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UCLA Beats Gonzaga On the Road 71-66

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The win gives UCLA their second win over a Top 25 team in 10 days.

Isaac Hamilton led the Bruins with 20 points as UCLA downed Gonzaga in Spokane.
Isaac Hamilton led the Bruins with 20 points as UCLA downed Gonzaga in Spokane.
James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

UCLA jumped out to a quick 10-3 and 13-5 lead behind a pair of three-pointers from Isaac Hamilton. However, Kyle Wintjer proved why he is considered one of the best in college basketball hitting three long threes in a row to narrow the gap to three, 17-14. The big-big lineup hurt this time because Tony Parker has never been matched with a guy that can shoot that far out.

Steve Alford countered with Jonah Bolden. Bolden was able to slow down Wintjer and really tease the future. He did a great job posting up a very good power forward in Sabonis which resulted in a pair of free throws (of which he made one) to give UCLA a 19-14 lead with just under ten minutes to go in the first half. Bolden added a layup a few minutes later to make in 24-20 with 7:07 to go in the half. He also showed why he is not ready now, as he, at other times, stayed outside on offense and had two ugly three misses.

However, as parts of the starting five of both teams went out, the game started to bog down. Then Prince Ali turned his ankle. At this point, UCLA had Alex Olesinski at the three. Alex really works hard. However, he is definitely a step down from other Bruins. There were also some bizarre calls.

A jumper by Gonzaga's Josh Perkins with 2:57 to go tied the game at 28 each while a pair of Kyle Wiltjer free throws gave the Zags their first lead of the game with just over two minutes to go. At the end of the first half, UCLA was trailing 32-30.

With just two minutes gone in the second half, Domantas Sabonis was fouled by Thomas Welch. Sabonis' shot went in and he made the free throws to complete a three-point play which stretched Gonzaga's lead to 37-32.

The Bruins went on a 6-0 run at that point with two layups by Tony Parker and a jumper from Bryce Alford as UCLA took a 38-37 lead.

Over the next six and a half minutes, the teams battled back in forth through eight lead changes and the Zags led 48-47 with 10:25 to go in the game.

Then, Isaac Hamilton nailed a three-pointer with nine and a half minutes left to give the Bruins a 50-48 lead and it turned out that it also gave UCLA the lead for good. The Bruins also went on a 9-0 run to take a 56-48 lead with just 6:31.

But UCLA was playing Gonzaga, a team that beat them twice last season, and the Zags weren't going to just roll over and die. Gonzaga went on a 12-5 run of their own to cut UCLA's lead to one point 61-60 with less than four minutes to go.

Following a UCLA timeout with 1:23 left, Thomas Welch missed a layup, but was able to get the tip in to make it 67-64. That shot would prove to be the game-winner as Gonzaga could only make a pair of free throws down the stretch.

UCLA's Isaac Hamilton and Gonzaga's Kyle Wiltjer led their teams with 20 points each while Jonah Bolden recorded a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

The win gives UCLA its second win in as many tries over a Top 25 team in the past week and a half. It also gives UCLA a win over a quality team on the road. Last season, it was said that UCLA didn't deserve to make the NCAA Tournament because the team was missing a signature win. This year's team now has two signature wins in just ten days.

The Bruins will host Louisiana-Lafayette at Pauley Pavilion on Tuesday at 6pm before heading to Brooklyn to take on North Carolina in the CBS Sports Classic next Saturday at the Barclays Center.

Go Bruins!!!