UCLA Starts Pac-12 Play on Right Foot, Defeat Colorado 73-61
The Bruins were able to grind out a victory without Jaime Jaquez.
There are times that the game ends and I’m utterly convinced the post-game wrap-up article will be rather short. This is one of those times.
The UCLA Bruins opened Pac-12 play on Wednesday, and handled the Colorado Buffaloes fairly convincingly, winning 73-61. The Bruins never trailed in this game, going wire to wire against a solid Colorado squad.
Of course, I should start with the biggest storyline of this game: Jaime Jaquez. Jaquez played all of seven minutes of this game before leaving the game after a hard fall on a drive. Jaquez was taken to the locker room and examined before making his way back to the bench for the end of the first half, but he was never put back in the game, and it appears he was kept out due to precautionary reasons. The obvious good news here is that it did not look like a serious injury for Jaime, though the way the back of his head hit the floor does make me concerned about a potential concussion, and I’m sure we’ll find out more in the next few days.
Still, the Bruins handled their business without Jaquez thanks to a virtuoso performance from Tyger Campbell and a resurgent performance from Myles Johnson. Campbell drove the UCLA offense in a way he hasn’t really before in his Bruin career; sure, there were still the assists and floaters and ridiculous layups, but Tyger got to show off his improved three-point shooting again in this game, going 4-7 from distance. Myles Johnson, meanwhile, had perhaps his best overall game as a Bruin, scoring 12 points on 5-6 shooting and looking much more confident in the low post offensively, while also grabbing 10 rebounds for the double-double.
The UCLA defense was very good in the first half, holding Colorado to 23 points on 37% shooting while themselves racing out to a 16-point halftime lead. The second half did see Colorado cut into the lead, including getting it down to four points with a little over 10 minutes left, but this wasn’t a quick run where the Bruins faltered defensively; UCLA just could not make a shot, at one point only scoring a single free throw in six minutes of game time. Fortunately for the home team, that four-point lead was as low as it would get, as the Bruins quickly pushed the lead back out to double-digits and kept it there for the rest of the game.
The Bruins will now turn their attention to the Pacific Northwest, and with good reason. UCLA’s next opponent, the Washington Huskies, had to postpone their game tomorrow due to COVID-19, and there is no word on whether they will be ready to go for Sunday. If that game gets postponed, which does look increasingly likely, then the Bruins will have 10 days off before their next game on the road at Marquette. That might work out to UCLA’s benefit - while the Bruins might risk getting rusty, it would give them plenty of time to make sure Jaime Jaquez and potentially Cody Riley are healthy and ready for that road game.
Tyger Campbell led the Bruins with 21 points. Johnny Juzang led the team with six assists, while Myles Johnson led the team with 10 rebounds. Jabari Walker led Colorado with 22 points.
Player of the Game: Tyger Campbell - Campbell was in his bag in this one, hitting shots at every level while still orchestrating the offense. He’s still not the greatest defensively, but if he’s playing at this level offensively, then it will become increasingly hard to take him off the court.
Bruins Win the Rebounding Battle - Colorado is an excellent rebounding team, and that was one of the storylines heading into this game as to whether the Bruins would hold up on the glass. Well, they did that and more, winning the rebounding battle 36-29 and keeping the Buffaloes off the offensive glass. Myles Johnson obviously had a monster game, but Campbell and Johnny Juzang did an excellent job of crashing the boards as well, grabbing seven rebounds each.
Jaime’s Health Watch - Jaime Jaquez took a bad fall in this one, and sat out 3/4 of this game as a result. There is no early word on this status, and the Bruins were able to win this game without him which is a good sign, but it would still benefit UCLA to not have Jaquez miss games.
The Bruins will theoretically play Washington on Sunday, though the status of that game is up in the air.
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Was very impressed with ucla continuing to play their offensive sets through the end of the game. Tyger averaging a turnover a game! Also, singleton played really well in this one. He wound up getting some extra minutes with Jaime on the bench I think.
CU was screwed by sptr in this game. You can never entirely blame the refs, but battey was the unfortunate recipient of some poor calls and CU depend on him to run their offense because they really don’t have another post presence. I have to think this game would have been a lot closer if he wasn’t in foul trouble.
Watson also continues to develop. He hasn’t taken as many jumpers… which is good. If he can make the easy jump shot, then fire away, but at this point he’s not consistent enough for the jumpers.
Ucla will get a forfeit victory vs Washington. Not sure why it won’t be made up instead