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No. 2 UCLA Falls to No. 1 Gonzaga, 83-63

Nov 23, 2021
Jaime Jaquez Jr. (Photo by Jesus Ramirez)

LAS VEGAS – Jaime Jaquez Jr. totaled 19 points and six rebounds as the No. 2-ranked UCLA men's basketball team lost to No. 1-ranked Gonzaga, 83-63, on Tuesday evening in the Good Sam Empire Classic at T-Mobile Arena.
 
The Bruins (5-1) trailed at halftime by a 45-25 margin and never closed the gap to any fewer than 16 points in the second half.
 
Gonzaga's Andrew Nembhard scored a game-best 24 points, had six assists and totaled five rebounds in all 40 minutes. Drew Timme registered 18 points and eight rebounds for the top-ranked Bulldogs (6-0).

Coach Cronin, Postgame Press Conference
 
"We're not a good defensive team, and we got exposed tonight by a great team," said Mick Cronin, The Michael Price Family UCLA Men's Head Basketball Coach. "Their defense was better than ours, their offense was better than ours. We started trying to move the ball and play team basketball, but it was too late, obviously, when you get down 20 to them."

Tuesday's contest, which was nationally televised on ESPN, marked the 43rd meeting between the Associated Press (AP) poll's top two teams, dating back to 1949.
 
Jaquez Jr. was responsible for nine of the Bruins' first 15 points to open the second half as UCLA trimmed the Bulldogs' advantage to 16 points – at 56-40 – with 14:01 remaining in the game. Gonzaga answered with a 3-pointer by Julian Strawther on its next possession. The Bulldogs maintained a 20-point cushion for the majority of the game's final 13 minutes.
 
Tyger Campbell scored nine of his 11 total points in the second half, making all three of his shot attempts and a trio of free throws.
 
Gonzaga finished Tuesday's contest having shot 56 percent from the field. The Bulldogs connected on 18 of 23 free throws (78.3 percent).
 
The Bulldogs led by as many as 23 points in the first half and entered the locker room at halftime ahead 45-25. Gonzaga used a 29-6 scoring run midway through the first half to open a commanding advantage. The Bruins made just three of 16 shots during that span.
 
Four of Nembhard's 13 points in the first half came on back-to-back fastbreak layups, helping extend Gonzaga's margin to 33-10 with 8:38 to play before halftime.
 
UCLA did not stack consecutive baskets for the first time in the game until the 7:58 mark in the first half. Jaquez Jr. helped the Bruins secure a 6-0 scoring run.
 
The Bruins will stay in Las Vegas through the remainder of the week, taking on UNLV at Thomas & Mack Center this Saturday afternoon. Game time at UNLV is scheduled for 2 p.m. The Bruins' game will be televised by Stadium.