NCAA Basketball: Good Sam Empire Classic-Gonzaga at UCLA

Nov 23, 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Gonzaga Bulldogs players celebrate with the Good Sam Empire Classic championship trophy after defeating the UCLA Bruins 83-63 at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports Content Exchange

Led by Andrew Nembhard's 24 points, six assists and five rebounds, Gonzaga jumped all over UCLA early and cruised to an 83-63 victory on Tuesday in a meeting of the No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the nation at the Good Sam Empire Classic in Las Vegas.

The No. 1 Bulldogs (6-0) took the lead after the No. 2 Bruins (5-1) scored the first bucket of the game and led by as many as 24 points in the second half.

It was the 43rd game between the No. 1 and 2 teams in the Associated Press poll and the fourth meeting between two such teams since 2016.

It was also a rematch of last year's national semifinal won by Gonzaga on an overtime buzzer-beater by Jalen Suggs. This was the first Final Four rematch the following season since North Carolina and Virginia played in 1982.

Nembhard shot 9 of 13 to lead a stellar offensive performance as the Bulldogs shot 56 percent (28 of 50), including 9 of 23 from 3-point range, and 18 of 23 from the free-throw line.

Gonzaga continuously turned stingy defense into fast-paced offense, leading to 18 fastbreak points. That defense contributed to UCLA shooting just 34.8 percent (24 of 69) and making only 2 of 12 shots from 3-point range.

The Bulldogs' Drew Timme finished with 18 points and eight rebounds and Chet Holmgren totaled 15 points and six rebounds. Julian Strawther tallied 12 points and nine rebounds.

Jaime Jaquez Jr. led UCLA with 19 points and six rebounds while Tyger Campbell and Johnny Juzang each finished with 11 points.

The Bruins led for a total of 45 seconds before the Bulldogs sped to an 8-2 lead and eventually built a 29-8 edge after the first 10 minutes. Over the first 17 minutes, UCLA had a hard time dealing with Gonzaga's defense and shot 7 of 34, including 1 for 9 from 3-point range.

--Field Level Media

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This article originally ran on Content Exchange

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