Last updated 4/6/2021 at 8:25am
I’m sure most of you saw the game on Saturday between the UCLA Bruins and the Gonzaga Bulldogs. I was watching with my headphones on as my wife was reading one of the many books she reads on Kindle. She didn’t bother me and I didn’t bother her. How about that? Even with the shot heard round the globe by Jalen Suggs, I didn’t scream and holler; I just sat up in my chair and said, “Wow!”
On Sunday I was listening to a sports show and it was very interesting listening to the guys talking about the game and the shot. They said this was a game between David and Goliath but the Goliath of old was now David and the David of old was now Goliath. UCLA was now the underdog and was making life difficult for the big favorite in Gonzaga.
Did the Bulldogs take the Bruins lightly? Coach Mark Few doesn’t take anyone lightly and respects opponents, and realizes any time a team can utilize a game plan for 40 minutes, they can win a basketball game. This game was even after 40 minutes and it was even after 44 minutes, 59.9 seconds. But the shot from Jalen Suggs bounced off the backboard and into the basket as the buzzer sounded sending the Bulldogs to their second National Championship game.
Now Drew Timme had a dominating performance as did Joel Ayayi. Jalen Suggs made a few plays that were certainly highlights. He blocked a shot from the Bruin center that was a sure two points, then tracked down the ball and then made a ¾ court bounce pass to a streaking Drew Timme for a tying basket late in regulation. With four fouls, Timme also drew a charge on the Bruins' unstoppable Johnny Juzang, who finished with 29 points.
In OT Timme scored three times and Andrew Nembhard hit a three to give the Zags a 5-point lead with over a minute to play. But the Bruins would again answer with a rally and Juzang would recover a put back of his missed shot and the game was tied at 90 with 3.3 seconds left on the clock. The ball was then inbounded to Suggs who covered a lot of ground and let fly a jump shot from around 40 feet and the ball tickled the net as the clock hit zero.
I saw some replays of the Suggs shot later with different angles and the interesting thing is that this was not a desperation heave like so many buzzer-beating shots become. Suggs had perfect form on his shot and his follow-through, with his wrist was what all players should strive for. I think if this was a desperation heave it would have clanked off the backboard, and a second OT would have been played. But with the back-spin on the ball, it eased into the basket like it was going home.
This game is the reason that college basketball is so great. Two teams giving everything they had, winner moves on loser goes home. There is no tournament like this one and boy did we miss out on a great tournament last year.