Jaime Jaquez leads Bruins in scoring against Gonzaga with 29 points and 11 rebounds
(Associated Press)

The UCLA Bruins (31-6,18-2 Pac-12), the West Region’s No. 2 seed, played heroic basketball against the No.3 Gonzaga Bulldogs (31-5, 14-2 WCC) until the very end.

On Thursday at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, the Bruins saw their hopes for a trip to the Elite Eight dashed by a Gonzaga game-winning shot in the final seconds. You could not ask for a better game between two teams with a deep history and rivalry.

In 2006, the Bruins defeated the Bulldogs in a Sweet 16 matchup. In 2021, Gonzaga defeated the Bruins and advanced to the title game. And now, the 2023 loss is added to the list of game-winning miraculous plays between these two teams. The Bruins, up by 13 during first-half play, missed top defender Jaylen Clark and center Adem Bona as the Bulldogs out-rebounded the Bruins 50-26.

With 1:05 on the clock in the second half, the Bruins overcame an eight-point deficit and took a 76-75 lead when point guard Tyger Campbell found shooting guard Amari Bailey for the go-ahead-three giving the Bruins a one-point advantage.

Related Stories

Dayvon Ross Finds Success Outside of Football

Student Athlete of the Week: Heaven Halibyton

Gonzaga called timeout, and 6’7 guard Julian Strawther found the bottom of the net with a Steph Curry-type three-point shot with 7.2 seconds left. According to Gonzaga head coach Mark Few, the team practices that play regularly, and Strawther makes that shot often. Strawther, however, wasn’t so sure about the winning shot:

“As soon as it came off, it looked like it was on [the] line,” Strawther said.

Bruins react to Gonzaga Loss
(Associated Press)

“We should have been tighter on Strawther,” UCLA coach Mick Cronin said. “We were the whole game. We just weren’t on that play. If we were tighter, then he couldn’t have looped behind.”

The Bruins had one last opportunity for the win when Gonzaga stole the ball, the Bruins fouled, but Gonzaga hit only 1 of the two free throws. Bruin’s go-to-star, Campbell, launched a 3-pointer at the buzzer that hit the back of the rim, ending the quest for a possible championship.

“Every game, try not to get too high, try not to get too low,” said UCLA’s Jaime Jaquez. “He hit a big shot, and we lost.”

Jaquez finished with 29 points and 11 rebounds, with Amari Bailey contributing 19 points and five rebounds and Tyger Campbell with 14 points and nine assists. Gonzaga forward Drew Timme finished with 36 points, 13 rebounds, and four assists, and Julian Strawther with 16 points and ten rebounds.

This is the Bruin’s second straight loss in the round of the Sweet 16. The Bulldogs will face the UConn Huskies in the round of the Elite Eight.