UCLA’s Cinderella run to the Final Four came to an end in heartbreaking fashion on Saturday night. After playing top-seeded Gonzaga closely for a full 45 minutes, the Bruins were undone by a bank-shot, buzzer-beater from Bulldogs freshman Jalen Suggs.
The incredible overtime game-winner ended a remarkable battle between the two programs and sent Gonzaga through to the national title game, to continue its pursuit of a perfect season. UCLA, on the other hand, walked away empty-handed.
Former Bruins star Bill Walton was among the program’s alums watching the game on Saturday night. Video caught the NBA great, turned analyst and defender of the PAC-12 watching the final moments of Gonzaga-UCLA, including the buzzer beater.
Walton sat on the edge of his seat in the final seconds and stood as Suggs drilled the half-court heave. All he could do was give both teams a well-deserved round of applause.
“Wow, what a game,” Walton finally said after watching the play unfold.
— Jim Gray (@JimGrayOfficial) April 4, 2021
Walton was obviously on the edge of his seat throughout the final seconds, but what’s most special about his reaction is what happens right after Suggs hits the game-winning shot. Although he was pulling for UCLA, for obvious reasons, the 68-year-old cracked a smile, showing that he clearly appreciated the high-quality of basketball on display.
Walton made headlines earlier in the tournament for his staunch defense of the “Conference of Champions” and ended up being right to put UCLA into the Final Four. Unfortunately, the Bruins couldn’t continue their miracle run to the national title game.
However, the 2021 UCLA team will go down in history for its performance on Saturday against one of the deepest teams in recent memory. Even if fans start to forget, Bill Walton definitely won’t let this game go for a long time.