‘Like a motion picture’: Strawther’s 3 sends Zags to Elite 8

LAS VEGAS– With apologies to Cecil B. DeMille, Julian Strawther was prepared for his close-up. Even if he was some 30 feet away.The Gonzaga junior guard, who grew up in Las Vegas, said he felt like he was starring in his own motion picture after striking a deep 3-pointer and converting a free throw in the last seven seconds to provide the No. 3-seeded Bulldogs a white-knuckle 79-76 victory over No. 2 UCLA on Thursday night and send them to a West Region last against No. 4 UConn.

“All the story behind it,” Strawther stated. “Just being home. Down at halftime. Come back. Take a huge lead. Give it right back up. Come right pull back and make a shot like that? It truly felt like a motion picture.”

Think about: Before Strawther converted his straightaway shot from darn near the Nevada-California state line, he was only 4-of-14 shooting from the field, 2-of-7 from beyond the 3-point arc. And Gonzaga, which tracked at halftime 46-33 just to take a 10-point lead (72-62) with 2:30 to play, found itself behind 76-75 with 12 seconds to play.A film? Who would have thought this script? Especially on the 17-year anniversary to the day of the notorious Adam Morrison-inconsolable-on-the-court Sweet 16 game in Oakland, California, where the Bruins scored the final 11 indicate break Gonzaga’s hearts. And yeah, Morrison remained in Las Vegas on Thursday, calling the game on the radio.Because in the huddle after UCLA called timeout upon taking the lead, as Gonzaga coach Mark Couple of drew up a play that featured “a little dribble hand-off action, [to] see if we could get their defense on their heels a bit,”Strawther said. Strawther asked if he might shoot the ball if it came to him.Few unloaded some option expletives in the affirmative.

Message received. Shot taken.”It was a clean look,” he said. “I got the ball and

it was in my variety so I shot it.”Editor’s Picks

  • 1 Related Gonzaga senior forward Drew Timme chuckled.

    “I suggest, I can’t even explain what he did,” said Timme, who ended up with 36 points and 13 rebounds.

    “I’m not speechless excessive, and I’m quite speechless after that. But I am the No. 1 Julian Strawther fan permanently now.”

    The task description is already taken, however, by his dad Lee.Strawther, who

    starred at Southern Nevada’s Liberty High School, lost his mom, Lourdes, to breast cancer when he was 9 years old and has a tribute to her tattooed on his left arm and chest. So after UCLA point player Tyger Campbell’s running 3-point effort bounded harmlessly away as the final buzzer sounded, Strawther went to a corner of the court and gazed up into the stands as he was swarmed by teammates.

    “This is my city,” he shouted to the crowd in the postgame celebration. “This is my city.”

    He was more suppressed in the locker space.

    “I certainly searched in my dad’s instructions, and my good friends’,” said Strawther, who had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. “I understood where they were at. It is among those things where you type of simply black out. You do not know what’s going on. It’s hard to react to what just took place.

    “Literally, when you’re a kid, you imagine making a shot like that. Specifically in March Insanity. And the cherry on top is being home in Vegas. Words can’t explain how I’m feeling today. It seemed like a movie, you understand?”

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