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Gonzaga's Jalen Suggs Inspired by Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade After UCLA Winner

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistApril 4, 2021

Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs (1) celebrates making the game winning basket with Joel Ayayi, left, against UCLA during overtime in a men's Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament semifinal game, Saturday, April 3, 2021, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Gonzaga won 93-90. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

Jalen Suggs grew up wanting to have his Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade moment, leaping to the top of the scorer's table after coming through in the clutch.

He got his moment Saturday night in the Final Four.

"I've always wanted to run up on the table like Kobe and D-Wade and go like that, and that's the first thing I did," Suggs told reporters after knocking down a buzzer-beating three to give Gonzaga a 93-90 overtime win over UCLA. "Man, that is something that you practice on your mini-hoop as a kid or in the gym just messing around. And to be able to do that, it's crazy."

Suggs' on-the-run, pull-up three as time expired will go down as one of the greatest shots in men's NCAA tournament history, to cap off one of the best games in men's NCAA tournament history. Gonzaga and UCLA put on a shot-making clinic, trading back-and-forth blows in a game that seemed like it would never end.

UCLA's Johnny Juzang hit a shot with 3.3 seconds remaining to knot the game at 90 and seemingly set up a second overtime period, but Suggs caught the inbounds pass on the run and dashed up the court before pulling up just inside half court to knock down a bank-shot buzzer-beater.

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Suggs immediately kept on running as the shot went through the net and leaped onto the scorer's table as a group of teammates came to mob him. The likely top-five pick had taken a backseat to Drew Timme and Joel Ayayi until that final shot, with both Bulldogs stars finishing with 20-plus points, whereas Suggs had only 13 before his game-winner.

That said, his 14th, 15th and 16th points will go down as the greatest in Gonzaga history.

Next up for the freshman guard and Gonzaga is No. 1 seed Baylor in the title game Monday at 9:20 p.m. ET on CBS.

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