INDIANAPOLIS – Jalen Suggs took the inbounds pass and saw nothing but clear sailing. Three dribbles. Past the half-court line. A little stutter-step.
And straight into history.
The Gonzaga freshman banked in a shot at the buzzer from near the Final Four logo for a 93-90 overtime win over UCLA on Saturday night that vaulted the Bulldogs to within one win of an undefeated season and the national title.
Talk about a perfect finish!
This thriller in the national semifinal was the best game of the tournament, and, considering the stakes, it served up possibly the best ending in the history of March Madness — a kiss off the glass from near midcourt to keep a perfect season alive.
“Stuff like this is something you dream of as a kid and that you practice on your mini-hoop,” Suggs said.
After the shot went in, Suggs ran to the mostly empty press row, jumped up on the table, pumped his fists and let out a huge yell to the crowd of 8,000-or-so socially distanced fans. The refs checked to make sure he got the shot off before the buzzer sounded. He did, and the Bulldogs moved to 31-0 and into Monday night's final, where they'll play Baylor for the title.
They are the first team to bring an undefeated record into the championship game since Larry Bird and Indiana State in 1979. Bird lost that game to Magic Johnson and Michigan State. It means Gonzaga could become the first team since the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers to go undefeated.