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Bruins Topped by SDSU in Season Opener, 73-58

Nov 25, 2020
Chris Smith (photo: Derrick Tuskan/SDSU)

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SAN DIEGO, Calif. – The No. 22 UCLA men's basketball team suffered a 73-58 loss to San Diego State on Wednesday night at Viejas Arena in the season-opening game for both programs.
UCLA (0-1) opened a season with a true road game for the first time since 1985-86 and faced San Diego State (1-0) for just the third time since 1991.
The Bruins were led offensively by sophomore guard Jaime Jaquez Jr., who had a team-high 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting (including a trio of 3-point makes). Junior forward Cody Riley opened his campaign with a double-double (14 points, 12 rebounds) in nearly 31 minutes.
San Diego State had four players finish in double-digit scoring. Matt Mitchell and Jordan Schakel with tallied a team-leading 15 points. The Aztecs shot 46.6% from the field as a team, including a 55.6% clip in the second half.
The Bruins got off to a hot start on Wednesday, opening the game on a 6-0 run – courtesy of three-pointers from senior guard Chris Smith and Jaquez Jr. – and eventually taking a 14-9 lead into the first media timeout.  
A putback lay-up from Jaquez Jr. put the Bruins up 19-15 at the 12:24 mark, and that basket ensured that UCLA would remain in the lead past the halfway mark of the opening half.
The host Aztecs started to gain momentum from there, reeling off eight consecutive points – a run capped off by a Nathan Mensah jumper with 7:26 remaining – to make it 23-19 and ultimately take the lead for good.
Smith was the focal point of UCLA's offense in the first half, scoring a team-high 10 points in the frame on 3-5 shooting. Jaquez Jr. added seven points and Riley had five boards.
With Smith in foul trouble, Jaquez Jr. and Riley stepped up to pace the offense with 10 points apiece in the second half. But UCLA struggled as a whole offensively in the closing 20 minutes, shooting just 6-21 (28.6%) for the half. SDSU meanwhile had six different players score at least five points in the second half, with all but one of those players shooting 50% or better from the floor.
UCLA returns to action against Pepperdine at SDSU's Viejas Arena this Friday. Game time is 12 p.m. (PT). The Bruins' contest will be televised live the Pac-12 Network, with J.B. Long and Don MacLean on the call.