Portland, OR – The second round of the NCAA Tournament took place at the Moda Center with anticipated matchups of No. 4-seeded UCLA vs. No. 5-seeded Saint Mary’s following by top-seeded Gonzaga facing No. 9-seed Memphis.
In the opener UCLA had a surprisingly easy time defeating a hot Saint Mary’s squad 72-56. The Bruins were behind midway through the first half 20-13 before they took control of the game with a 23-9 run to close the half with a seven-point lead. They expanded their lead from there gradually pulling away in the second half for the 16-point win.
Tyger Campbell played exceptionally well through the two games here. On Thursday night he connected on two late three-pointers and a mid-range jumper to help the Bruins get past upset-minded Akron. Today, Campbell played a very efficient game, controlling the tempo and scoring 16 points on 4-of-8 shooting and drawing six fouls. He added four assists and three rebounds against only one turnover. Campbell was supported by 15 points from Jaime Jacquez Jr. and 14 points from both Johnny Juzang and Jules Bernard.
The Bruins shot well, connecting on 53.5 percent of their shots overall with 4-of-9 on 3s. They were effective on defense as well, holding the Gaels to 40,8 percent from the field and only 7-of-21 from deep. Logan Johnson was active throughout for the Gaels, scoring 18 points, hitting 3-of-5 from deep, Johnson added five rebounds and three assists.
In the second game Memphis seemed to have the athleticism and quickness to compete well with Gonzaga. Drew Timme and Chet Holmgren had their way against Georgia State on Thursday, scoring at will on the block, The Tigers had the strength and length inside with Jalen Duren and Malcolm Dandridge to make things more difficult for them. That’s exactly what happened in the first half as Gonzaga’s two bigs were limited to only a combined two field goals and six points.
Meanwhile, the Tigers’ Tyler Harris, the smallest player on the floor gave the Bulldogs fits as he got to his spot on the floor at will. The 5-9 Harris tallied 11 first half points, making all six of his free throws. The Tigers won the battle of the boards, 25-18, even with Duren sitting the last ten minutes of the half with two fouls, After Gonzaga took an early five-point lead the Tigers battled back and took a 41-31 halftime lead after Josh Minott made a floater at the buzzer. Andrew Nembhard led the Zags at the half with 13 points.
Things changed in the second half as Timme and Holmgren got going, aided from foul trouble on the key Memphis inside players. Led by Timme, the Zags erased their ten-point deficit quickly and escaped with an 82-78 win, Timme scored 25 points, 21 of them in the second half. He added 14 rebounds. Holmgren came on and finished with nine points, nine rebounds and four blocks. Nembhard added 23 points, connecting on 5-of-10 from deep.
Timme hit a three-pointer early in the second half to cut the deficit to seven points and get the Bulldog crowd going, He scored the first ten Gonzaga points of the half, the last two on a fallaway bank shot to cut the Memphis lead to 45-42. Timme started getting his way inside after Duren committed his fourth foul. That opened things up for inside scoring for Gonzaga. The Zags tied the game at 51 on a corner jumper by Holmgren. DeAndre Williams (14 points) also got into foul trouble for Memphis, drawing his fourth foul, a flagrant one, with ten minutes remaining in the game. Gonzaga pulled ahead by four points on a Rasir Bolton three-pointer.
The Tigers wouldn’t go away, tying the game at 66 on a Williams floater with six minutes left. A Nembhard three-pointer after a Holmgren block put the Zags back up by five points. Another three from Nembhard brought the lead to seven points at the two-minute mark. Bolton, who was important tonight for Gonzaga with 17 points, made two key free throws to give the Zags a 78-73 lead with 41.7 seconds left. A three from Luis Quinones then cut Gonzaga’s lead to two points. Two free throws with 22 seconds left by Nembhard brought to lead to 80-76. Landers Nolley then fouled Holmgren out on shot inside, made his free throws to cut the lead back to two points. Nembhard then made another two foul shots with four seconds remaining to ice the game for the Zags.