Gonzaga forward Drew Timme has played in several big games during his four-year career with the Bulldogs.
Few were much bigger than when Gonzaga took out UCLA in Final Four back in 2021 in what was one of the greatest NCAA Tournament games ever.
Fast forward two years, and Timme’s collegiate career is coming to an end. He just wasn’t prepared for it to come to a culmination Thursday night against the aforementioned Bruins in Las Vegas.
These two west coast rivals headlined Thursday’s Sweet 16 action inside T-Mobile Arena. UCLA opened up a 46-33 lead at the half due to some absolutely spectacular shooting from Pac-12 Player of the Year Jaime Jaquez Jr.
But when things settled down after intermission, Gonzaga’s experience and talent took over. Meanwhile, UCLA went a full 11-plus minutes without scoring from the field.
At this same time, Drew Timme was absolutely dominating on both ends of the court. With UCLA refusing to double the 6-foot-10 forward, Timme had his way. It was an absolute scene inside T-Mobile Arena.
Doing this against a UCLA team that finished the regular season ranked No. 6 overall in points allowed is simply astounding.
After Gonzaga opened up a double-digit lead with under two minutes remaining, UCLA went on a furious run. That included Amari Bailey nailing a three-pointer with 13 seconds left to give the Bruins the lead.
Just when it looked like Gonzaga was done, star guard Julian Strawther rushed down the court for a long three-point attempt. What followed was complete insanity.
Dude pretty much hit that from the logo inside T-Mobile arena. March Madness, indeed.
Timme and Gonzaga ended up coming away with a thrilling 79-76 win to send the program to its fifth Elite 8 in nine years as Timme’s college career continues. Despite missing two crucial free throws down the stretch, Timme came up absolutely huge in this one. Gonzaga needed all of it, too.
Drew Timme stats (vs UCLA): 36 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists, 16-of-24 shooting
Related: Ranking all eight Sweet 16 games
Drew Timme’s signature performance sets stage for matchup with UConn
Saturday’s outing against the Huskies is going to be a matchup pitting different styles. We know full well that Gonzaga will continue to feed Timme throughout the game.
He will have the size advantage over the two UConn starting forwards in that of Adama Sanogo and Alex Karaban. If what we’ve seen from Timme throughout his NCAA Tournament career is any indication, he’ll be more than prepared to take over.
- Drew Timme stats (10 NCAA Tournament games): 23.3 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 3.7 APG
Gonzaga is now 121-12 in games that Timme has played throughout his career While UConn is coming off three consecutive blowout wins heading into the Elite 8, that experience and domination should favor Gonzaga.
What we saw from Drew Timme in an otherworldly performance against the UCLA Bruins Thursday night is any indication, the Zags will once again be heading to the Final Four. In the process, he’ll make his mark as one of the most impactful college basketball players in modern history.
The only thing standing in the way for Drew Timme and Co. is a UConn team playing its best basketball in nearly a decade.
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