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UCLA Men's Hoops to Host Cal This Sunday

Dec 4, 2020
Chris Smith (photo by Eric Hurd / UCLA)

Cal's Notes (PDF) | UCLA's Notes (PDF) | UCLA's Information Guide

LOS ANGELES – The Bruins will open their Pac-12 schedule against California this Sunday evening (5 p.m., PT) in Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom. This will mark the earliest point in any season in which UCLA has played a league game (in the modern era, as game-by-game records from the 1920s are somewhat ambiguous). Last year, the Bruins won the lone matchup against California, 50-40, in Los Angeles on Jan. 19, 2020. UCLA has won the last six contests in the long-standing series against the Golden Bears. UCLA has registered an eight-game winning streak against California in Pauley Pavilion.
Venue: Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom
Tipoff Time: 5:06 p.m. (PT)
Television: Pac-12 Network
TV Talent: Ted Robinson (play-by-play), Bill Walton (analyst)
Radio (UCLA Sports Network): AM 570
Radio Talent: Josh Lewin (play-by-play), Tracy Murray (analyst)
SIRIUS / XM Radio Channels: Ch. 111 / Ch. 197
SIRIUSXM Internet Channel: Ch. 959
Starting 30 minutes before all home games, Bruin Gameday Live will bring fans inside Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom. The live simulcast of the pregame radio show will be hosted by Josh Lewin and Tracy Murray. The show will feature an exclusive interview with head coach Mick Cronin, a matchup scouting report, live shots of the team warmups as well as popular videoboard segments such as the intro video, heritage video and appearances by the UCLA Spirit Squad and the UCLA Band. Once the game starts, Bruin Gameday Live will serve to complement the TV and radio broadcasts with game stats, a social media feed, prize giveaways, and more. Bookmark on all connected devices to watch this new virtual game day experience.
The last time in which the Bruins lost to California in Pauley Pavilion was Feb. 6, 2010. The Golden Bears earned a victory in L.A. back in 2012, but the Bruins were playing at the L.A. Sports Arena that season. Looking at the record book, UCLA had opened its Pac-10 schedule in the sixth game of the 1988-89 season (UCLA defeated California on Dec. 21, 1988, by a 76-59 margin). That appears to be the earliest – during a regular season – in which UCLA has played a conference game. The Bruins had opened their 1966-67 schedule with a non-conference contest against crosstown rival USC (Dec. 3, 1966 – UCLA won that game, 105-90).
Tyger Campbell scored a team-leading 17 points and had six assists to pace the Bruins past Seattle, 78-52, in UCLA's first home game last Thursday night. Campbell made a career-high eight free throws (8-for-8) and had a pair of steals. Jalen Hill had a double-double (11 points, 10 rebounds) in his first game of the season, while Jules Bernard registered 16 points. UCLA led Seattle at halftime, 43-29, and pushed ahead by as many as 20 points with just under 14 minutes to play in the second half. The Bruins shot a season-best 54.9 percent from the field, making 28 of 51 shots.
Three UCLA players logged at least 50 minutes in the Bruins' 107-98 victory against Pepperdine in San Diego on Friday, Nov. 27. Tied at 70-70 after two halves, UCLA and Pepperdine battled an additional 15 minutes. Chris Smith finished the game with 26 points and 12 rebounds (career-high 51 minutes). Jaime Jaquez Jr. (16 points, 11 rebounds) never exited the contest. The sophomore from Camarillo, Calif., played all 55 minutes, the highest single-game total by a UCLA player since a four-overtime contest on Feb. 28, 1985, in which Reggie Miller and Nigel Miguel each played 59 minutes.
UCLA's 107-98 win over Pepperdine on Nov. 27 marked the Bruins' first game that lasted at least three overtime sessions since Feb. 28, 1985 (the Bruins lost to USC in Pauley Pavilion, 80-78, in four OT). Prior that contest in 1985, the Bruins had not played a game into three overtime sessions since Jan. 2, 1982 (UCLA lost at Washington State, 57-51). UCLA had not won a game that lasted at least three OT since Feb. 24, 1979. In that contest, No. 1-ranked UCLA escaped at Washington State with an 110-102 win in 3-OT. UCLA has played one game into 4-OT and five games into 3-OT (including last Friday).
The Bruins have returned eight of their primary 10 contributors from last season's team. All five starters from the second half of last season have returned (Tyger Campbell, David Singleton, Jaime Jaquez Jr., Chris Smith and Jalen Hill). Also back for the Bruins are Cody Riley, Jules Bernard and Jake Kyman, as well as Kenneth Nwuba, who took a redshirt year in 2019-20. UCLA has added sophomore Johnny Juzang (transfer from the University of Kentucky) and freshmen Jaylen Clark and Logan Cremonesi. In all, the Bruins have returned 88.8% of their total scoring output from last season.
Senior Chris Smith has entered the season as UCLA's most experienced player. He has now played in all 100 games for UCLA since the start of the 2017-18 campaign, averaging 7.9 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. Last season, Smith earned first-team All-Pac-12 acclaim, having led the Bruins in scoring (13.1 ppg). He has become the first UCLA player to secure first-team all-league honors in a season (2019-20) and return the next year, since Reeves Nelson in the fall of 2011 (Nelson was a first-team selection in 2010-11, returned in the fall of 2011 and was dismissed from the team in Dec. 2011).
Chris Smith registered career-high percentages across the board last season. He shot 45.8% from the field and saw noticeable increases from the 3-point arc (34.1%) and the free throw line (84.0%). He scored more points last season (406) than he had in his two previous seasons combined (337).
- Last season, UCLA went 18-1 when limiting the opposition to 73 points or fewer (the loss was at USC on March 7).
- UCLA has returned 86.2% of its total rebounding production and 91.3% of its total assists from last year.
- Jaime Jaquez Jr. has scored in double figures in 16 of the team's last 28 games (since the Chaminade game last season).
- The Bruins won 11 of their final 14 games last season, holding teams to 64.7 points per game in that span.
- Including transfer Johnny Juzang, UCLA has nine players who have scored at least 10 points in a college game.
- The Bruins lead the Pac-12 in most returning 3-point production – 87.6% of the team's 3-point shooting returns.
Sophomore Jaime Jaquez Jr. has played in 91 of the team's 95 minutes through two games. Jaquez Jr. will enter this Thursday's contest having averaged 16.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in two contests. The former standout at Camarillo High School (Camarillo, Calif.) shot 47.8 percent from the field last week (games against San Diego State and Pepperdine). Last season, Jaquez Jr. led the Bruins in total minutes played during Pac-12 play (556 minutes, 30.9 mpg).
The Bruins are slated to host the University of San Diego next Wednesday evening and Marquette on Friday night. UCLA has gone 4-1 in the all-time series against San Diego, most recently matching up against the Toreros in the non-conference portion of the 2016-17 season (the third game that season). UCLA defeated USD, 86-68, in Pauley Pavilion (Nov. 17, 2016). In that victory, TJ Leaf had 26 points and 10 rebounds, connecting on 11 of 13 shots from the field. UCLA has gone 2-0 all-time against the Marquette Golden Eagles, with both of those meetings having occurred in Dec. 1949 and Dec. 1964.
Sophomore guard Tyger Campbell led all Pac-12 players in assist-turnover ratio last season (2.79-to-1) and ranked third in the league in assists per game (5.0). He tallied at least 10 assists in two games, including a season-best 14 assists (and three turnovers) in a victory against Arizona State (Feb. 27). In the game prior, Campbell had 11 assists (and just one turnover) in UCLA's 70-63 win at No. 18 Colorado. Campbell's season-high 14 assists in the win over ASU marked the most single-game assists by a UCLA freshman, tied with Lonzo Ball's 14-assist effort against Washington State (March 4, 2017).
Senior guard Chris Smith scored a career-high 30 points last season in a 72-68 victory at home against Colorado (Jan. 30, 2020. The 6-foot-9 guard became UCLA's first player with at least 30 points in a game since Kris Wilkes finished with 34 points in a win over Arizona on Jan. 26, 2019. That marked the first game in his career in which he had scored at least 25 points. Smith, who scored in double figures in three games as a freshman and 10 contests as a sophomore, did not score at least 20 points in a game until the fourth game last season (20 points, vs. Southern Utah on Nov. 18, 2019).
The Bruins bring back a pair of redshirt juniors in the frontcourt with Jalen Hill and Cody Riley. As a sophomore last season, Hill averaged 9.0 points and 6.9 rebounds per game, totaling four double-doubles and securing honorable mention Pac-12 All-Defensive Team accolades. Riley averaged 8.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game and scored in double figures in seven of the final nine games. He totaled 19 points in a victory over Washington State (Feb. 13, 2020), scoring 11 points in the overtime sessions. Both Hill (54.4 FG pct.) and Riley (50.1 FG pct.) have shot over 50 percent from the field in their careers.