Gonzaga’s Drew Timme ends his historic career with a loss at UConn
Gonzaga was down 10 points early in the second half in Saturday night’s West Regional final against UConn, but Julian Strawther just grabbed a defensive rebound, and the Bulldogs may have made a run.
But then came a whistle. Zag forward Drew Timm picked up his fourth foul. Soon after, it became clear that Gonzaga’s NCAA Championship the run would be over.
Without him, the third-ranked Bulldogs were no match for No. 4 UConn, which pulled away. to win 82-54 and end Timmer’s college career.
Timm, who gained notoriety for his masterful inside moves and world-class mustache, put together perhaps the finest college career in recent memory. He threw it back because of his skillful low-post play and spending four years at the same school.
“I’m so grateful that the program and the place have embraced me for who I am,” Timm said. “They didn’t ask me to be anyone but myself. I am forever in debt to Gonzaga, just my love for everyone who made this trip so special and fun for me. I don’t think I’ll ever pay that.
“I would do anything for Gonzaga. I always will. This is not a goodbye; it’s until later”.
The emotions were clear on Timme’s red face as he covered it with a towel several times. As the postgame press conference was about to begin, he sniffled.
But Timm held it together when the questions came, including his fourth foul with less than three minutes left in the second half. That came after he was whistled for a charge 26 seconds into the half.
“The bottom line is they were the better team tonight,” Timm said of UConn. “They made more shots. They got the balls 50-50. Whether we want to say it or not, the referees did not control that game.’
Timme, who had 12 points and 10 rebounds against the Huskies, leaves knowing he left his mark not just at Gonzaga but on college hoops.
He holds the Gonzaga scoring record with 2,307 points and has led the Zagas to the Sweet 16 each of the past three seasons and to the national title game in 2021.
“I think he’s one of the greatest college players of this modern era,” coach Mark Few said. “He has won at the highest level. We leaned on him as hard as we lean on a player, and he delivered time and time again.
“But that’s just a small part. He is a larger than life character. It was wonderful to train him.’
Gonzaga will have a new man at center next season, and it will be like the Bulldogs got a taste of that experience when Timme sat for about three minutes and outscored UConn 58-37.
By the time Timme reentered the game, the Huskies were on their way to their fourth straight game in as many games.
Had Timm never picked up that fourth foul, the Huskies likely still would have pulled away, but the call changed the tone of the game and sped up the rout.
“You try to stay positive,” Bulldogs forward Anton Watson said. “We tried to get the team together and keep positive thoughts and try to keep the lead going, but it’s hard when Drew gets kicked out.”
It was another disappointing end to the season for Gonzaga, which is still looking for its first national championship. Expectations were low for what would happen this year, so making the Elite Eight was a victory in itself.
The Zags can thank Timme, who entered the game averaging a team-leading 21.5 points and 7.5 rebounds, for helping them get there.
“I don’t think anybody thought we’d make it this far this year,” Timm said. “The things we’ve overcome as a team and the way we’ve been together, I think, speaks to who we are as people, more than just players.”