Gonzaga vs. UCLA – Men’s College Basketball Game Recap – March 23, 2023

LAS VEGAS — Julian Strather hit a 3-pointer with 6 seconds left to answer UCLA’s Amari Bailey’s 3-pointer to give Gonzaga a 79-76 NCAA Tournament win over UCLA on Thursday night in the Sweet 16.

The Bruins (31-6), the No. 2 seed in the West, rallied from an eight-point deficit with 1:05 left in the final to take a 76-75 lead on Bailey’s 3-pointer with 12.2 seconds left.

The Zags (31-5) brought the ball down the floor and Strather banked in a 3-pointer, sending the Gonzaga fans to their feet.

Gonzaga’s Malachi Smith stole the ball from UCLA’s Tiger Campbell, but Strather hit just 1 of 2 free throws at the other end, giving the Bruins a chance.

Campbell’s 3-pointer hit the back of the rim at the buzzer to send the Zags off the bench to the Elite Eight against UConn on Saturday.

Strather’s shot, on a drop pass, was reminiscent of Villanova’s Kris Jenkins’ 2016 national championship dunk.

It was the second time Gonzaga had beaten UCLA on a last-second shot in the NCAA Tournament. Jalen Suggs finally crushed the Bruins, hitting a running 3-pointer at the buzzer to send the Jags to the 2021 national championship game.

A finish’s cheers began like a prizefight, with each team taking the plunge in a game of wild swings. UCLA led by 13 at the half, but Gonzaga led by 10 with 2:30 to play. UCLA then didn’t make a shot for more than 12 minutes, but took a 76-75 lead with 13 seconds left.

The Jacks were led by Drew Dimme, who scored 20 points and scored 36 points for his record 10th NCAA Tournament appearance.

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Gonzaga turned up the defensive pressure after UCLA’s hot-shooting first half and led by as many as eight, but Jaime Jacques Jr. hit a three-point play to cut it to 74-71 with 45 seconds left. Diem missed two free throws, setting up Bailey’s shot.

Fortunately for the Jacks, Strather was on the mark with his long 3-pointer, sending them to the Elite Eight for the fifth straight time under coach Mark Few.

Jaquez finished with 29 points and 11 rebounds.


AP March Madness coverage: https://apnews.com/hub/march-madness and bracket: https://apnews.com/hub/ncaa-mens-bracket and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top -25-College-Basketball-Poll and https://twitter.com/AP–Top25

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