Jalen Suggs’ OT buzzer-beater lifts Gonzaga over UCLA, into title game

Apr 3, 2021; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; UCLA Bruins guard Johnny Juzang (3) handles the ball against Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Drew Timme (2) and guard Jalen Suggs (1) during the second half in the national semifinals of the Final Four of the 2021 NCAA Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Jalen Suggs banked in a running 35-foot shot as time expired in overtime and top-seeded Gonzaga survived a major scare to remain unbeaten with a 93-90 victory over UCLA in a national semifinal of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday night in Indianapolis.

UCLA’s Johnny Juzang rebounded his own miss to score with 3.3 seconds left to tie it at 90 before Suggs received the ball and scooted upcourt to loft the dramatic shot that gave Gonzaga (31-0) its 35th consecutive win.

“That is crazy, I can’t put it into words right now,” Suggs told CBS of the miraculous game-winning shot.

The Bulldogs face top-seeded Baylor (27-2) in Monday night’s national title game in their quest to become the first unbeaten champion since Indiana in 1976.

Drew Timme scored six of his 25 points in overtime, Joel Ayayi added 22 points and Suggs recorded 16 points, six assists and five rebounds for Gonzaga. Corey Kispert tallied 15 points and Andrew Nembhard had 11 points and eight assists for the Bulldogs.

Read More: Baylor, Gonzaga win Final Four, will face off in NCAA championship 2021

Juzang scored 29 points on 12-of-18 shooting for 11th-seeded UCLA (22-10). Jaime Jaquez Jr. added 19 points, Tyger Campbell tallied 17 points and seven assists and Cody Riley had 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Bruins.

UCLA was the second team to reach the Final Four after starting the tournament in the First Four. Virginia Commonwealth (2011) is the other.

Gonzaga’s Division I record of 27 straight double-digit victories came to an end. West Virginia is the only other team to lose by single digits against Gonzaga — 87-82 on Dec. 2.

Timme scored three baskets in the first 100 seconds of overtime as the Bulldogs took an 87-83 lead. Riley knocked down a 15-footer to move UCLA within two with 2:07 remaining but Nembhard knocked down a 3-pointer to make it 90-85 with 1:15 remaining.

Jaquez connected on a 3-pointer and Juzang added his hoop to set the scene for Suggs.

Read More: Baylor pummels Houston to reach NCAA title game

Kispert’s putback gave the Bulldogs an 81-79 lead with 57.3 seconds left in regulation. Jaquez made two free throws with 43.1 seconds to go before UCLA found itself in overtime for the third time in this NCAA Tournament.

Gonzaga shot 58.7 percent from the field — including 7 of 21 from 3-point range — and edges of 56-24 in points in the paint and 15-0 in fast-break points.

The Bruins made 57.6 percent of their shots and were 8 of 17 from behind the arc.

Ayayi scored 16 points on 6-of-6 shooting as Gonzaga shot 60.7 percent from the field and led 45-44 at the break. Juzang had 15 points on 6-of-8 shooting for UCLA, which shot 57.7 percent.

–Field Level Media

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