Bruins Look Ahead to Facing Saint Mary's on Saturday
PORTLAND, Ore. – The No. 4-seed UCLA men's basketball team has advanced to a second-round contest in the NCAA Tournament against No. 5-seed Saint Mary's this Saturday at the Moda Center.
UCLA's game will begin at approximately 4:10 p.m. (PT) and will be nationally televised on TBS.
The Bruins (26-7) recorded their sixth win in the last seven games on Thursday night, defeating No. 13-seed Akron, 57-53, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Tyger Campbell made 3-of-6 shots from 3-point range and finished with a team-leading 16 points against Akron (24-10).
Looking ahead to Saturday, the Bruins will face Saint Mary's for the 13th time in the all-time series. Previously, UCLA has recorded a 10-2 record against the Gaels, with the most recent matchup having taken place in Dec. of 1990.
Bruins' head coach Mick Cronin, Jaime Jaquez Jr., Tyger Campbell and Jules Bernard met with reporters in a press conference at the Moda Center on Friday afternoon, with the bulk of the questions centered on Saint Mary's and the Bruins' upcoming matchup against the Gaels.
"They have a system," Cronin told reporters, when asked about Saint Mary's. "Their guys are just really comfortable in their system, which is their pick-and-roll offense, predominantly, and then their post-ups. [Tommy] Kuhse is a maestro with the ball in the pick-and-roll. Logan Johnson is my guy and he has improved every year. He knows what his strengths are. When you watch them play, I just keep thinking that you can't speed them up. As you're alluding to, you can see how good they are. They obviously played great against Indiana. They scored a lot more points than their average, but their metrics say that they are ninth in the nation, defensively. That is because they defend the three and the rim."
Saint Mary's advanced to Saturday's game after defeating No. 12-seed Indiana, 82-53, in a first-round contest on Thursday in Portland. The Gaels went 12-3 in West Coast Conference play, finishing in second place in the league standings.
The Bruins moved into the second-round matchup on Thursday night, after having trailed Akron by a 49-42 margin with 5:30 to play in the second half. UCLA used a strong rally in the final minutes to take the lead and secure the victory.
Campbell scored eight consecutive points for the Bruins, including a deep 3-point basket at the 1:20 mark to push the Bruins margin to 55-51.
"I think we played a really solid defensive game against Akron," Jaquez Jr. told the media on Friday. "As you saw, it was very low scoring. We need to continue our defensive effort like we had in that first game, and continue to try and get great shots. I think we had a lot of great looks last night that didn't go in. But we've just got to keep that up and trust in our offense and trust that we are going hit those shots down the stretch."
UCLA has moved on to the second round of the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season. This marks the first time since back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances in 2014 and 2015 in which the Bruins have played in the tournament's "Round of 32" for the second straight year. The Bruins' 2020-21 team went 22-10 and advanced from the First Four to the Final Four in Indianapolis.
The winner of Saturday's matchup between UCLA and Saint Mary's will face No. 1-seed Baylor or No. 8-seed North Carolina in the regional semifinals (Sweet 16) in Philadelphia, Pa., on Friday, March 25. Games in Philadelphia will take place at Wells Fargo Center, the home to the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers.
UCLA's game this Saturday in Portland will be available on the radio in the Los Angeles area on AM 570 (KLAC), with Bruins' broadcasters Josh Lewin and Tracy Murray calling the game courtside.
The television broadcasters on TBS will include Andrew Catalon, Steve Lappas and Andy Katz (sideline reporter).