By David Krueger Herald Writer
Former Archbishop Murphy star Zach Gordon has gone from Mill Creek to March Madness.
The 2012 graduate who averaged 13.1 points and 8.7 rebounds during his senior season for the Wildcats, is now a member of a Cal Poly team that faces Wichita State today in the second round of the NCAA basketball tournament.
“It’s been a dream come true,” Gordon said. “Ever since I played basketball I wanted to make it to the NCAA tournament and winning the (first round) game last night. I’ve loved every minute of it.”
Cal Poly plays Wichita State today at 4:10 p.m. on CBS.
The Mustangs edged Cal State Northridge 61-59 to win the Big West Tournament last Saturday and clinch a spot in the NCAA tournament. Cal Poly (14-19 overall) won its First Four game against Texas Southern 81-69 last Wednesday continue to the round of 64. Gordon, a forward for the Mustangs, played 16 minutes in the contest, finishing with four points and four rebounds.
“It’s been pretty much a roller coaster ride the past week,” Gordon said. “Coming out and playing Texas Southern and then coming down (to St. Louis Tuesday) night. It’s been crazy.
“Right now it’s kind of hectic.”
In his sophomore season, Gordon has started five games and averaged about 10 minutes per contest. He’s a key role player for a Cal Poly team that won the Big West tournament as a No. 7 seed. The victory earned the Mustangs a spot in the opening round of the NCAA tournament, which had a somewhat grander ambiance than Cal Poly was used to going into the game.
“It’s very electric,” Gordon said. “It’s a lot different. Our gym holds about 3,100 people in it and we usually get around that in the season. But I think the number at the end of the game against Texas Southern there was about 10-to-15,000 people. It’s ridiculous. I’m very excited. It’s a whole new atmosphere.”
The win over Texas Southern set up today’s showdown with undefeated Wichita State (34-0). The 16-seeded Mustangs, who have won four games in a row, play the Shockers in St. Louis at the Scottrade Center at 4:10 p.m. as Cal Poly continues its first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament.
“To us, they’re just another team,” Gordon said. “We’ve got to prepare for them just as we’ve prepared for Texas Southern; just as we prepared for each conference team throughout the year.”
Aside from being March Madness, it’s finals week at Cal Poly, adding to Gordon’s current tasks. The Mustang players have been in touch with professors and administrators to discuss taking finals when their postseason run ends.
Although, Cal Poly is hoping that isn’t for a bit longer.
“For me it’s been basketball and school these past couple weeks,” Gordon said. “Since we’re on the tournament grind teachers and administration have been emailing back and forth. Being a student athlete, we stay true to that role.”