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A strong contender for best ending to a game this March Madness, Gonzaga’s narrow win, 79-76, over UCLA (3) Thursday night was a star-making finish, namely for Zags guard Julian Strawther.
UCLA had a lead over the Bulldogs until the nine-minute mark of the second half when Gonzaga (2) completed a nine-point run to gain their first lead of the period (61-59).
In the final minutes, the game’s ending kept switching momentum between Gonzaga’s strong lead and UCLA’s comeback efforts. The action was all over the place.
With 12 seconds left in the game, UCLA’s Amari Bailey hit a three to put the Bruins ahead, 76-75. Facing the one-point deficit, Gonzaga’s Hunter Sallis raced past halfcourt and flipped the ball to Julian Strawther.
From the logo, Strawther drilled a three to reclaim the lead, 78-76. OutKick founder Clay Travis summarized it as the best “shot of the tournament so far.”
At one point, UCLA led by 13 points.
The Zags were able to stay in the game because of star big man Drew Timme’s scoring frenzy. Timme enjoyed an outstanding individual performance even when the Zags trailed.
Timme spun his way into the paint and pulled off a nasty euro to score a flashy layup past several Bruins.
READ: GONZAGA STAR DREW TIMME DROPS F-BOMB ON LIVE TV
Timme scored 19 points in the first half and finished with 36 points (13 rebounds).
Despite any star outing, Timme put the spotlight on Strawther for his incredible shot.
“I am the No. 1 Julian Strawther fan on the planet, no one is a bigger fan of him than me, man.”
Gonzaga advances to the Elite Eight — their fourth trip in the last six years.
Follow Alejandro Avila on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela
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