Balanced Bruins Roll Past Waves, 100-53
LOS ANGELES – Behind a season-high 19 points from freshman Amari Bailey, the No. 19-ranked UCLA men's basketball team notched a 100-53 victory over Pepperdine on Wednesday night at Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom.
Bailey was one of six players to reach double figures as the Bruins (4-2), who reached the century mark for the first time this season. In fact, UCLA hit the 100-point threshold for the first time since Nov. 15, 2021, when the Bruins defeated Long Beach State, 100-79.
UCLA's 47-point margin of victory on Wednesday evening marked the Bruins' largest such margin under fourth-year head coach Mick Cronin. The Bruins registered their largest margin of victory since defeating Wyoming by 51 points (113-62) in a non-conference game on Dec. 23, 2008, in Pauley Pavilion.
Coach Cronin's Press Conference | Bailey, Jaquez Jr. Press Conference
Bailey totaled 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting, draining all three of his 3-point attempts. Senior Jaime Jaquez Jr. had 17 points and a team-high eight rebounds.
Fifth-year guard David Singleton contributed 13 points off the bench, as he connected on 2-of-5 attempts from 3-point territory. Junior Jaylen Clark had 12 points and six boards, and while senior Tyger Campbell and freshman Adem Bona each taliied 11 points.
"We knew they weren't going to guard him," Coach Cronin told reporters after the game, referring to Bailey. "He's a very intelligent kid, he could hear their bench telling him. I've been telling him since he committed that when he got here people weren't going to guard him, but he's so explosive that you have to pick a poison. I've been telling him, you're not going to get to the rim at this level, they're going to force you to make shots, which he can do. He just has to accept it. It's an adjustment. You saw, he was looking to catch and shoot."
Pepperdine (4-2) was led by guard Houston Mallette, who scored a team-leading 15 points on 6-of-14 shooting. He also led the Waves with eight rebounds.
The Bruins dominated in all phases of the game on Wednesday, outshooting the visitors by 20 percent. UCLA made 55.2 percent of its total shot attempts, limiting the Waves to just 35.0 percent from the field.
In addition, the Bruins made 10 of 20 attempts from 3-point range (50.0 percent).
UCLA played a disciplined defensive game, as well, as Pepperdine did not head to the free throw line for the first time until the 6:39 mark in the second half.
Pepperdine played its best basketball early, as Mallette sunk back-to-back 3-pointers to key an 8-2 scoring run for the Waves. That sequence put Pepperdine ahead, 14-12, with 13:22 to play (marking the Waves' only lead of the game).
From there, the Bruins scored six consecutive points to take the lead for good. That helped to spark a 19-2 scoring run for UCLA. A 3-point basket from Singleton during the scoring spree gave the Bruins their largest advantage of the first half – at 31-16 with 6:35 left before the intermission.
UCLA took a 43-29 lead into the locker room. Bailey had 12 of his 19 points before halftime.
The Bruins pulled away with a dominant second half, shooting just under 60 percent while limiting the Waves to less than 30 percent shooting. UCLA was especially efficient from deep, with six different Bruins connecting from 3-point land and the team going 7-of-10 on 3-pointers in the second half.
Jaquez Jr. was the individual standout on the floor in the second half, scoring a game-high 13 points in the second stanza. In all, 11 different Bruins registered points in the second half.
UCLA returns to action against Bellarmine University this Sunday afternoon. Game time is set for 4 p.m. (PT) in Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom. UCLA's game against Bellarmine will be televised by the Pac-12 Network.