thought we showed that we can battle on the glass with everyone," Karnowski said.
Norman Powell scored 16 points on 19 shots for the Bruins (22-14), while Tony Parker totaled 16 points with 11 rebounds in a losing effort.
UCLA, after shooting 51.7 percent from 3-point range in tourney wins over SMU and UAB, went 3-for-13 from long distance and shot just 38.8 percent overall.
These programs met in a 2006 regional semifinal made famous by a late UCLA comeback that moved Gonzaga great Adam Morrison to tears.
There was only jubilation on Gonzaga's sideline Friday, though a brief moment of angst appeared when the Bruins scored the first six points of the second half to pull within 35-34.
Mark Few called a timeout, however, and his Bulldogs took over from there.
Gary Bell Jr. and Karnowski scored on the first two possessions coming out of the break to spark a 12-0 run that gave the WCC champs a double-digit lead it held the rest of the way.
"That's what really good teams do. They can withstand a run and respond, and I think you saw Gonzaga do that," UCLA head coach Steve Alford said. "They got pushed back and then they were able to push back on us."
With their outside shots not falling, the Bulldogs relied on Karnowski and Sabonis to finish it off. The pair combined for 12 straight Gonzaga points, including a Sabonis reverse layup off a gorgeous behind-the-back feed from Karnowski along the baseline. The bucket gave Gonzaga a 57-43 cushion thanks to UCLA missing 10-of-11 shots after cutting its deficit to one.
The margin never dipped below 11 over the final six minutes.
"We didn't play perfect tonight and probably didn't even play what we would consider really good...but we were tough and gritty and physical, and I think that's kind of how we've been all year," Few said. "I was proud of that."
Both teams combined for 19 straight misses during an ugly six-minute stretch in the first half. Gonzaga, the best shooting team in the country, was responsible for 11 of them, yet still led most of the way by getting to the foul line and taking care of the ball.
The Bulldogs went ahead by 11, 25-14, following a Wesley 3-pointer and took a 35-28 advantage into the break.
Gonzaga's only other Elite Eight appearance came in 1999 ... UCLA last reached the Elite Eight in 2008 ... The Bulldogs handed UCLA its only home loss this season in an 87-74 decision on Dec. 13 ... Gonzaga, which came in shooting 52.6 percent, only made 40.3 percent of its shots but turned it over just five times.