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Bright lights suit Gonzaga in 1 vs. 2

by Steve Rogers | November 24, 2021 at 2:22 a.m.

LAS VEGAS -- Andrew Nembhard scored 24 points, freshman Chet Holmgren showed off his unique skill set and top-ranked Gonzaga overwhelmed No. 2 UCLA 83-63 on Tuesday night to win the Empire Classic.

The Bulldogs (6-0) played like Vegas headliners with a dazzling display at both ends. Gonzaga shell shocked UCLA (5-1) with a huge early blitz and never let up to beat its second top-five team this season.

Holmgren stole the show at times, swatting shots, swooping for dunks and awing the crowd with his agility. The 7-1, 195-pound freshman earned an ovation early in the second half, when he blocked Myles Johnson's shot and went end to end -- with a dribble behind his back to boot -- for a two-handed slam.

Holmgren finished with 15 points, 6 rebounds and 4 blocked shots. Drew Timme was just as effective inside, scoring 18 points.

Jaime Jaquez Jr. tried to keep the Bruins in it, finishing with 19 points, but had to work for everything he got.

The Strip's bright lights shined on college hoops luminaries all week, with No. 4 Michigan, No. 5 Duke, No. 12 Houston, Arizona, Oregon and Wisconsin appearing on the marquee.

Top billing went to the first No. 1 vs. No. 2 meeting of teams from the Pacific Time Zone.

The Bulldogs and Bruins played an all-timer last April in Indianapolis, an epic Final Four game won by Gonzaga on Jalen Suggs' running three-point buzzer-beater.

Gonzaga lost Suggs and a few others, but Coach Mark Few also filled in the roster holes with transfers and talented freshman, headlined by Holmgren. The Bulldogs have looked just as good, winning their first six games by an average of 31.3 points.

UCLA has everyone back, though big man Cody Riley has been out since injuring his knee in the season opener. The Bruins didn't look so good against Bellarmine on Monday, prompting Coach Mick Cronin to say his team was not ready for Gonzaga after the 75-62 win.

He was right.

Gonzaga was at its free-flowing best on offense, picking apart the Bruins with crisp cuts and passes. The Bulldogs made eight of their first nine shots and used a 19-2 run to go up 29-8. Even after the pace slowed, Gonzaga still led 45-25 at halftime.

The Bulldogs caused even more problems with their quick hands and feet, swatting down passes and shots to set up transition opportunities.

UCLA took numerous difficult shots and missed most of the open ones it got, going 11 for 41 from the field in the first half.


LAS VEGAS -- Johnny Davis scored a career-high 30 points and Wisconsin beat No. 12 Houston in the Maui Invitational semifinals.

The Cougars erased a 20-point halftime deficit and cut Wisconsin's lead to two on Kyler Edwards' three-pointer with 40 seconds left. With the final possession, Jamal Shead drove baseline and passed to Edwards, who wasn't expecting the feed, costing the Cougars a chance at a final attempt.

Davis finished 10 of 18 from the floor, including 4 of 7 from three-point range, and was 6 for 6 from the free-throw line.

Tyler Wahl chipped in with nine points and seven rebounds, while Brad Davison also had nine points for the Badgers (4-1).

Houston (4-1) was led by Edwards, who had 18 points -- 15 in the second half via five three-pointers -- while Marcus Sasser added 11.

Sasser had a chance to tie it with 47 seconds left, but his attempt clanked off the rim to Davis, who was fouled immediately and made two free throws to push Wisconsin's lead back to 65-60.

Davis sparked the Badgers early, scoring 11 of their first 16 points.



KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kofi Cockburn had 23 points and 13 rebounds, Alfonso Plummer hit seven three-pointers and added 21 points, and No. 14 Illinois held off Kansas State in the consolation game of the Hall of Fame Classic.

Plummer finished 7 of 9 from beyond the arc, and the Illini (3-2) hit 12 of 26 three-pointers, as they bounced back from a 71-51 blowout loss to Cincinnati in the semifinals to avoid their third consecutive loss.

It came at a cost, though: Trent Frazier, who scored 23 points against Marquette but was held scoreless by the Bearcats, hurt his left knee midway through the second half. The Illini guard was 0 for 5 from the field but had five assists at the time.

Markquis Nowell scored 19 points and Nijel Pack had 15 for the Wildcats (2-2), who committed just four turnovers for the entire game. Ismael Massoud added 13 points.



LAS VEGAS -- Quenton Jackson had 15 points and five steals, lifting Texas A&M over Butler in the Maui Invitational.

The Aggies led by 12 at halftime and kept it near double digits most of the second half before Butler chipped it down to 52-48 with just over a minute left.

Butler's Chuck Harris scored on a layup to make it 53-50 with 27 seconds left, but Marcus Williams hit two free throws to send the Aggies (5-1) into today's fifth-place game.

Jair Bolden had 10 points to lead Butler (3-3), which had 19 turnovers that led to 21 Texas A&M points. The Bulldogs shot 36% and hit 5 for 20 three-pointers.


COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Erik Stevenson finished with 25 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists to spark South Carolina.

Stevenson made 9 of 14 shots from the floor, including 5 of 7 from three-point range, for the Gamecocks (4-1).

Jame Reese V pitched in with 15 points and four assists, while Jermaine Couisnard hit 3 three-pointers and scored 14.

South Carolina trailed by as many as eight points in the first half, but Reese and Stevenson both hit from distance in the final 70 seconds to give the Gamecocks a 42-38 lead at intermission.

Sophomore Max Klesmit scored a career-high 27 for Wofford (4-2), hitting 8 of 10 shots with five three-pointers. Isaiah Bigelow scored 13 with seven rebounds, but he made just 3 of 12 shots. Safford had 11 points off the bench, while Ryan Larson scored 10.



NEWARK, N.J. -- Boo Buie had 22 points and six assists, Ryan Young added 17 points and Northwestern beat Georgia for third place at the Roman Legends Classic.

Northwestern led by as many as 24 points in the second half. Georgia got it within 11 points twice in the final five minutes, but the Wildcats kept their double-digit advantage throughout the second half.

Pete Nance had 14 points and nine rebounds, and Ty Berry scored 10 points for Northwestern (5-1). Buie, coming off a career-high 23 points in a loss to Providence, was 8 of 21 from the field.

Ryan Greer highlighted the first half with a steal and heave at midcourt that banked in to give Northwestern a 43-23 lead.



SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. -- Liz Dixon scored 15 points and No. 10 Louisville rolled in its first visit to California in seven years.

It was the first time a top-10 team has ever played at Cal Poly.

The reason for Louisville's first game in California since 2014 was Kianna Smith, whose father, John Smith, is the head men's basketball coach at Cal Poly.

Kianna Smith, a native of Moreno Valley, Calif., made 3 three-pointers and finished with 11 points for the Cardinals (4-1). Her dad sat courtside as the men's team had the night off before playing a tournament game today in San Juan Capistrano, Calif..


COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Jacy Sheldon scored 25 of her career-high 31 points in the first half and Taylor Mikesell added 18 points to help Ohio State beat Bellarmine.

Sheldon was 12 of 15 from the field to top her previous high of 29 points. She also had three steals as Bellarmine turned it over 28 times.

Ohio State (4-0) set a program record for second-quarter points with 39. The Buckeyes were 16-of-24 shooting, going 5 of 7 from distance, in the quarter to help build a 70-33 lead at the break.


Arkansas State 95, College of the Ozarks 49

Playing their second game in as many days, the Red Wolves (4-2) had no issues dispatching the Lady Bobcats at First National Bank Arena in Jonesboro.

ASU blew the game open in the second and third quarters, outscoring the Eagles (3-3) by 36 points.

The Red Wolves had six players in double figures as freshman Jade Upshaw led all scorers with 17 points. Freshman Lauryn Pendleton had 13 points and 13 rebounds and Keya Patton scored 14 pints on 6-of-11 shooting.

Judy Forbes was the high scorer for College of the Ozarks with 12 points and eight rebounds.


Central Arkansas 64, Alcorn State 48

Just four players scored for the Bears, but they were efficient in lifting UCA (3-2) past the Braves at the Farris Center in Conway.

Lucy Ibeh led all scorers with 27 points, going 9 of 14 from the field and hitting 9 of 15 free-throw attempts. The junior from Nigeria also posted a game-high 12 rebounds in just 27 minutes.

Carley Hudspeth scored 15, Randrea Wright had 13 and Hannah Langhi added 9 as the Bears went 20 of 40 from the field as a team.

Alcorn State (0-4) never led after it was up 8-7 midway through the first quarter.

Print Headline: Bright lights suit Gonzaga in 1 vs. 2


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