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Bruins Down Trojans in Pac-12 Tournament Semifinal

Mar 11, 2022
Jaime Jaquez Jr. (photo by Jan Kim Lim)

LAS VEGAS – UCLA secured its second victory over crosstown rival USC in less than a week with a 69-59 victory in the Pac-12 Tournament semifinal on Friday evening at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
 
The Bruins (25-6) never trailed in the semifinal contest after taking an 18-16 lead with 9:45 to play in the first half.
 
Jaime Jaquez Jr. led the Bruins with 19 points, as the junior has now scored 99 points over his last four games (24.8 points per game, through that stretch). Jules Bernard scored 15 points and was a perfect 7-for-7 at the free throw line.
 
Tyger Campbell added 14 points and Johnny Juzang finished with 10 points, rounding out UCLA's list of double-figure scorers.

UCLA's Postgame Press Conference (March 11, 2022)
 
"Our defensive effort was tremendous," said Mick Cronin, The Michael Price Family UCLA Men's Head Basketball Coach. "We got multiple contributions on offense. We only had 46 attempts, but we got to the foul line. It's the most we've been to the foul line in a while, attacking the basket pretty well. I thought the key to the game was our first half defense. We had a chance to get away from them by halftime, but Jules' and Tyger's foul trouble stopped that."
 
Friday's win has propelled the Bruins into the Pac-12 Tournament title game for the first time since 2014. No. 2-seed UCLA will take on No. 1-seed Arizona in the championship match, slated to begin at 6 p.m. (PT) at T-Mobile Arena. The championship contest will be televised on FOX.
 
Most recently, UCLA played in the Pac-12 Tournament championship game in 2013 (lost to Oregon) and in 2014 (defeated Arizona).
 
Boogie Ellis scored a team-high 27 points and had five rebounds for USC (26-7). Drew Peterson finished with 11 points and Isaiah Mobley totaled nine points and seven rebounds.
 
Saturday night's contest went back and forth in the first 10 minutes before the Bruins began to gain some separation. Bernard nailed a 3-pointer to put the Bruins ahead, 16-13. After USC tied the contest, UCLA received consecutive baskets from Cody Riley and Campbell to take a 21-16 lead with 8:59 to play in the opening half.
 
After a 3-point basket by USC's Boogie Ellis, Bernard sank five consecutive free throw attempts to push the Bruins' advantage to 27-19 at the 6:12 mark. Later, a 3-point shot by Campbell extended UCLA's margin to 32-21 with 3:33 left before the intermission.
 
UCLA led USC at halftime, 69-59. Campbell and Jaquez Jr. each scored a team-best 11 points in the opening half.
 
The Trojans outscored UCLA, 8-2, to open the second half. Juzang helped the Bruins answer with a mid-range jump shot to give UCLA a 42-36 advantage.
 
Peyton Watson came up with an assist to Myles Johnson as the shot clock expired and then scored a contested bucket in the paint to push the Bruins ahead, 46-38, as USC called timeout.
 
Watson drained a 3-pointer out of the timeout to push the Bruins' margin to 11 points with just over 12 minutes to play. A corner 3-point shot by Bernard helped UCLA push a six-point lead back up to nine points with just under eight minutes remaining in the game.
 
The Bruins led by 11 before Juzang converted a contested layup in the paint to force a USC timeout with 3:49 to play.
 
A pair of free throws from Ellis cut UCLA's lead to eight with 1:08 remaining, but Campbell answered immediately with a breakaway layup at the other end.
 
UCLA seeks its fifth conference tournament title on Saturday evening. Previously, the Bruins have won the Pac-10 or Pac-12 Tournament in 1987, 2006, 2008 and 2014.