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College basketball: No. 1 Gonzaga hammers No. 2 UCLA, wins Empire Classic

Nov. 24 (UPI) -- Andrew Nembhard and Drew Timme scored 24 and 18 points, respectively, to lead No. 1 Gonzaga to a blowout victory over No. 2 UCLA in a matchup between two men's college basketball early season title favorites.

Top prospect Chet Holmgren chipped in 15 points, six rebounds and four blocks in the 83-63 win the Empire Classic tournament on Tuesday at T-Mobile Arena in Paradise, Nev.

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"It reminded me of something you'd see in a regional final or regional semifinal," Gonzaga coach Mark Few told reporters.

"It was a great atmosphere and it matched perfectly for the game, what was at stake and the two teams that were out there."

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Gonzaga shot 56% and led by as many as 24 points in the decisive victory. UCLA made just 2 of 12 3-point attempts and shot 34.8% overall.

Myles Johnson made a layup 27 seconds into the game to give the Bruins a 2-0 lead. The Bruins never led again.

Gonzaga responded with an 8-0 run. The Bulldogs added a 19-2 run later in the half to push the lead to 29-8. They led 45-25 af the end of the first half. Nembhard scored 13 points in the first 20 minutes.

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Holmgren threw in a dunk 2:24 into the second half to give the Bulldogs a 49-25 edge. UCLA responded with a 12-5 run, but couldn't close the gap. Timme scored 12 points over the final 20 minutes to secure the Bulldogs victory.

Junior Jaime Jaquez Jr. led UCLA with 19 points and six rebounds. Fellow guard Johnny Juzang scored 11 points in the loss. Gonzaga sophomore guard Julian Strawther totaled 12 points and nine rebounds in the victory.

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"We're not a good defensive team and we got exposed by a great team," UCLA coach Mick Cronin said. "They're a great team. Their defense was better than ours. Their offense was better than ours.

"We started trying to move the ball and play team basketball, but it was too late, obviously, when you get down 20 to them."

Gonzaga (6-0) faces Duke (6-0) at 10:30 p.m. EST Friday in Paradise. UCLA (5-1) battles UNLV (3-3) at 5 p.m. Saturday in Paradise.

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