UCLA Edges Colorado, 65-62, in Pac-12 Showdown
LOS ANGELES – Jaime Jaquez Jr. scored a game-high 14 points as the UCLA men's basketball team defeated Colorado, 65-62, in a Pac-12 contest at Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom on Saturday evening.
UCLA (7-2, 3-0 Pac-12) recorded its 13th consecutive home victory, as all five starters scored in double figures. Jules Bernard finished with 12 points and seven rebounds. Tyger Campbell had 11 points, while Cody Riley and Johnny Juzang each netted 10 points.
The Bruins announced prior to the game that senior Chris Smith had suffered a torn ACL in his left knee during the win over Utah on Thursday, Dec. 31. Smith will miss the remainder of the season.
Smith's teammates responded with a Pac-12 victory, as UCLA improved to 3-0 in Pac-12 play.
"This game got real physical early, and it was just that way on both ends the whole game," said Mick Cronin, The Michael Price Family UCLA Men's Head Basketball Coach. "Cody and Jalen [Hill] adjusted better to that as the game went on, obviously getting 38 points in the paint, getting ourselves to the foul line enough to get enough points to win. We didn't get anything going from beyond the arc. Give credit to Colorado. They're a top-25 team, number 22 in the KenPom [rankings], coming into today."
Colorado's McKinley Wright IV scored 12 points to pace the visiting Buffaloes (7-3, 1-2 Pac-12). Jeriah Horne and Eli Parquet each added 10 points.
Following a back-and-forth first half that saw the score tied eight times, the Bruins never trailed in the second half. While UCLA made just 3 of 15 shots from 3-point territory, UCLA registered 38 points in the pain. Jalen Hill finished with eight points – connecting on all three shot attempts – and had six rebounds off the bench for the Bruins
UCLA missed eight of its first 10 shot attempts, but found its offensive stride just before the midway point in the first half. The Bruins made six of their next seven shots, with Jaquez Jr. scoring all eight of his first-half points during that stretch. Campbell led all scorers with nine points in the first half, as both teams enter the locker room tied, 29-29, at the intermission.
The Bruins led 38-32 early in the second half before Colorado answered with six consecutive points. UCLA responded, pushing its advantage to 44-38 with 13:11 to play.
Colorado continued to remain within striking distance, thanks largely to Horne, who scored all 10 of his points in the second half.
UCLA extended its cushion to a game-high seven points on a pair of free throws from Riley with 2:16 remaining.
Colorado trailed UCLA, 62-55, with two minutes left before Maddox Daniels hit a 2-point shot. On Colorado's next possession, Wright IV nailed a jump shot to pull the Buffaloes to within 62-59.
With one minute to play, Colorado blocked a shot by Campbell and secured possession. The Buffaloes missed a pair of 3-point attempts with under 28 seconds to play.
Juzang was fouled after securing an inbounds pass and hit both free throws to push UCLA's margin to 64-59. A 3-point shot by Daniels with just under four seconds to play was successful, but the Buffaloes were unable to pull any closer before the final buzzer had sounded.
The Bruins will return to action at Arizona State on Thursday, Jan. 7. That game will be televised by ESPN. UCLA's road contest is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. PT (8:30 p.m. MT, in Tempe).