DENVER (AP) — Drew Timme added something new to his twisting, turning, head-faking, mustachioed repertoire — a 3-pointer to help Gonzaga get over the hump and back to the Sweet 16.
The Gonzaga big man extended his one-of-a-kind college career by at least one more game, finishing with 28 points Sunday to help the Zags make their eighth straight Sweet 16 with a come-from-behind 84-81 win over TCU.
Timme made his first 3 since December — and only his third of the season — as part of a 13-1 run that helped the third-seeded Zags (30-5) take a seven-point lead with just under nine minutes left after trailing most of the night.
“It was huge — the clock, the two-point lead,” Timme said of the margin before he made his shot. “I just launched one up there. All you can do is smile and laugh.”
After TCU pulled back within three late, Timme made a twisting shot in the lane with a defender draped all over him to trigger a 4-0 mini-run that put the game out of reach.
Next stop for the 6-foot-10 senior and his social media-friendly mustache: Las Vegas for the West Region semifinals and a meeting with UCLA on Thursday. It will be a rematch of the teams’ Final Four game two years ago, when Jalen Suggs banked one in from the half-court logo at the buzzer for the win.
Mike Miles Jr. finished with 24 points and four assists in his second straight electric game for the sixth-seeded Horned Frogs (22-13), who were trying to win two games in the same tournament for the first time in program history.
Gonzaga coach Mark Few pulled Miles aside briefly during the postgame handshake.
“He said that he’s coached a lot NBA players and that I am one,” Miles said. “It’s appreciated.”
Damion Baugh finished with 15 points for TCU, including a not-so-meaningless 3 he hit at the buzzer to help the Horned Frogs cover the 4.5-point spread listed on FanDuel Sportsbook.
Small consolation for TCU, though for 30 minutes-plus, the Frogs looked like very much like one of the 16 best teams in the country. They came at the Bulldogs in waves, trying to stop Timme with every big man on the roster.
But while the Gonzaga big man worked for every one of his 12 baskets and his eight rebounds, TCU’s bigs were all in foul trouble as the game wound down. One of the two Horned Frogs who fouled out was JaKobe Coles, who made the last-second runner that gave TCU the first-round win against Arizona State.
“Obviously, it was pretty early in the first half when we had to make some adjustments, play a lot of different lineups, probably even deeper than I thought we would,” TCU coach Jamie Dixon said.
TCU had led by as many as 10 in the first half.
Rasir Bolton (17 points) led Gonzaga’s first big run. His two 3-pointers and another by Julian Strawther gave the Bulldogs a 46-45 lead after they had missed 12 of their 14 attempts from behind the arc in the first half.
Strawther, a Las Vegas native, will head home for his team’s next game. And Timme joined a list that includes Bill Bradley, Elvin Hayes and Danny Manning as only the seventh player with nine NCAA Tournament games of 20-plus points.
“I think he’s going to go down as one of the all-time great college players in the history of the game,” Few said. “And he still wasn’t supposed to shoot that 3. But that’s what makes him good. He does things like that every once in a while.”
TIMME ON SOCIAL MEDIA
Timme said he was annoyed by what he called “some nice things on the internet before” the game that took shots at him and Gonzaga. “Throw a little lighter fluid on the fire if you wish,” he said. “I thought TCU was a highly educated school, and they didn’t sound so smart with their comments pregame, so you know. …”
SWEET 16 ANNIVERSARY
The meeting Thursday with UCLA in Vegas will fall on the 16th anniversary of their classic Sweet 16 game, won 73-71 by the Bruins. Over the final, frenetic 40 seconds, UCLA made two steals, scored the last five points and left Zags star Adam Morrison nearly crying on the court.
ONE FEWER BIG MAN
With TCU’s big men in foul trouble, one difference might have been the absence of Eddie Lampkin. Lampkin, a key cog in the TCU frontcourt much of the year, entered the transfer portal just before the Big 12 tournament.
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