Bruin Offense Comes Alive in Second Half as UCLA Tops Arizona, 74-60
Jaime Jaquez, Jr. celebrated his 20th birthday with a career-high 25 points.
Tonight, on Jaime Jaquez, Jr.’s birthday, Jaquez put up a career-high 25 points. So, what players have birthday coming up over the next month, especially on March 6th?
Seriously, though, the game didn’t start well for the Bruins as Arizona jumped out to a quick 10-2 start in a little over three minutes. UCLA spent the next fourteen and a half minutes playing catch-up. With just over twelve minutes left in the half, Jules Bernard hit a jumper to cut Arizona’s lead to two, but the Bruins couldn’t retake the lead. With just under seven minutes to play in the first half, Arizona had stretched their lead back to seven points, 27-20.
An 8-0 run, capped by a jumper from the birthday boy, gave UCLA their first lead of the game with just over two minutes to go, but the Wildcats finished the half strong by scoring four of the final six points to take a 31-30 lead into the locker room.
Even though the Bruins were playing from behind for most of the half the thing which stood out from UCLA was the defense. In the first half, the Bruins had four steals to Arizona’s two and UCLA created a total of eight turnovers in the half to the Wildcats four. This was a trend which continued into the second half.
While the defense remained strong, the big difference in the second half was Jaquez. Sure, he led the Bruins at the half with eight points, but he put up 17 of his 25 in the second half.
Cody Riley started the half with a layup that gave the Bruins a 32-31 lead, but the teams battle back and forth over the first four minutes of the second half. With 16:22 left in the game, Riley hit another shot that put UCLA ahead for good. The Bruins spent the rest of the game pulling away from Arizona, en route to a relatively easy 74-60 win.
Overall, it was a good game by the Bruins on both sides of the ball. They forced a total of 16 Arizona turnovers including nine steals and they were effective on offense as they won by their biggest margin since they beat Washington State by 30 over a month ago.
Hopefully, they can continue to play like this over their next three games to set up a game against Southern Cal for the Pac-12 regular season championship at Pauley where they haven’t lost since January 15, 2020.
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Mick Cronin is 4-0 against Sean Miller while at UCLA. Now he just needs to avoid going 0-4 against Andy Enfield.