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UCLA Defeats Akron, 57-53, to Advance in NCAA Tournament

Mar 17, 2022
Tyger Campbell (photo by Jan Kim Lim)

PORTLAND, Ore. – Tyger Campbell scored a team-leading 16 points and drilled a deep 3-pointer with 1:20 to play, leading No. 4-seed UCLA past No. 13-seed Akron, 57-53, in a first round contest at the NCAA Tournament at the Moda Center on Thursday.
 
Campbell knocked down 3-of-6 shots from 3-point range as the Bruins erased a 49-42 deficit with six minutes to play against the Zips (24-10). UCLA's 5-foot-11 guard from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, scored eight consecutive points to help propel the Bruins in the comeback victory.
 
Jaime Jaquez Jr. finished with 15 points and Jules Bernard scored 10 points as UCLA (26-7) advanced into a second-round NCAA Tournament matchup against No. 5-seed Saint Mary's (26-7).
 
The Bruins trailed by seven points (49-42) with 5:58 to play in the game before scoring the contest on a 15-4 scoring run. Johnny Juzang's jump shot at the 3:53 mark cut the gap to 49-47. After a two-point basket by Akron's Xavier Castaneda, Campbell drilled a 3-pointer to reduce UCLA's deficit to just one point (51-50, with 2:51 remaining).
 
After an offensive foul by Akron, the Bruins pull-up jump shot from Campbell to put UCLA ahead, 52-51, with 2:16 left in regulation. Campbell followed on the Bruins' next possession with his deep 3-point shot to put UCLA ahead of Akron by four points.
 
The Zips cut UCLA's margin to 55-53 on a layup by Garvin Clarke with 39 seconds left in the contest. The Bruins were unsuccessful in scoring on their next possession, and Akron raced back down the court with 10 seconds to play, down by two points. Ali Ali's shot in the paint was blocked by UCLA's Cody Riley and Juzang grabbed the defensive rebound and drew a foul.
 
UCLA pushed its lead to 57-53 as Juzang knocked down two free throws with 4.3 seconds to play.
 
The Bruins had trailed Akron at halftime, 26-25. Both teams were held to under 40 percent shooting from the field on Thursday.
 
UCLA struggled in the game's first 15 minutes and trailed Akron at the 8:21 mark, 18-10. Campbell helped to kick-start the Bruins' offense with a 3-point play, and Jaquez Jr. followed with a basket off an inbounds play to cut the deficit to three points.
 
The Bruins found their stride as Jaquez Jr. knocked down a 3-pointer and added one free throw, putting UCLA ahead of Akron, 23-22, at the 1:43 mark in the first half. Akron added a pair of baskets near the end of the half to secure the 26-25 lead, heading into the locker room at the intermission.
 
In the second half, UCLA's Peyton Watson twice helped the Bruins take the lead. He knocked down a 3-point basket with 12:40 remaining in the game, putting UCLA ahead 37-36. Two minutes later, he converted a jump shot in the paint to give the Bruins a 39-38 cushion.
 
Akron answered with a 10-2 scoring run, capped by an old-fashioned 3-point play from Greg Tribble, making the score 47-39 with 7:53 remaining.
 
The Bruins' game against No. 5-seed Saint Mary's in the tournament's second round will take place on Saturday at 4:10 p.m. (PT). UCLA's game will be nationally televised on TBS.