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Stan Becton | | March 24, 2023

Gonzaga tops UCLA in another instant classic as Drew Timme's huge day powers Bulldogs to Elite Eight

Gonzaga, UCLA trade clutch shots in wild Sweet 16 finish

No. 3 Gonzaga topped No. 2 UCLA in yet another instant classic between the two as Drew Timme's 36 points helped lift the Bulldogs to a thrilling 79-76 Sweet 16 win.

On a day where UConn rolled by Arkansas, Kansas State's Markquis Nowell broke the NCAA tournament assist record and Florida Atlantic advanced to the Elite Eight for the first time, Gonzaga and UCLA provided more late drama. The wild game included Gonzaga rallying from down 13, UCLA going more than 11 minutes without a field goal, the Bruins then scoring 13 points in barely more than a minute to go back in front and finally a winning 3-pointer from Gonzaga's Julian Strawther.

Gonzaga needed almost every point from Timme to win the latest Bulldogs-Bruins classic in the NCAA tournament. Two years ago, Jalen Suggs beat the buzzer and the Bruins in the Final Four. Earlier — 17 years to the day, in fact UCLA stormed back to stun Gonzaga in the 2006 Sweet 16. Now Bulldogs got the game-winning 3-pointer from Strawther with just seconds remaining. 

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Timme's scoring outburst gave him at least 20 points in the NCAA tournament for the 10th time of his career — the most of any player in tournament history. He also added 13 rebounds in the win. Impressively, Gonzaga is now 121-12 in games that Drew Timme has played in his career.

Timme also showed up big on the defensive end. Gonzaga held UCLA without a field goal for over 11 minutes of the second half. UCLA's went scoreless from 12:30 to 1:14 in the second half, as Gonzaga went on a 20-4 run to lead by six points. Timme played well defensively during the stretch, finishing with two blocks in the game while holding his own on pick-and-roll switches.

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Next up, Gonzaga plays UConn in the Elite Eight.

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