Before Jalen Suggs' shot, there was Johnny Juzang's charge.
And outside of Suggs' all-time buzzer beater to secure Gonzaga's Final Four win on Saturday, no play in a game full of big plays was bigger than Drew Timme's decision to step in front of Juzang at the end of regulation.
With the game tied at 81 and the final seconds ticking down, No. 11 seed UCLA faced a chance to pull off a historic upset of No. 1 seed Gonzaga and end its run at a perfect season. Juzang — UCLA's best player and hero throughout its unlikely tournament run — set up an isolation play just beyond halfcourt and broke free of his defender Suggs on a screen.
Juzang collides with Timme
Suggs and Corey Kispert gave chase as Juzang attacked the basket only to find Timme standing in his path. Kispert stuck his hands straight up, Juzang collided as he unleashed a shot and officials whistled the play dead.
A blocking foul would send Juzang to the line for potentially game-winning free throws. A charge would give Gonzaga the possession for the final moments of regulation. Officials called a charge, and the clock ran out before Gonzaga secured a 93-90 overtime win.
Was it the right call?
Did the officials get it right? Plenty of fans didn't think so. And it's rare to see a charging call in a high-stakes situation like that one.
But it's hard to reasonably argue with the call after watching replay. Timme was well outside the restricted zone. His hands were straight up. And while critics argue that Timme shuffled his feet in the moment before Juzang collided, he had well-established defensive position before Juzang made contact.
While it's a tough way to see a national championship run come to an end, it doesn't mean the call was wrong. Officials got this one right in one of the season's biggest moments.
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