Remembering UCLA Gonzaga 2006; Where were you?


Another UCLAGonzaga Sweet 16 matchup is right around the corner, it’s almost impossible not to recall the original matchup. Monday was the nine year anniversary of a March Madness all-time classic, when the second seeded Bruins came back from down 17 to stun the third seeded Bulldogs.

Pac-12 Networks re-aired the game Wednesday night. Yahoo! Sports published a Jeff Eisenberg article Wednesday afternoon, in which he revisited the epic showdown with accounts from several players and coaches involved with the game.

With UCLA coming into Friday night as an underdog, now’s as good a time as ever for a reminder that anything could happen. Where were you when it all went down? Comment with your stories in the comment section below.

It’s time for a trip down memory lane. Next stop: HEART! BREAK! CITY!

March 23rd, 2006 was a Thursday, a school night. UCLA-Gonzaga’s 7 PM tip-off meant that the second half would be played past my bedtime of 8:30. If I wanted to watch the whole game, I was going to need to win a stand-off with my Mom.

Where were you when it all went down? Comment with your stories in the comment section below.

I was a first grader at the time, I went to a fair number of games, but I never had truly experienced Bruin postseason greatness in my lifetime. My earliest UCLA memory in March Madness is a first round loss against Texas Tech.

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As if I didn’t already have enough of a reason to be emotionally invested in that night’s contest, my Dad had promised me that if the Bruins were going to Oakland for the Elite Eight, then so would we. A chance to attend my first ever UCLA playoff game was on the line, and I couldn’t have wanted anything in that moment more than a victory over Gonzaga.

Right from the get-go, it seemed as though I would be watching the slow death of my dream. At some point in the first half, I cut a deal with my Mom: if we trailed by more than 12 at the half, I would go to bed. The last 60 seconds of the half were very stressful ones for me.

“The STEAL! FARMAR! INSIDE, THE FRESHMAN [incoherent yelling]…WHAT! A! GAME!”

Ultimately, the Bruins cut Gonzaga’s lead to 42-29 at the half.

I am naïve when it comes to outcomes in sports; I always have been. I don’t know if it was my adamant refusal to admit defeat, my being an absolute pest, or my Mom’s feeling of genuine sympathy for me, but I was allowed to stay up for the second half.

What followed was unforgettable. Everything other than the final minute is still fuzzy to me, but I still vividly remember the final seconds, and Gus Johnson screaming, “The STEAL! FARMAR! INSIDE, THE FRESHMAN [incoherent yelling]…WHAT! A! GAME!”

Of course, the image that remains ingrained in my head is Adam Morrison, lying on the floor, crying to the tune of a berserk Johnson declaring, “HEART! BREAK! CITY!”

I called my Dad. I jumped on the bed. I called my elementary school principle (a fellow Bruin fan who also happened to be my best friend’s mother).

This is what March Madness is about. Emotion. Memories. Glory. Defeat. Miracles.

Here are the final moments of that instant classic:

Comment your story below, and remember tomorrow night, anything can happen.