Bruins Stifle Michigan to Advance to Final Four
INDIANAPOLIS – Behind 28 points from Johnny Juzang, the 11th-seeded Bruins defeated No. 1-seed Michigan, 51-49, on Tuesday to win the NCAA East Regional Final and advance to the Final Four for the first time since 2008.
UCLA (22-9) will face No. 1-seed Gonzaga, the winner of the West Region, in the National Semifinals on Saturday, April 3 at 5:34 p.m. PT/8:34 p.m. ET at Lucas Oil Stadium. The game will be televised on CBS.
The Bruins join VCU (2011) as the only teams to advance to the Final Four after starting in the First Four, and become the fifth No. 11 seed to make the Final Four. UCLA held Michigan to a season-low total in points and nearly 28 points under its season average, forcing 14 turnovers and holding the Wolverines to a 39.2 field goal percentage.
Juzang was 11-for-19 from the field, with Tyger Campbell adding 11 points. Jules Bernard posted nine rebounds and four points, Jaime Jaquez Jr. tallied six rebounds, four points and four assists and Kenneth Nwuba played some great defense, grabbing five boards.
Juzang was named the Most Outstanding Player of the East Region, and was joined on the All-Tournament Team by Campbell and Jaquez Jr.
After a slugging shooting start for the Bruins, Juzang jump-started the UCLA offense. Down 11-4 midway through the first half, Juzang scored each of the Bruins' next 12 points, with a pair of Jaquez Jr. free throws making it 18-17, giving them their first advantage since they led 4-2 early on.
A Campbell three with a minute remaining gave UCLA a half-best lead of four at 27-23, which would also be the halftime score, as the Bruins ended the first on a 23-12 run. UCLA's stifling defense held Michigan to just 10 field goals, forcing nine turnovers in the first 20 minutes.
Halftime didn't stop the Bruin run, as they scored seven of the first nine points after intermission to get the lead to a game-high nine at 34-25. Michigan (23-5) would make its run, scoring eight points in a row to cut its deficit to one with 12:35 left. The Wolverines eventually re-took the lead at 43-42 at the 7:06 mark.
But the Bruins' defense would rise to the occasion, holding Michigan without a field goal for the final 5:22. Trailing 47-46 with 4:30 left, a Bernard jumper gave UCLA the lead for good. Juzang scored the Bruins' final basket with just over a minute remaining, as a couple of attempts for the Wolverines in the final few seconds rang off the iron to send UCLA to the Final Four.