UCLA Men's Basketball Hosts USC on Saturday
LOS ANGELES – UCLA will close its regular-season schedule against USC on Saturday afternoon in Pauley Pavilion. Game time is 1 p.m. The Bruins have gone 13-5 in Pac-12 play this season and could finish anywhere within the top four of the league standings. USC defeated UCLA at the Galen Center on Feb. 6 by a 66-48 margin. The Trojans had secured a 30-20 lead at halftime and controlled that game throughout the second half. Johnny Juzang finished with team highs of 13 points and 13 rebounds in the loss to USC.
Venue: Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom
Tipoff Time: 1:10 p.m. (PT)
TV Talent: Spero Dedes (play-by-play), Jim Spanarkel (analyst)
Radio (UCLA Sports Network): AM 570
Radio Talent: Josh Lewin (play-by-play), Tracy Murray (analyst)
SIRIUS / XM Radio Channel: Ch. 373
SIRIUSXM Internet Channel: Ch. 373
BRUIN GAMEDAY LIVE PREGAME SHOW
Starting 30 minutes before Saturday's home game, Bruin Gameday Live will bring fans inside Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom. The live simulcast of the pregame radio show is hosted by Josh Lewin and Tracy Murray. UCLA will honor senior Chris Smith, in addition to two senior student assistants (manager, athletic trainer), prior to the start of Saturday afternoon's contest against USC. Bruin Gameday Live also includes one 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 complements the TV and radio broadcasts with game stats, a social media feed, prize giveaways, and more. Bookmark BruinGamedayLive.com on all connected devices to watch the team's virtual game day experience.
ABOUT THE BRUINS
- UCLA has gone 13-5 in Pac-12 play, including an 8-0 mark in home games and a 5-5 record away from Pauley Pavilion.
- Dating back to last season, UCLA has won 20 of its past 26 Pac-12 contests (and 28 of 38 overall games).
- Dating back to last January, the Bruins have won 18 consecutive home games (including the last 15 in Pac-12 play).
- Not including Chris Smith (injured), UCLA has five active players who have averaged at least 10.0 points per game.
- UCLA has averaged 73.0 points and has shot 51.6 percent (142-for-275) from the field in the last five games.
- The Bruins have committed fewer fouls than the opposition in 20 of 24 games this season.
- Tyger Campbell (10.6 ppg, 5.7 apg) ranks second in the Pac-12 (5.7) and third in assist-turnover ratio (2.8-to-1).
- Jaime Jaquez Jr. (33.6) ranks sixth in minutes per game among all Pac-12 players (through Wednesday, March 3).
- Jules Bernard has shot 54.2 percent from the field, averaging 13.8 points and 4.2 rebounds, in UCLA's last five games.
- David Singleton ranks No. 3 in the Pac-12 in 3-point percentage (46.3%, 31-for-67), through Wednesday, March 3.
WE'RE FROM SoCAL
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 Los Angeles when he was in the sixth grade). Jake Kyman grew up cheering for UCLA, as his mother (Michelle) helped the UCLA women's volleyball team capture the 1991 NCAA Championship.
UCLA's roster includes 10 players who are sophomores or juniors. This season, the Bruins have not started a freshman in any game. That marks the first time since 1996-97 in which no UCLA freshmen have had a start. In 2013-14, two freshmen (Bryce Alford, Zach LaVine) made just one start in the same game.
THE PAST THREE GAMES
Jules Bernard and Johnny Juzang have each averaged 16.3 points in the Bruins' last three games, a challenging stretch that has featured a road win at Utah (Feb. 25) and losses at Colorado (Feb. 27) and Oregon (March 3). Bernard scored a career-high 23 points in the team's 82-74 loss at Oregon on Wednesday night (10-for-16 from the field, 3-for-5 from 3-point distance). Juzang scored a team-leading 25 points in UCLA's loss at Colorado last Saturday evening.
UCLA has put itself in contention to secure the Pac-12's regular-season title for the first time since 2013. The Bruins have gone 13-5 in Pac-12 play. A win by UCLA this Saturday afternoon (1 p.m., PT), coupled with an Oregon loss at Oregon State on Sunday (5 p.m., PT), would cement the Bruins as this season's Pac-12 regular-season champion. Last season, Oregon won the Pac-12's regular-season title as UCLA dropped a 54-52 decision at USC on March 7, 2020. A win by the Bruins in that game would have handed UCLA a split of the league's regular-season title, along with Oregon.
UCLA's team has five players who are currently averaging at least 10.0 points per game (not including the injured Chris Smith). In fact, 10 players on the Bruins' current roster have scored at least 10 points in one game this season. Jules Bernard tallied a career-best 23 points in a loss at Oregon on Wednesday (March 3). Five of UCLA's players who could be in uniform against USC on Saturday afternoon, have scored at least 20 points in one game this year.
Through two seasons under head coach Mick Cronin, UCLA has gone 17-4 in games decided by five points or fewer (and all contests that have finished in overtime, regardless of score margin). Last season, the Bruins went 7-3 in those narrow contests. This year, UCLA has gone 10-1. Through Coach Cronin's final three seasons at Cincinnati (2016-17 through 2018-19), his teams went 18-7 in those situations. From 2016-17 through the 2020-21 season, Coach Cronin's teams have gone 35-11 in such contests. Five of the Bruins' last six victories have been by five points or fewer.
70 POINTS OR FEWER
UCLA has gone 12-2 when limiting the opposition to 70 or fewer points. Last season, UCLA went 18-1 in such situations (lone loss, 54-52, at USC in the regular season finale). Through his final three seasons as Cincinnati's head coach (2016-17 through 2018-19), Coach Cronin's teams went 79-10 when holding the opposition to 70 or fewer points. Over the past five seasons, his teams have gone 108-13 when limiting the opponent to 70 or fewer points (through 159 total games).
UCLA AND THE PAC-12
- UCLA opened Pac-12 play with eight straight victories, the program's best start in conference play since 1982-83 when UCLA opened its Pac-10 slate with nine consecutive wins. That UCLA team finished 15-3 in the Pac-10 (frst place, 23-6 overall). The most recent UCLA team to go undefeated in league play was the 1977-78 squad (14-0 in the Pac-10).
- The Bruins are seeking their first Pac-12 regular-season title since 2012-13. That year, UCLA went 13-5 in the Pac-12 and finished as the runner-up in the Pac-12 Tournament (lost to Oregon). UCLA last played in the Pac-12 Tournament's title game in 2014 (UCLA defeated Arizona, 75-71). The Bruins won the conference tournament in 1987, 2006, 2008 and 2014. Last season's Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Entering this Saturday's home game against USC, the Bruins have won 13 of 17 Pac-12 contests this season and 24 of their past 31 league games (starting with last year's home victory over California on Jan. 19, 2020). Through that stretch of 31 Pac-12 games (since Jan. 19, 2020), the Bruins have gone 14-2 in contests that have been decided by five points or fewer, or ended in overtime (regardless of the game's final score margin).
DOWN THE STRETCH
The 1973-74 season marked the last time UCLA and USC entered the final week of the season both in contention for the conference title, while also facing each other in the final game. UCLA defeated USC on the road, 82-52, on March 9, 1974, finishing with a 12-2 league record (USC was 11-3). The last time that UCLA and USC finished in the top two in the conference standings was in 1991-92 (UCLA won the league title with a 16-2 mark). The Bruins and Trojans also finished first and second, respectively, in 1978-79, and were the Pac-10's only teams in the NCAA Tournament.
Tyger Campbell has become UCLA's first point guard to start in that role for two consecutive seasons since Bryce Alford (sophomore in 2014-15, junior in 2015-16). In fact, UCLA has had eight different players serve as the primary "starting" point guard over the past 10 seasons (2011-12 through 2020-21). Campbell has averaged 10.6 points and 5.7 assists per game during his sophomore season. His assist-to-turnover ratio (2.8) ranks No. 3 among all Pac-12 players. Campbell registered a season-high 12 assists in the Bruins' Pac-12 opener against California on Dec. 6, 2020.
Utah did not attempt any free throws in the Bruins' 76-61 win in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Feb. 25. In fact, UCLA made 3 of 4 free throws in the game and only committed seven fouls. That marked UCLA's first game since Nov. 19, 2005 in which the Bruins had limited the opposition to zero free throw attempts (UCLA defeated Delaware State, 56-37, in that contest). Since the 1970-71 season, UCLA has had just two games where the opposition hasn't attempted a free throw.
Sophomore Johnny Juzang scored a career-high 32 points in a 64-61 win at Washington (Feb. 13, 2021). He became UCLA's first player with at least 30 points in a game since Chris Smith (against Colorado, Jan. 30, 2020, in Pauley Pavilion). Juzang's 32-point effort at Washington marked the most points in a game by any UCLA player since Kris Wilkes had 34 points during his sophmore season in a home win over Arizona (Jan. 26, 2019). Aaron Holiday is UCLA's most recent player to have scored 30 points (or more) in multiple games in one season (2017-18, with four games of 30+ points).
UCLA has won its last 18 home games, a streak that began with last year's 50-40 win over California on Jan. 19, 2020. The Bruins had dropped to 8-9 overall with a 74-59 loss to Stanford last season on Jan. 15. The Bruins' 18-game home winning streak marks the program's best such streak (at home) since securing 25 consecutive home victories from Feb. 2006 through Nov. 2007. Most recently, UCLA had a perfect home record in 2006-07, going 16-0 in Pauley Pavilion.