DENVER -- A quick take on St. John's 86-71 loss to Gonzaga on Thursday evening at the Pepsi Center:
WHAT IT MEANS: St. John's, the No. 6 seed in the Southeast Region, loses its first NCAA tournament game in nine years, getting upset by the No. 11 seed, Gonzaga. St. John's finishes this season, its first under coach Steve Lavin, at 21-12. The Red Storm accomplished their one goal set at the beginning of the season -- making the Big Dance -- but after the season they had, and the many big wins they had, they will clearly be disappointed not winning a game here. Gonzaga also upset St. John's in their one previous NCAA tournament meeting, in 2000 -- the No. 10-seeded Zags picked off the No. 2-seeded Red Storm 82-76 in Tucson.
Gonzaga wins its 10th game in a row, and is now 25-9 on the season. The Zags are one of three double-digit seeds to advance today in Denver.
THE SKINNY: Both teams got off to a hot start -- St. John's led by as many as six very early (8-2), but a 12-0 Gonzaga run turned a 14-12 St. John's lead into a 24-14 deficit. The Zags maintained a double-digit lead for most of the rest of the half, leading by as many as 15, and 43-32 at the break. Gonzaga shot 15-for-26 in the first half (57.7 percent), and out-rebounded the Red Storm 21-8, including seven off the offensive glass.
Gonzaga's hot shooting continued in the second half, as the Zags buried their first five 3-point attempts after intermission. St. John's never got closer than eight points, in the first minute after the break. Gonzaga led by as many as 18, and essentially cruised to victory.
NUMBER CRUNCH: Gonzaga shot 28-for-52 from the field (53.8 percent), 9-for-15 from behind the 3-point line (60 percent), and 21-for-26 from the foul line (80.8 percent). But worst of all, the Zags slaughtered St. John's on the boards, 43-20. D.J. Kennedy -- St. John's leading rebounder, out with a torn ACL -- was clearly missed. But even he may not have made a difference against 7-footer Robert Sacre.
STAR POWER: It took a while for Dwight Hardy to get going, but he still finished with a team-high 26 points. Justin Brownlee (14 points), Paris Horne (11) and Dwayne Polee (12) were also in double-figures -- Polee a pleasant surprise, scoring 10 of his 12 in the second half.
For Gonzaga, Steven Gray had 16 points and Elias Harris had 15. But the star was Marquise Carter, who averaged 5.9 points per game coming in, but finished with 24 on Thursday night.
WHAT'S NEXT: Gonzaga will play No. 3 seed BYU on Saturday here in Denver. St. John's flies home to New York -- and nine seniors have played their final game for the Red Storm.