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UCLA Downs Sacramento State in Season Opener, 76-50

Nov 7, 2022
Jaylen Clark (photo by Scott Chandler)

LOS ANGELES – The No. 8-ranked UCLA men's basketball team officially opened the 2022-23 season with a 76-50 win over Sacramento State on Monday night at Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom.
The Bruins (1-0) scored 20 consecutive points in the first half to pull away from the Hornets (0-1), moving to 3-1 all-time in season-openers under fourth-year head coach Mick Cronin.
UCLA was led by junior guard Jaylen Clark, who was a standout on both sides of the ball. Offensively, Clark scored a team-high 17 points and was a perfect 7-for-7 from the field. Defensively, the 6-foot-5 guard totaled seven steals, the most in a single game by a Bruin since Jordan Adams had eight in a win over Sacramento State on Nov. 18, 2013 at Pauley Pavilion.
Clark also paced the Bruins with eight rebounds, and tied teammate Tyger Campbell for the game lead with four assists.
"Jaylen Clark had 16 deflections," said Cronin, The Michael Price Family UCLA Men's Head Basketball Coach. "He has to stop dribbling off his foot, but other than that. He had seven steals, but there were five turnovers. For us, he has to be an elite defensive player. We have a team where he has to fill that role. I thought when he stepped it up defensively, the game changed."
Campbell and senior forward Jaime Jaquez Jr. added 14 points apiece, with the latter scoring the first six points of the game for the Bruins.
Fifth-year guard David Singleton scored 13 points off the bench, going 3-for-3 from beyond the 3-point arc. Redshirt freshman forward Mac Etienne was a difference-maker on the defensive end, notching a game and career-high four blocks to go along with seven rebounds.
"We have talented young guys, but if we're going to be a great team, Tyger and Jaime have to be All-American status guys," Cronin said. "Nobody in this era has won it with all freshmen. I can name you the starters on Duke's last title team and Kentucky's last title team, and both those teams had veteran starters. Veteran guys have to carry you, especially early in the year."
Zach Chappell and Cameron Wilbon scored 10 points apiece to pace Sacramento State, while Gianni Hunt had nine points and four assists. The Hornets struggled mightily from three-point range on Monday, making just two of 18 attempts from deep. UCLA ultimately out-shot Sacramento State from the field by a margin of 53 percent to 35 percent.
The game started off as a back-and-forth affair, with Sacramento securing several single-digits leads in the 10 first minutes. Just after the midway point of the first half, Sacramento State center Callum McRae connected on a layup to give the Hornets their largest advantage of the game, at 16-12
From that point, UCLA took the game over. Campbell connected on back-to-back jumpers to kick-start a 20-0 run and give the Bruins the lead for good.
Six different Bruins scored during the go-ahead scoring run, including seven points from Campbell and four from Jaquez Jr.  Other key moments during the run included a 3-pointer in transition from Singleton to force a timeout from Sacramento State, and short-range jump shot from Jaquez Jr. to cap the scoring run with the score at 32-16 with 3:06 remaining in the half.
The Bruins headed to the locker room with a 14-point lead at halftime (39-25).
UCLA kept its foot on the gas pedal at the start of the second half. Clark did most of his offensive damage in the second half to help the Bruins extend their margin.
Clark scored 13 points in the second stanza, nearly twice as many as any other player on the court. His 3-point basket with 6:14 remaining in the game put UCLA's lead at 27 points, tied for the largest of the game.
Several Bruins made their official NCAA debuts on Monday evening, including freshman guard Amari Bailey (10 points, including eight in the second half), freshman guard/forward Abramo Canka, and freshman guard Dylan Andrews.
Redshirt senior forward Kenneth Nwuba made his second career start, recording four points, three rebounds, and a block.
UCLA will return to action against Long Beach State on Friday, Nov. 11. Game time is 8 p.m. (PT) in Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom. The Bruins' game will be televised live on the Pac-12 Network. The radio broadcast in the L.A. region will be available on AM 570.