Michael Conroy/Associated Press
Jalen Suggs was at a near loss for words on Saturday as he tried to explain how it feels to hit one of the biggest shots in NCAA tournament history.
With 3.3 seconds left, and tied with UCLA in overtime at 90, Suggs took three dribbles down the floor, set his feet and sent the No. 1 Gonzaga Bulldogs to the national championship game with a banked-in three-pointer that’s now unquestionably the defining moment of the 2021 tournament.
“This was great,” Suggs said. “Extremely special. I can’t put this into words, you know? Turning dreams into reality.”
Suggs said he’d been missing his half-court heaves lately but had no trouble getting one to fall with the game on the line.
On Monday night he’ll get a chance to do something even more meaningful as the 31-0 Zags attempt to become the first undefeated national champions since the 1975-76 Indiana Hoosiers went 32-0 en route to the title.
The Bulldogs will face No. 1 Baylor—arguably the second-best team in college basketball this season—in a long awaited showdown between the two programs.
Suggs finished the night with 16 points, six assists and five rebounds. He made only one of four three-point attempts on the night before his last-second shot banked in. Odds are he’ll be a bit more confident from deep by Monday night.
If nothing else, the freshman from Minnesota has forever etched his name into NCAA tournament lore with a shot that calls to mind Mario Chalmers, Christian Laettner, Lorenzo Charles and Kris Jenkins before him. For a 2021 tournament that didn’t feature any buzzer-beaters before the Final Four, there was no shortage of madness as the Bulldogs sent No. 11 UCLA home in unforgettable fashion.