In the nightcap of Sweet 16 men’s NCAA tournament action, the Gonzaga Bulldogs erased a 13-point halftime deficit, en route to beating the UCLA Bruins 79–76 in West Regional action from Las Vegas.
Julian Strawther enjoyed his homecoming to Las Vegas notching a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. The junior point guard nailed the go-ahead three-pointer with only 7.2 seconds remaining after the Bruins had gone on a 10–1 run to take a one-point lead following a three from the wing by Amari Bailey with only 13 seconds remaining.
The Bulldogs, led by senior Drew Timme’s 36 points and 13 rebounds, outscored UCLA 46–30 in the second half after the Bruins poured in 46 points in the first 20 minutes of action.
Gonzaga, which shot a dismal 6–16 (37.5) from beyond the arc, were dominant in the second half thanks to major adjustments by coach Mark Few after halftime. The Bulldogs pushed the ball inside, which resulted in the club shooting a blistering 50.0% from the field.
The Bulldogs were also strong in the paint, grabbing 16 offensive rebounds en route to a dominant 49–26 overall edge on the boards.
Sixth-man Malachi Smith also limited UCLA star guard Tyger Campbell to 5–16 shooting from the field and had 14 points on 6–11 shooting.
The Bulldogs will hope to carry over the momentum to Saturday’s Elite Eight showdown with UConn. The Huskies, who crushed Arkansas 88–65 earlier in the night, have outscored their opponents 245–183 through three games in the NCAA tournament.