LAS VEGAS — In April, Gonzaga and UCLA staged one of the greatest Final Four games in college basketball history, one that was decided on a Jalen Suggs buzzer-beater in overtime that will go down as an iconic moment.
In the rematch on Tuesday at T-Mobile Arena, however, there were no miracle shots — just No. 1 Gonzaga dominating No. 2 UCLA in an 83-63 victory.
One of the season’s premier nonconference matchups was billed as a potential national title preview. Instead, it was a showcase for a Gonzaga squad that will face Duke on Friday in another matchup between two of America’s best.
Gonzaga made 57.7% of its shots in the first half and led 45-25 at the break. The Bruins, who scored 90 points in their overtime loss to Gonzaga in Indianapolis, missed 25 of their first 31 shots on Tuesday. They couldn’t hit the 3-pointers Gonzaga was willing to surrender and they couldn’t find any room inside the arc as they sought other ways to score.
The length of Drew Timme and Chet Holmgren complicated UCLA’s plans. Holmgren had four blocks in the game. Gonzaga outscored the Bruins 34-30 in the paint, while also connecting on 39% of its 3-point attempts.
Andrew Nembhard (24 points) was one of four double-digit scorers for the Bulldogs, who will spend Thanksgiving here as they prepare for the Blue Devils.
After his team’s win over Central Michigan on Monday, coach Mark Few said this group will gain more experience over time as it continues to grow.
“We’re new and we’re learning on the fly,” he said.
Few also said the UCLA game was an example of an early showcase that can help the sport.
“I think it’s something that all of us, we’ve got to collectively as coaches try to do,” he said. “I think, you know, instead of waiting around for all the attention to be focused on all of us in March, I think there is a golden opportunity here to really focus on the entire sport as we get going.”