UCONN defeats Gonzaga 82-54.
Gonzaga was beaten 82-54 by UCONN in their worst loss of the season. There’s no sugarcoating it: this was a humiliating defeat for Gonzaga fans. Drew Timme led Gonzaga with 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Julian Strawther added 11 points. With 20 points, Jordan Hawkins led UCONN, and Adama Sanogo finished with 10 points, 10 rebounds, and a career-high six assists.
Gonzaga got off to a slow start, hitting only one of their first nine shots and missing two three-point attempts (Bolton and Watson). UCONN decided to feed Sanogo, who scored six of the team’s first ten points.
Anton Watson would guard Sanogo, who was held scoreless for the rest of the half, just as he did against Kentucky’s Tshiebwe. He didn’t score, but he did dish out five assists in the first half. When Gonzaga double-teamed him, rotations were slow in picking up the cutter, allowing UCONN to score easily.
Hickman and Bolton, like UCLA, were ineffective in the first half, going one for six from the pitch. During the first media timeout, Few inserted Sallis, Smith, and Gregg, and the Gonzaga offence looked better, taking their first lead 22-21. Timme was hampered by two early travel calls but still managed to score nine points in the first half. Julian Strawther hit four floaters to keep the game alive despite missing all three of his three-point attempts.
After freshman forward Alex Karaban made a three-pointer to end the half, UCONN led 39-32 going into the locker room.
The first minute of the second half for Gonzaga could not have been worse. On UCONN’s first possession, Watson did strip Sanogo, but Timme tried to lead the break, picking up his third. foul on a charge. UCONN’s Karaban scored on a floater, and after Strawther missed a trey, UCONN extended its lead to 12.
Timme picked up his fourth foul less than two minutes later in an off-ball push following a Sanogo miss. Timme sat, Few yelled at the officials, and Gonzaga’s wheels came off as UCONN extended their lead to 18. Timme reappeared three minutes later, but it was too little, too late.
UCONN dominated the rest of the second half. Gonzaga couldn’t make baskets in garbage time, and UCONN seemed unable to miss. Gonzaga was three for 21 in second half shot attempts with five minutes remaining, as UCONN extended their lead to 33. Gonzaga finished the game shooting two for 20 from long range, 20 for 60 from the pitch, and 55% from the line.
With just over three minutes remaining, UCONN emptied their bench, including San Diego Torero transfer Joey Calcaterra, who earned his first victory against the Zags in five years. Timme exited the court with two minutes remaining, surrounded by hugs from the coaching staff.
For the third year in a row, an emotional victory over UCLA is followed by a loss to Gonzaga. It was Baylor two years ago, Duke last year, and UCONN this year.
The next few days will be filled with armchair coaches who believe they can tell you what went wrong and how the team could have performed better, despite how truly This team was fantastic, and the season was incredible. It’s been incredible to watch Drew Timme and Julian Strawther perform. Rasir Bolton’s smile, enthusiasm, and contributions to the community will be missed. Let’s hope we get another season of Anton Watson and Malachi Smith. Finally, you can bet Mark Few will reload. WAY TO GO ZAGS!!!
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