UCLA Prepares to Face USC on Saturday
LOS ANGELES – UCLA (13-3, 9-1) will take on USC (14-3, 8-2) on Saturday night at the Galen Center in a nationally-televised Pac-12 matchup (ESPN). Game time is 7 p.m. (PT). The Bruins have compiled an all-time record of 143-111 against USC but dropped both games to the Trojans last season. USC won in Pauley Pavilion, 74-63, on Jan. 11 before edging the Bruins, 54-52, in what turned out to be both teams' final game on March 7 (at Galen Center). In 2018-19, both schools split a pair of regular-season games.
Venue: Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom
Game Time: 7 p.m. (PT)
TV Talent: Dave Pasch (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. 84 / Ch. 84
SIRIUSXM Internet Channel: Ch. 84
ABOUT THE BRUINS
- UCLA has won eight of its last nine games. The Bruins are ranked No. 21 in the latest AP and Coaches' Polls.
- The Bruins have won nine of their first 10 league games for the first time since 2007-08 (finished 16-2 that year).
- Dating back to last season, UCLA has won 16 of its past 18 Pac-12 contests (and 24 of 30 overall games).
- Dating back to last January, the Bruins have won 16 consecutive home games (including the last 13 in Pac-12 play).
- Not including Chris Smith (injured), UCLA has four active players who have averaged at least 10.0 points per game.
- UCLA has committed fewer fouls than the opposition in 15 of 16 games (the lone game was at Stanford on Jan. 23).
- Nine players on the Bruins' 14-man roster have each scored at least 10 points in at least one career game with UCLA.
- Jaime Jaquez Jr. (34.6) and Tyger Campbell (33.8) rank third and fifth, respectively, in the Pac-12 in minutes per game.
- Tyger Campbell (11.5 ppg, 6.1 apg) continues to lead all Pac-12 players in assists per game (6.1).
- Tyger Campbell (6.1 apg) ranked No. 16 in the nation, through Tuesday, Feb. 2, in assists per game.
- David Singleton ranked No. 2 in the Pac-12 in 3-point percentage (46.2%, 24-for-52), through Wednesday, Feb. 3.
- Jaime Jaquez Jr. has made at least one 3-pointer in 13 of the Bruins' 16 games this season.
THEY'RE FROM SO-CAL
Ten of UCLA's 14 players grew up in the Southern California region (that includes Cody Riley, who moved with his family from Kansas City to the L.A. area as a sixth grader). Jake Kyman grew up cheering for the Bruins, as his mother (Michelle Kyman) helped the UCLA women's volleyball team secure the 1991 NCAA Championship.
The Bruins' roster includes 10 players who are sophomores and juniors. This season (so far), UCLA has not started any freshmen in a game. That marks the first time since the 1996-97 season in which no freshmen Bruins have had a start. In 2013-14, just two freshmen (Bryce Alford, Zach LaVine) made one start in the same game.
WHAT'S HAPPENED LATELY?
Since absorbing a last-second loss to Stanford, 73-72, in Santa Cruz (Calif.) on Saturday, Jan. 23, the Bruins returned home and secured a 57-52 win over Oregon State last weekend (Saturday, Jan. 30). UCLA had two games on the schedule postponed last weekend (Oregon, COVID-19 related protocols). In the win over Oregon State, Cody Riley logged his fourth double-double of the season (16 points, 10 rebounds). Riley scored 10 of those 16 points in the second half to helped the Bruins increased their 27-25 halftime margin to as many as 11 points in the game's final five minutes.
In two seasons under head coach Mick Cronin, UCLA has gone 15-4 in games decided by five points or fewer (and all contests that finish in overtime, regardless of score margin). Last season, the Bruins went 7-3 in such contests. This year, UCLA has gone 8-1. Through Coach Cronin's final three seasons at Cincinnati (2016-17 through 2018-19), his teams went 18-7 in those games. From 2016-17 through this season, his teams have gone 33-11 in those narrow contests.
Outside of UCLA's 30-point win over Washington State (on Jan. 14), UCLA has had eight games since Dec. 31 that have been within a six-point margin. UCLA has won seven of those eight contests, most recently securing a 57-52 win over Oregon State last Saturday. The Bruins' last two losses have been by seven points or fewer.
70 POINTS OR FEWER
This season, UCLA has compiled a 9-0 record when limiting the opposition to 70 or fewer points. Last season, UCLA went 18-1 when holding the opposition to 70 or fewer points (the lone loss was a 54-52 setback at USC in the final game of the regular season). Through his final three seasons as the head coach at Cincinnati (2016-17 through 2018-19), Coach Cronin's teams went 79-10 when limiting the opposition to 70 or fewer points. Over the past five seasons (2016-17 through 2020-21), his teams have gone 105-11 when holding the opponent to 70 or fewer points (through 152 total games).
Since last season's 74-59 loss to Stanford (Jan. 15, 2020), the Bruins have won 16 of their past 18 Pac-12 games. Those two losses occurred the buzzer – USC's Jonah Mathews hit a game-winning 3-pointer (USC won, 54-52, on March 7), and Stanford's Oscar da Silva made a last-second basket on Saturday, Jan. 23 (Stanford won in overtime, 73-72). Through those 16 Pac-12 victories by UCLA, the Bruins have had seven different players lead the team in scoring.
BEST STARTS IN LEAGUE PLAY
The Bruins opened Pac-12 play with eight straight wins (now 9-1, Pac-12), marking the program's best start in conference play since 1982-83 (opened their Pac-10 slate with nine straight wins). That UCLA team went 15-3 in the Pac-10 (first-place finish, 23-6 overall record). The 1981-82 UCLA team opened Pac-10 play with an 0-3 record before winning 11 consecutive games (14-4 Pac-10 finish, second place). The most recent UCLA team with an undefeated league record was the 1977-78 Bruins under first-year head coach Gary Cunningham (UCLA went 14-0 in the Pac-10 and 25-3 overall).
Cody Riley has established himself as a go-to frontcourt scoring threat, having averaged 10.6 points and 6.0 rebounds in 16 games. Riley has totaled four double-doubles, including a 16-point and 10-rebound performance in UCLA's most recent game – a 57-52 win over Oregon State last Saturday. Riley has started all 16 games for the Bruins, logging noticeable improvements in his field goal percentage (54.8%) and free throw percentage (68.3%). Riley has made 14 of 18 shots from the field in the Bruins' final five minutes of all games (and made 16 of 20 free throws in those late-game situations, as well).
Jalen Hill has averaged 6.5 points and 5.9 rebounds in 14 games, logging 18.6 minutes per game. Hill has shot 55.6 percent from the field (30-for-54) and had a double-double in his first game of the season (UCLA's 78-52 win against Seattle on Dec. 3, 2020). Hill has totaled eight career double-doubles, midway through his third season. Hill leads UCLA in blocked shots (15) and has registered 61 blocks in 77 career games.
Mac Etienne, a 6-foot-9 forward (New York, N.Y.), enrolled at UCLA in 2021 (winter quarter). He spent the past two seasons at Suffield Academy (Connecticut) before transferring to Brewster Academy (New Hampshire) for his senior year. Etienne was ranked as high as No. 31 in the Class of 2020 by 247Sports.com. While on the East Coast, he competed for the Nike PSA Cardinals AAU program and had been the top-ranked player in Connecticut (last season).
LOOKING AT UCLA'S ROSTER
UCLA entered 2020-21 with eight of its 10 primary contributors back from last season's team. The Bruins returned all five starters from the second half of last season (Tyger Campbell, David Singleton, Jaime Jaquez Jr., Chris Smith and Jalen Hill). UCLA also brought back Cody Riley, Jules Bernard and Jake Kyman, as well as Kenneth Nwuba, who took a redshirt year in 2019-20. The program added sophomore Johnny Juzang (transfer from Kentucky) and freshmen Jaylen Clark, Mac Etienne and Logan Cremonesi. The roster currently includes five players who have played in at least 75 games (at UCLA).
Junior Jules Bernard, who grew up in Los Angeles and attended Windward School, has averaged career highs with 9.3 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. He has shot 45.5 percent overall and a career-best 80.4 percent at the free throw line (41-for-51). Bernard has also posted his best minutes-per-game average (25.8) during his three-year collegiate career. He tallied 47 assists and 84 turnovers in his first two seasons but has registered 21 assists and 18 turnovers through 16 games this year. In addition, Bernard has scored in double figures in seven of 16 games.
MORE ABOUT JAIME JAQUEZ JR.
Sophomore Jaime Jaquez Jr. has averaged 12.6 points per game and 5.9 rebounds and is tied for the team lead in steals (19). Jaquez Jr., who hails from Camarillo, Calif., also leads the team in shots made (70) and is second in 3-pointers made (21), having made 40.4% of his 3-point attempts. Through Wednesday, Feb. 3, he ranked No. 3 in th Pac-12 in minutes per game (34.6) and was No. 9 in 3-point shooting percentage (40.4%). He has scored in double figures in 11 of 16 games.
FROM 3-POINT RANGE
Jaime Jaquez Jr. has made 40.4 percent of his 3-point attempts (21-for-52), a noticeable improvement from his freshman season (when he shot 31.3 percent from long range, 25-of-80). Jaquez Jr. has made at least one 3-point attempt in 13 of 16 games. He has made at least two 3-pointers (or more) in six contests.
Senior Chris Smith scored a career-high 30 points last season in a 72-68 victory against Colorado (Jan. 30, 2020). He became UCLA's first player with at least 30 points in a game since Kris Wilkes had 34 points in a home victory over Arizona on Jan. 26, 2019. That marked Smith's first career game with at least 25 points. He scored in double figures in three games as a freshman and 10 as a sophomore and didn't score at least 20 points in a game until the fourth game of the Bruins' 2019-20 campaign (vs. Southern Utah). Smith has totaled 844 points, 401 rebounds and 126 assists in 105 career games.
OUT FOR THE SEASON
Chris Smith sustained a torn ACL in his left knee during UCLA's game against Utah on Dec. 31, 2020. Smith, who led UCLA with 16 points in that game, will miss the remainder of the Bruins' 2020-21 season.