No. 2 UCLA Looks Toward Saturday's Game at UNLV
LAS VEGAS – No. 2 UCLA (5-1) will return to action at UNLV (4-2) this Saturday afternoon. Game time at the Thomas & Mack Center is set for 2 p.m. Saturday's contest will mark the return game in a home-and-home series that began during the 2019-20 season. Due to a compressed schedule in 2020-21 (shortened season), the Bruins were unable to play at UNLV last season. UCLA's game against UNLV will be broadcast by Stadium this Saturday, with Chris Hassel and Doug Gottlieb calling the action.
Venue: Thomas & Mack Center
Tipoff Time: 2:06 p.m. (PT)
Television: Stadium (watch live link)
TV Talent: Chris Hassel (play-by-play), Doug Gottlieb (analyst)
Radio Broadcast (UCLA Sports Network): AM 570
Radio Talent: Josh Lewin (play-by-play), Tracy Murray (analyst)
SIRIUS/XM App Channel: Ch. 986
UCLA's game will be broadcast by Stadium on Saturday afternoon in Las Vegas. For complete details on where fans can watch Stadium, be sure to visit WatchStadium.com or click here. The WatchStadium.com live stream link is available here.
WHAT TO KNOW
• The Bruins have opened with a 5-1 record, heading into Saturday's game at UNLV.
• UCLA has shot 46.5% from the field, through six games, and 37.7% from the beyond the 3-point arc.
• Junior guard Johnny Juzang has averaged a team-best 18.3 points per game (also averaging 3.8 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 46-23 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.
UCLA VERSUS UNLV
UCLA has compiled a 6-0 all-time record against UNLV, with the two programs meeting this Saturday for the first time since Nov. 15, 2019 (at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion). In that game, the Bruins' third contest of the 2019-20 season, UCLA secured a 71-54 victory after having led at halftime, 40-28. Previously, the Bruins notched a 77-75 win against UNLV in a first round contest of the Maui Invitational on Nov. 23, 2015. UCLA has twice faced UNLV at the Thomas & Mack Center, winning each of those contests in the 1990s (on Dec. 23, 1995 and on Dec. 27, 1997).
THE LAST TIME OUT
The Bruins split a pair of contests earlier this week at T-Mobile Arena, defeating Bellarmine on Monday (75-62) before losing to No. 1-ranked Gonzaga on Tuesday (83-63). Jaime Jaquez Jr. registered team-highs in points (19) and rebounds (6) in the loss to Gonzaga. UCLA trailed the Bulldogs by a 45-25 margin at halftime and never reduced the deficit to any fewer than 16 points in the second half. Peyton Watson scored a career-high 19 points, connecting on 9 of 12 shots, in UCLA's 75-62 victory against Bellarmine on Monday night. David Singleton and Johnny Juzang each added 13 points in the win.
UCLA's game against Gonzaga on Tuesday marked the 43rd all-time matchup between the AP poll's top two teams, dating back to 1949. It marked the first such No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup since Nov. 5, 2019, when No. 2 Kentucky downed No. 1 Michigan State, 69-62, in New York, N.Y. In addition, that was the first such meeting between a pair of schools from the Pacific Time Zone. UCLA had not been a part of a No. 1 vs. No. 2 matchup (ranked teams, AP poll), since Nov. 29, 1975, when No. 2 UCLA lost to No. 1 Indiana, 84-64, in St. Louis, Mo. (the season opener for UCLA, that season).
Through games played on Tuesday, Nov. 23, UCLA ranked No. 18 in the nation in assist-turnover ratio (1.67, with 100 assists and 60 turnovers). Tyger Campbell, UCLA's redshirt junior point guard, has totaled 25 points and five turnovers in the Bruins' first six games. Jules Bernard has registered 16 assists and four turnovers, while Jaylen Clark has tallied 11 assists and five turnovers. Campbell's assist-turnover ratio of 5-to-1 ranked No. 11, nationally, through games played Tuesday, Nov. 23. Campbell has averaged 10.8 points, 4.2 assists and 2.2 rebounds in the Bruins' six games.
ON THE HORIZON
The Bruins will return to Los Angeles on Saturday night, after the game at UNLV, and will host Colorado next Wednesday (Dec. 1) in the team's Pac-12 opener. UCLA and Colorado split a pair of regular-season meetings in 2020-21, with each team winning the game on its home court. The Bruins registered a 65-62 victory over Colorado in Pauley Pavilion (Jan. 2, 2021). The Buffaloes took down UCLA (70-61) in Boulder, Colo., in the Bruins' third-to-final game of the regular season (Feb. 27, 2021). UCLA will close next week with a road game at Washington on Sunday, Dec. 5.
Through six regular-season games, UCLA has already played a pair of games against top-five ranked teams. The Bruins defeated No. 4-ranked Villanova, 86-77, in overtime in Pauley Pavilion on Friday, Nov. 12. Less than two weeks later, UCLA absorbed an 83-63 loss to No. 1-ranked Gonzaga in the Good Sam Empire Classic at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. In the win over Villanova, 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.
RECENT TRENDS: The Bruins have registered a 7-5 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 last March (vs. Alabama, vs. Michigan) and this season's victory against Villanova.
Four of UCLA's veteran players – Johnny Juzang (18.3 ppg), Jaime Jaquez Jr. (16.2 ppg), Jules Bernard (14.0 ppg) and Tyger Campbell (10.8 ppg) – have all averaged at least 10 points per game, through six contests. Juzang has scored in double figures in all six games, netting a season-high 25 points against Villanova (Nov. 12) and Long Beach State (Nov. 15). Jaquez Jr. tallied season highs in points (21) and rebounds (13) in the Bruins' 86-77 overtime win against Villanova in Pauley Pavilion (Nov. 12). Jaquez has also averaged a team-leading 7.3 rebounds per game.
Tyger Campbell, a redshirt junior guard, has averaged 10.8 points and a team-leading 4.2 assists in six games. He has made 11 of 24 attempts from 3-point range and 12 of 13 free throw attempts (92.3%). 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 straight 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 16.2 points and a team-leading 7.3 rebounds through UCLA's first six 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 14.0 points and 4.5 rebounds in UCLA's first six 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 28 attempts from 3-point range. He has played in a team-best 101 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.
The Bruins opened the season ranked No. 2 in the two major national polls (AP, Coaches). This marked the Bruins' highest preseason ranking since being tabbed No. 2, nationally, prior to the 2007-08 season. UCLA was last ranked as high as No. 2 during in Dec. 2016 (for four consecutive weeks) after wins at Kentucky and at home against Michigan. The Bruins have not been ranked No. 1 in either poll during the season since the 2006-07 campaign.
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 176 games).