No. 2 UCLA Set to Face No. 1 Gonzaga on Tuesday
LAS VEGAS – No. 2-ranked UCLA (5-0) will face No. 1-ranked Gonzaga (5-0) on Tuesday night in a nationally-televised showdown (ESPN) at T-Mobile Arena. Tuesday's game, part of the two-day Good Sam Empire Classic, will the mark the first meeting between the AP poll's No. 1 and No. 2-ranked teams since Nov. 5, 2019. The Bruins' game will be on the radio in the Los Angeles region on AM 1150.
Tuesday's game will mark the seventh all-time meeting on the hardwood between UCLA and Gonzaga.
Venue: T-Mobile Arena (Las Vegas)
Game Time: 7 p.m. (PT)
TV Talent: Dave O'Brien (play-by-play), Dick Vitale (analyst), Sean Farnham (sideline)
Radio Broadcast (UCLA Sports Network): AM 1150
Radio Talent: Josh Lewin (play-by-play), Tracy Murray (analyst)
SIRIUS/XM Radio Channels: Ch. 137/Ch. 197
SIRIUS Internet Channel: Ch. 959
ABOUT THE BRUINS
- The Bruins have opened with a 5-0 record, heading into Tuesday's game against No. 1-ranked Gonzaga in Las Vegas.
- UCLA has shot 48.7% from the field, through five games, and 39.7% from the beyond the 3-point arc (50-of-126).
- Junior guard Johnny Juzang has averaged a team-best 19.8 points per game (also averaging 4.2 rebounds per game).
- UCLA went 22-10 last season, including a 13-6 mark in Pac-12 play (finishing in fourth place in the league).
- Head coach Mick Cronin has gone 46-22 at UCLA (currently in his third season as UCLA's head coach).
- Eleven of UCLA's 15 players were either born and raised in Southern California or attended high school in the area.
- For the second consecutive season, the Bruins were selected No. 1 in the preseason Pac-12 media poll.
- The Bruins went 5-1 in the 2021 NCAA Tournament, earning the program's 19th all-time appearance in the Final Four.
LOOKING AT TUESDAY
Tuesday night's contest between UCLA and Gonzaga will pit the nation's top-two-ranked teams against each other (No. 2 UCLA, vs. No 1 Gonzaga). The Bruins last faced the nation's No. 1-ranked team in the Final Four last season, when No. 1-ranked Gonzaga defeated UCLA, 93-90, in overtime. UCLA has not faced the nation's No. 1-ranked team during the regular season since Dec. 3, 2016. The Bruins (ranked No. 11 at the time) defeated No. 1-ranked Kentucky at Rupp Arena, 97-92, before a nationally-televised audience in Lexington, Ky.
NO. 1 vs. NO. 2
UCLA's upcoming game against Gonzaga will mark the 43rd all-time matchup between the AP's top two teams, dating back to 1949. This will be the first such matchup since Nov. 5, 2019 (when No. 2 Kentucky defeated No. 1 Michigan State, 69-62, in New York, N.Y.). In addition, this will mark the first such meeting between two teams from the Pacific Time Zone. This will be the first such "No. 1 vs. No. 2" matchup in the Pacific Time Zone since the 1975 NCAA title game in San Diego, where No. 1-ranked UCLA defeated No. 2-ranked Kentucky, 92-85.
PAC-12 TEAM: Lastly, a Pac-12 school has not been part of a No. 1 vs. No. 2 contest (ranked teams, AP poll) since Nov. 29, 1975, when No. 2-ranked UCLA dropped an 84-64 decision to No. 1-ranked Indiana in St. Louis, Mo.
UCLA OPENS 5-0
UCLA has recorded five straight wins to open the season, with the first four contests having taken place in Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom. Most recently, the Bruins secured a 75-62 win against Bellarmine on Monday night at T-Mobile Arena (recap from that game). Peyton Watson scored a team-leading 19 points, while David Singleton and Johnny Juzang each scored 13 points. Watson, a freshman from Long Beach, Calif., made 9 of 12 shots and was 1-for-2 from behind the 3-point arc. UCLA led by as many as 23 points (52-29) with just under 16 minutes to play in the second half.
4-0 IN THE HOMESTAND
Last Wednesday evening, UCLA cruised past North Florida, 98-63, in the team's fourth consecutive home game. Tyger Campbell was a perfect 4-for-4 from 3-point range in that win, finishing the game with 13 points, six rebounds and five assists. As a team, the Bruins made 9 of 17 attempts from 3-point distance (52.9%) and recorded a season-best 24 offensive rebounds. UCLA out-rebounded North Florida by a 54-24 margin last Wednesday.
UCLA AGAINST GONZAGA
The Bruins have faced Gonzaga six times in the all-time series, with three of those matchups having occurred in the NCAA Tournament. Most recently, the Bruins lost to Gonzaga in the NCAA Final Four last season (April 3, 2021, in Indianapolis). UCLA dropped a 93-90 decision in overtime after having won five consecutive NCAA Tournament games.
In Gonzaga's 59-43 win over UCLA in the first-ever matchup, the Bulldogs held the Bruins to the fewest points UCLA has ever scored in a game in Pauley Pavilion (43 points, on Dec. 11, 1999).
UCLA's 73-71 win against Gonzaga in the Sweet 16 of the 2006 NCAA Tournament was highlighted by an incredible second-half comeback. The Bruins had trailed Gonzaga, 37-20, late in the first half. UCLA erased a 71-62 deficit in the game's final 3:26, taking a 72-71 lead in the final 10 seconds.
UCLA and Gonzaga played a home-and-home series in 2014-15 and 2015-16, with each team winning one game on the opponent's home court. Prior to last season's meeting in the NCAA Tournament, the Bruins had not faced Gonzaga since a Dec. 2015 meeting at the McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokena, Wash.
OFFENSIVE BOARDS: UCLA finished its win versus North Florida with 24 offensive rebounds, the program's highest single-game total since record 25 offensive boards in a home loss to USC on Jan. 19, 2008.
SHOT MAKERS: The Bruins made 40 of 78 shots against Long Beach State on Monday, Nov. 15, the team's most made field goals in one game since connecting on 40 of 74 attempts in the season opener against Purdue Fort Wayne on Nov. 6, 2018. Johnny Juzang led the Bruins in that category on Monday, sinking 11 of 21 shots versus Long Beach State.
BRUINS DEFEAT NO. 4 VILLANOVA
The Bruins recorded an 86-77 overtime victory over No. 4 Villanova on Friday, Nov. 12. Jules Bernard scored a game-tying basket on a driving bank shot with 25 seconds to play (tying the game, 67-67). Trailing 69-67 early in overtime, the Bruins used a 7-0 scoring run to secure a 74-69 cushion and extended their margin to six points (80-74) on a pair of free throws from Jaime Jaquez Jr. with 33 seconds to play. Johnny Juzang finished with 25 points and Jaquez Jr. tallied 21 points.
TOP-FIVE OPPONENT: UCLA landed its first win over a "top-five" ranked opponent since last season's Elite Eight, when the Bruins edged No. 4-ranked Michigan, 51-49, in Indianapolis (March 30, 2021). The Bruins had not faced a "top-five" ranked team in Pauley Pavilion since recording an 82-79 win over No. 5-ranked Oregon on Feb. 9, 2017.
RECENT TRENDS: The Bruins have registered a 7-4 record against "top-five" ranked competition (AP poll ranking) since the start of the 2015-16 season. Those victories include a pair of wins over No. 1-ranked Kentucky (Dec. 2015, Dec. 2016), back-to-back wins in the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight last March and the most recent win against Villanova.
Tyger Campbell, a redshirt junior guard, has averaged 10.8 points and a team-leading 4.8 assists in five games. He has made 11 of 24 attempts from 3-point range and 9 of 10 free throw attempts. Campbell was honored as a first-team All-Pac-12 selection last year. He become the first UCLA player since Darren Collison (2006-09) to serve as the team's primary point guard for three consecutive seasons. From 2011-12 through 2018-19, UCLA had seven different players who serves as the team's "starting" point guard. Campbell played (and started) all 63 games for UCLA the past two seasons.
Listed as a preseason All-America selection by nearly every national media outlet, Johnny Juzang averaged a team-leading 16.0 points in 27 games last season. Juzang, who excelled at nearby Harvard-Westlake School, was one of five players to earn All-NCAA Tournament Team acclaim in 2021, having averaged 22.8 points in six NCAA Tournament contests. He shot 50.9 percent in the NCAA Tournament (54-for-106). Juzang secured second-team All-Pac-12 honors last season and finished the year ranked No. 3 among all Pac-12 players in free throw percentage (87.7%, 56-for-65).
Selected a second-team All-Pac-12 player in 2020-21, Jaime Jaquez Jr. (along with Tyger Campbell & Johnny Juzang) were picked as "first-team" preseason All-Pac-12 selections in Oct. 2021. Jaquez Jr., a 6-foot-7 guard/forward, has averaged 15.6 points and a team-leading 7.6 rebounds through UCLA's first five contests. Last season, he averaged 12.3 points and a team-best 6.1 rebounds per game. He was one of five players to earn Pac-12 All-Defensive Team honors and led the Bruins with 39 steals and 22 blocks (tied, with Cody Riley). Jaquez Jr. scored in double figures in 21 of UCLA's 32 games.
Senior guard Jules Bernard has averaged 15.4 points and 4.8 rebounds in UCLA's first five games. Bernard totaled 22 points and a career-high seven assists in the team's 100-79 win against Long Beach State on Monday, Nov. 15. He sank the game-tying basket with 25 seconds to play in the second half against No. 4 Villanova on Friday, Nov. 12 (tied the game, 67-67). Bernard has made 11 of 25 attempts from 3-point range. He has played in a team-best 100 career contests, including all 32 games (28 starts) last season. He has registered career averages of 8.2 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.
UCLA added three players to the roster in the summer – senior Myles Johnson (6-10, center) and freshmen Will McClendon (6-2, guard) and Peyton Watson (6-8, guard/forward). Johnson earned his degree in electrical and computer engineering from Rutgers University and has enrolled as a graduate student (engineering) at UCLA. McClendon was a standout athlete at Bishop Gorman High School (Las Vegas) and will be sidelined this season with a torn ACL (left knee). Watson excelled the past four years at Long Beach Poly High School (Long Beach, Calif.) and was named a McDonald's All-American.
Juniors Tyger Campbell, Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Johnny Juzang were named to the 50-person watch list for the 2022 John R. Wooden Award in early November by the Los Angeles Athletic Club. All three players were selected as preseason first-team All-Pac-12 honorees in October (as announced at Pac-12 Media Day). UCLA has seen two of its players previously win the Wooden Award – Ed O'Bannon as a senior in 1994-95 and Marques Johnson as a senior in 1976-77.
Last season, Johnny Juzang scored a career-high 32 points in a 64-61 win at Washington (Feb. 13). Juzang's 32-point effort at Washington marked the most points in a game by any UCLA player since Kris Wilkes had 34 points as a sophomore against Arizona (Jan. 26, 2019, in Pauley Pavilion). 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).
Under third-year head coach Mick Cronin, the Bruins have gone 21-7 in games decided by five points or fewer (includes all overtime games, regardless of score margin). In 2019-20, the Bruins went 7-3 in those contests. In 2020-21, UCLA had a 12-4 record. 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 went 39-14 in such contests.
70 POINTS OR FEWER
Last season, the Bruins went 15-3 when limiting the opposition to 70 or fewer points. In 2019-20, UCLA went 18-1 in such situations. Through his final three seasons as Cincinnati's head coach (2016-17 through 2018-19), his teams posted a 79-10 record when holding the opposition to 70 or fewer points. Since the start of the 2016-17 season, his teams have gone 112-14 when limiting the opponent to 70 or fewer points (through 167 games).