At halftime Saturday night, UCLA college basketball game. It just didn’t .to keep it close for ten more minutes and that they should then be able to crank up the pressure on unbeaten Gonzaga. The flawless combination created a masterpiece of a
AfterJuzang‘s basket with 3.3 seconds to go in overtime tied things up at 90, Jalen Suggs answered with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to send the unbeaten Bulldogs into their second national championship game, and the Bruins home to think about how close they came to adding another memorable chapter to the school’s rich history.
“When Johnny got the putback, I didn’t have a timeout left, so I was running at my guys to get their attention to trap the ball, and they got there late,” Bruins coach Mick Cronin said. “It’s not their fault because we trained them to get back because Gonzaga is so fast. Looking at the film, I was trying to get them to come up so he (Suggs) couldn’t get into that shot. Still, it was a bank shot from half-court.”
UCLA (22-10)this one slightly different than they had through their incredible tourney run that started in the First Four. The Bruins often traded baskets with Gonzaga (31-0), one of the nation’s most prolific scoring teams, and didn’t allow the Zags to go on one of their trademark runs.
The Bruins also kept things slow, deliberate, and tense.
It was almost enough.
Juzang finished with 29 shot was off in time. It was.the Bruins, becoming the first No. 11 seed to reach the championship game. Afterward, stunned UCLA players gathered around as the officials looked at a replay review to ensure the
“We went out fighting,” Juzang said. “We went out; there’s no better way; there are no regrets. Everybody fought to the last play; the last shot is the last.”
UCLA can take solace in doing something no other team did thisby forcing the high-scoring Zags into overtime. It just couldn’t close out Gonzaga to continue an incredible postseason run that included over Michigan State and Alabama, runaways against BYU and Abilene Christian, and holding off off top-seeded Michigan to join VCU as the only teams to advance from the First Four to the Final Four.
The Bruins were fighting for school pride, too.
Only seven Division I teams and four schools have been undefeated national champs. Only UCLA has done it more than once, celebrating perfect seasons in 1963-64, 1966-67, 1971-72, and 1972-73. The last team to accomplish the feat was the 1975-76 Indiana Hoosiers.
Since then, twoFour in Indianapolis and lost – UNLV to Duke in 1991 and Kentucky to Wisconsin in 2015. Gonzaga is the third,, and the Zags were in a dogfight. “Everybody is going to ask what I just told my team, so I’ll just tell you: I told them they have to let the last shot go,” Cronin said. “As much as they want to be beaten down, gutted, and miserable, they have to let it go because they’re winners. As a coach, all you can ask of your players is to give everything they’ve got.”