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Sports >  Gonzaga basketball

Recap and highlights: Jalen Suggs’ buzzer-beater pushes Gonzaga past UCLA, into national championship game

UPDATED: Sat., April 3, 2021

Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs (1) celebrates making the game winning basket against UCLA during overtime in a men's Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament semifinal game, Saturday, April 3, 2021, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Gonzaga won 93-90.  (Associated Press)
Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs (1) celebrates making the game winning basket against UCLA during overtime in a men's Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament semifinal game, Saturday, April 3, 2021, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Gonzaga won 93-90. (Associated Press)

INDIANAPOLIS — Gonzaga’s run in the NCAA Tournament encountered its biggest challenge yet in the Final Four.

Jalen Suggs and the Bulldogs didn’t flinch.

Drew Timme scored 25 points and Suggs knocked down a 3-pointer off the backboard as the buzzer sounded in overtime to beat UCLA 93-90, helping the Zags protect their undefeated and record and punch a ticket to the school’s second national championship game.

Gonzaga (31-0), the tournament’s top overall seed, will meet Baylor (27-2), the No. 1 seed in the South Region, at 6 p.m. PT Monday in Indianapolis. The national championship game will be televised on CBS.

The teams that spent most of the 2020-21 season ranked No. 1 and 2 in the regular-season poll were scheduled to meet on Dec. 5 in Indianapolis, but the game was canceled hours before tipoff after two members of Gonzaga’s traveling party tested positive for COVID-19. Baylor advanced to the championship game after a resounding 78-59 win over second-seeded Houston in Saturday’s early game.

Timme went 11 of 15 from the field and had his fourth consecutive 20-plus point game in the tournament, Joel Ayayi had 22 points for Gonzaga and Suggs capped a 16-point outing with the game’s winning shot. Corey Kispert scored 15 points and Andrew Nembhard contributed 11, knocking down a clutch 3-pointer of his own in the extra period.

The Bulldogs overcame a 29-point outing from Johnny Juzang, who entered Saturday’s game as the tournament’s leading scorer. Jaime Jaquez Jr. had 19 points, Tyger Campbell scored 17 and Cody Riley added 14 to go with 10 rebounds for the Bruins.

UCLA’s offense surged early and the Bruins went into halftime shooting 57% from both the field (15 of 26) and three-point line (57%). Mick Cronin’s team led by as many as six points through the first 20 minutes and threatened to hand Gonzaga just its fourth halftime deficit of the season.

But Jalen Suggs connected on an elbow 3-pointer and Kispert made a jumper with four seconds remaining to give the Bulldogs a 45-44 advantage. Gonzaga countered UCLA’s strong shooting half with one of its own, making 20 of 35 from the field (57%) and 4 of 11 (36%) from beyond the arc.

Both teams encountered foul trouble in the second half. UCLA’s Jules Bernard picked up his fourth on the first possession and Gonzaga’s Timme came out for a few minutes midway through the half after picking up his third. The Bulldogs’ Ayayi and Suggs spent a good portion of the half with three fouls each.

Gonzaga built its lead to seven points in the second half on a second-chance, stepback jumper from Andrew Nembhard, but Campbell had the next four UCLA points and the Bruins eventually pulled back ahead on Juzang’s jumper. Kispert knocked down a 3-pointer to give the Zags a one-point lead at 75-74, but UCLA fans erupted on the next possession as Juzang knocked down a 3-pointer to make it a two-point Bruins lead.

GU’s Suggs made a crucial block on UCLA’s Riley with two minutes left, but the 6-foot-9 forward returned the favor a few possessions later, denying the Bulldogs a chance to take a lead within the final minute. Juzang was whistled for a charge on UCLA’s final possession in regulation, sending the game to overtime.

Timme set the tone of Gonzaga in overtime, scoring four straight points to make it an 87-83 lead. Riley got a baseline jumper to fall before Nembhard stepped back for a 3-pointer from the top of the arc to make it a five-point lead, Jaquez Jr. hit a 3 for UCLA to cut the deficit to 90-88 and Juzang made a layup to knot the score at 90-90 with three seconds left.

Suggs pushed the ball up the floor on the final possession and the GU freshman released his shot a few feet inside the half-court line just before the buzzer sounded and watched the ball ricochet off the backcourt before dropping through the net.

March Madness / YouTube

BOX SCORE

 

First half

14:38 – UCLA 10, Gonzaga 9: Jaime Jaquez Jr. has four points and the Bruins lead at the first media timeout.

Gonzaga jumped out to a 7-4 lead behind seven points from Joel Ayayi.

Jaquez led the UCLA charge with four of the Bruins next six points.

UCLA is shooting 57.1% and has no points in the paint. Gonzaga is shooting 50.0%

10:55 – UCLA 19, Gonzaga 15: The Bruins lead by four behind six points from Jaime Jaquez Jr.

Johnny Juzang has five points and Tyger Campbell has four for UCLA, which is shooting 7 of 14 from the field.

Joel Ayayi leads Gonzaga with seven points.

7:57 – UCLA 27, Gonzaga 25: The Bruins lead is two as they have made six of their last seven shot attempts.

Johnny Juzang leads UCLA with eight points on 3-of-3 shooting. The Bruins are 10 of 18 from the field and 3 of 5 from 3-point range.

Joel Ayayi has 13 points to lead Gonzaga. Ayayi is 5-of-5 shooting and 2-of-2 from 3, but has been called for two fouls.

3:41 – UCLA 36, Gonzaga 34: The Bulldogs trim the Bruins’ lead to two and UCLA calls its first timeout.

UCLA had built a 36-30 edge, its largest of the game, before Gonzaga got baskets from Joel Ayayi and Drew Timme on consecutive possessions.

Johnny Juzang leads UCLA with 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting. The Bruins are 13 of 22 from the field and have made nine of their last 11.

Ayayi leads Gonzaga with 15 points. The Zags are 13-of-23 from the field.

Halftime

Gonzaga 45, UCLA 44: The Bulldogs take a one-point lead over the Bruins into the halftime break behind 16 points from Joel Ayayi.

Ayayi is 6 of 6 from the field and 2 of 2 from 3-point range. The junior’s only miss has come at the free-throw line, where he is 2 of 3. Gonzaga is shooting 60.7% (17 of 28) and 4 of 8 from 3.

Johnny Juzang has scored 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting to lead UCLA. The Bruins have also shot well, at 57.7% (15 of 26) from the field and 4 of 7 from 3.

Drew Timme has scored eight points for Gonzaga. Jalen Suggs and Corey Kispert have each added seven. 

Tyger Campbell has scored nine points for UCLA and Jaime Jaquez Jr. has added eight.

Gonzaga got out to a 7-4 lead behind seven points from Ayayi but UCLA controlled the tempo for most of the half. The Bruins built a 36-30 lead with 4:35 to go before baskets from Ayayi and Timme sparked a 15-8 GU run to close the half. Kispert’s basket with 4 seconds left gave the Zags their first lead since 8:33 left.

Both teams are dealing with foul trouble. Timme and Ayayi each have two fouls for the Zags. Jules Bernard has three fouls and Campbell and Jaquez each have two for the Bruins.

Second half

14:52 – Gonzaga 52, UCLA 52: The Bulldogs and Bruins are tied at the first media timeout of the second half.

Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Cody Riley each have four points in the half for the Bruins. Jaquez is up to 12 points in the game.

Drew Timme has four points for the Zags in the half. He has 12 points and three rebounds.

UCLA holds a 21-15 edge on the boards.

12:08 – Gonzaga 61, UCLA 57: Joel Ayayi has 20 points and the Bulldogs have their biggest lead on the Bruins.

UCLA’s Cody Riley may be called for flagrant foul while battling for a rebound.

7:25 – Gonzaga 69, UCLA 67: The Bulldogs have made six of their last eight shot attempts and lead by two.

Joel Ayayi has scored 20 points to lead the Zags. Drew Timme has 17 points and Jalen Suggs has 11.

Johnny Juzang has scored 19 points for UCLA on 8-of-12 shooting. Tyger Campbell has added 15 points and Jaime Jaquez Jr. has 14.

The Bruins Cody Riley was called for flagrant foul when he was called for hook-and-hold while boxing out for a rebound.

Corey Kispert has nine points for Gonzaga, which is shooting 60%.

6:04 – UCLA 71, Gonzaga 70: Johnny Juzang has scored 21 points and the Bruins lead at the under-8 media timeout.

The Zags haven’t made a field goal in 2:37.

3:54 – Gonzaga 75, UCLA 74: A 3-pointer from Corey Kispert and a shot clock violation on the Bruins has the Bulldogs with a one-point lead at the under-4 media timeout.

Joel Ayayi has scored 22 points to lead Gonzaga. Johnny Juzang has 22 to lead UCLA.

Gonzaga’s Drew Timme has four fouls. 

2:18 – Gonzaga 77, UCLA 77: After a Jalen Suggs basket answers a Johnny Juzang 3-pointer, the Bruins call a timeout.

Juzang has 25 points.

0:54 – Gonzaga 81, UCLA 79: A Corey Kispert offensive rebound and put back gives the Zags a two-point lead and UCLA calls a timeout.

Jalen Suggs made an great play to block a dunk attempt and then assist a Drew Timme dunk on the other end.

0:54 – Gonzaga 81, UCLA 79: A Corey Kispert offensive rebound and put back gives the Zags a two-point lead and UCLA calls a timeout.

Gonzaga 81, UCLA 81: The Bulldogs and Bruins are headed to overtime after Gonzaga is unable to get a shot off before the buzzer.

UCLA had a chance to take the lead, but Gonzaga’s Drew Timme drew a charge on Johnny Juzang.

Overtime

3:13 – Gonzaga 87, UCLA 83: Drew Timme has six points in overtime and the Bulldogs lead by four.

0:57 – Gonzaga 90, UCLA 85: A step-back 3-pointer by Andrew Nembhard give the Bulldogs a five-point lead.

Starting 5

Pregame

Individual leaders

POINTS PPG FG% FT%
Johnny Juzang (UCLA) 15.5 42.9 90.2
Drew Timme (GU) 19.0 65.0 69.5
REBOUNDS RPG DRPG ORPG
Jaime Jaquez Jr. (UCLA) 6.1 4.2 1.9
Drew Timme (GU) 7.2 4.8 2.4
ASSISTS APG TOPG MPG
Tyger Campbell (UCLA) 5.3 1.9 33.6
Jalen Suggs (GU) 4.5 3.0 28.4

Team Stats

  UCLA Gonzaga
Points 72.9 91.6
Points allowed 63.2 64.3
Field goal pct. 45.8 54.9
Rebounds 35.0 38.0
Assists 13.4 18.6
Blocks 2.8 2.8
Steals 5.0 8.1
Streak Won 5 Won 30

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