No. 12 UCLA Wins Third Straight, Downs ASU, 66-52
LOS ANGELES – The No. 12-ranked UCLA men's basketball team won its third straight game on Monday night, recording a 66-52 victory against Arizona State in a Pac-12 contest in Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom.
Jules Bernard and Jaylen Clark each scored a team-leading 16 points. Jaime Jaquez Jr. finished with 13 points and a team-leading 10 rebounds, collecting his fourth double-double of the year.
UCLA (20-5, 12-4 Pac-12) reached the 20-win plateau for the second consecutive year with Monday's victory. The Bruins never trailed against Arizona State (10-16, 6-10 Pac-12), leading by as many as 17 points in the first half before the Sun Devils closed the margin to just two points, midway through the second half.
Clark (16 points, nine rebounds, three steals) scored at least 10 points for the third consecutive game. The sophomore from Riverside, Calif., was electric in the first half, totaling 11 points and grabbing six rebounds before the intermission.
A trio of Arizona State players finished with a team-leading nine points – Jay Heath, DJ Horne and Marreon Jackson.
"Our defense was awesome in the first half," said Mick Cronin, The Michael Price Family UCLA Men's Head Basketball Coach. "You can't play much better defense than we played. They [Arizona State] have too much firepower to hold them in the 40s. Let's be realistic, they got on a run. We let them get a little bit comfortable. They hit a few threes. I think their steals got them going – they had six. They got out in transition."
Jaylen Clark is on 🔥 right now, as he leads all players in both scoring (11 pts) and rebounds (6)!
— UCLA Men's Basketball (@UCLAMBB) February 22, 2022
UCLA converted at the free throw line on Monday evening, sinking 18 of 20 attempts (90 percent). Bernard (7-for-7), Jaquez Jr. (5-for-5) and Johnny Juzang (4-for-4) were all perfect from the free throw line.
The Bruins led by four points with 12:04 to play in the opening half before Jaquez Jr. knocked down a 3-point basket, giving UCLA a 16-9 cushion. A 3-pointer from Bernard and a pull-up jump shot by Juzang put UCLA on top by 10 points, prompting Arizona State to take a timeout at the 8:25 mark.
Clark followed with a 3-pointer before swiping a steal in the backcourt, converting the bucket for the quick score, and increasing UCLA's advantage to 30-15. Less than a minute later, Myles Johnson grabbed an offensive rebound and dunk the ball to put the Bruins ahead, 32-15.
The visiting Sun Devils strung together a 6-0 scoring run after a timeout, reducing the Bruins' cushion to 11 points. Juzang knocked down a pair of free throws, giving UCLA a 34-21 lead at halftime.
Clark had led all scorers at halftime with 11 points (and six rebounds).
Arizona State clawed back into the game in the second half, cutting the deficit to just four points before the Bruins called a timeout with 11:50 to play (and the Bruins ahead, 43-39).
UCLA led by a 43-41 margin before David Singleton nailed a 3-pointer at the 10:08 mark. Arizona State responded, cutting the Bruins' advantage to just one point (46-45, at the 8:02 mark). Singleton answered again for UCLA, nailing a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired with 7:30 to play, putting the Bruins on top 49-45.
Leading by a 53-47 tally with 5:12 to play, UCLA continued to add to its lead. Jaquez Jr. got to the free throw line after getting fouled on a 3-point attempt and hit all three shots.
Clark helped seal the win with a breakaway steal and dunk in the game's final minute, putting the Bruins on top by the final 66-52 score.
The Bruins will hit the road later in the week for a three-game trip to face Oregon, Oregon State and Washington. UCLA's game on Thursday (Feb. 24) at Oregon will be nationally televised on ESPN. Game time is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. (PT) at Oregon's Matthew Knight Arena.
UCLA will play at Oregon State on Saturday (Feb. 26) and at Washington next Monday (Feb. 28).
The Bruins' final game of the regular season will take place in Pauley Pavilion against crosstown rival USC on Saturday, March 5.