PITTSBURGH, March 16 (UPI) -- Robert Sacre paced a hot shooting effort Thursday that sent Gonzaga coasting to a surprisingly easy 77-54 second-round NCAA tourney win over West Virginia.
The Bulldogs shot 56 percent from the field and made 9-of-17 from 3-point range to set up a third-round meeting with Ohio State Saturday.
Gonzaga, seeded seventh in the East region, held West Virginia scoreless for 6 minutes during the middle section of the first half. That allowed the Bulldogs to open a 17-point lead and the Mountaineers could never recover from what turned out to be the knockout punch.
West Virginia -- one of nine Big East teams in the tournament -- was the first to be eliminated from the event.
Sacre made 6-of-9 shots from the field and scored 14 points, as did Gary Bell. Kevin Pangos added 13 points for the Bulldogs (26-6).
Gary Browne led West Virginia (19-14) with 15 points. The Mountaineers made just 16 field goals in the entire game while shooting 32 percent.
Gonzaga has been in the NCAA tourney every year since 1999 and this is the fourth straight year the Bulldogs have won their opening game. They last won two games in the tournament in 2009 before losing in the regional semifinals to North Carolina.