UCLA Defeats Arizona, 75-59, in Top-10 Clash
LOS ANGELES – The No. 7 UCLA men's basketball team defeated No. 3 Arizona, 75-59, in front of 11,268 fans at Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom Tuesday evening.
Johnny Juzang and Jules Bernard led the Bruins (14-2, 6-1 Pac-12) with 15 points each in the nationally-televised Pac-12 showdown. UCLA recorded its sixth consecutive win in the series against Arizona (16-2, 6-1 Pac-12).
Bernard made 7 of 11 shots and pulled down a team-best seven rebounds. Cody Riley added 12 points for UCLA, while Jaime Jaquez Jr. scored all 10 of his points in the second half.
The Bruins' defense matched a season high with eight blocks. Jaquez recorded a season-high three blocks, while Myles Johnson and Peyton Watson each blocked two shots. UCLA also forced 14 turnovers, limiting the visiting Wildcats to 31 percent shooting from the field (23-for-75).
"By far, I thought [that was] our most spirited 40 minutes of the year," said Mick Cronin, The Michael Price Family UCLA Men's Head Basketball Coach. "Obviously, fans back helped, but I really think it was our players' excitement to play against a great team like Arizona. And they are a great team. Nobody has held them to 59 points or even close, all season. They shoot 31 percent for the game. But effort matters. I learned a long time ago effort matters. Our effort was awesome."
Arizona had entered Tuesday's game with a scoring average of 88.7 points per contest (through its first 17 games). The Wildcats had previously been limited to a season-low 73 points in a 77-73 loss at Tennessee on Dec. 22, 2021.
The Wildcats received a team-best 16 points (and 10 rebounds) from Bennedict Mathurin on Tuesday night. Christian Koloko added 11 points and seven rebounds. All 10 of Pelle Larsson's points came in the first half.
Arizona and UCLA had opened the game on a furious pace, with the two teams trading baskets and the score at 16-14 in Arizona's favor just four minutes and 30 seconds into the game. In fact, the Wildcats made six of the first seven shots (and UCLA had made five of its first seven shots).
After having opened the game, 6-for-7 from the field, Arizona made just 16 of its final 68 shots (23.5 percent).
The Bruins claimed a 17-16 lead early in the first half on a 3-pointer from Juzang, just past the 15-minute mark. That long-range shot – Juzang's second three-pointer in the opening half – helped UCLA fuel a 12-0 scoring run to put the Bruins ahead, 24-16, with 10:10 to play before halftime.
Bernard and Watson combined to score nine of the Bruins' final 11 points in the first half. Bernard's jump shot helped increase UCLA's margin to 15 points (at 40-25, with 1:25 remaining). Arizona scored the final four points in the opening half and trailed UCLA at the intermission, 40-29.
UCLA outscored Arizona in the second half, 35-30. Back-to-back jump shots from Bernard pushed UCLA's lead to 50-36. Arizona began to chip away at the Bruins' cushion, scoring six consecutive points and 12 of the next 15 during a span midway through the second half.
UCLA strung together an 8-0 scoring run, capped by an old-fashioned 3-point play from Myles Johnson. The successful free throw attempt by Johnson pushed the Bruins ahead, 61-46, with 11:01 to play in the second half.
Arizona answered with seven consecutive points, but UCLA responded again with an 8-0 scoring run.
UCLA blocked seven shots in the second half, highlighted by emphatic rejections from Jaquez Jr. and Watson.
The Bruins have two more home games this week – both in Pac-12 play – with California visiting on Thursday night (6 p.m., PT) and Stanford headed to Pauley Pavilion on Saturday evening (6:30 p.m., PT). Both games will be televised by the Pac-12 Network.