(East Los Angeles, CA) December 9, 2021 [From The Editor’s Desk]: December quietly arrived and so did the Men’s Basketball PAC-12 Conference Opener for the #5 ranked UCLA Bruins (at game-time). Their opponent, the Tad Boyle coached Colorado Buffaloes, usually showcase several key players that were recruited from the high school and junior college campuses here in Los Angeles and suburban Southern California.
In quickly catching up to the Bruins, after their school break and road trip to Las Vegas during the Thanksgiving Holiday week, they came away with a (2-1) record for their efforts. They defeated Bellarmine University (75-62) and the Univ. of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) Runnin’ Rebels (73-51). Sandwiched in between those games was the face-off with Nation’s #1 ranked team, at that time, the Gonzaga Bulldogs, who beat the Bruins handily, (83-63) in that NCAA Tournament Selection Committee’s much-followed early season encounter.
But, that was then, and this is now. Coach Mick Cronin has kept up to his high standard of overall play by his players. And even when they win, he finds a reason to provoke their thoughts on doing even better.
(Game Summary): [1st Half] – Both teams hit their first shots. The Bruins took the lead at (7-2) in the few first minutes of the game, after C/SR/#15/Myles Johnson, PG/JR/#10/Tyger Campbell, and F/JR/#3/Johnny Juzang hit their first shots. Juzang then hit a jump-shot off an in-bound pass for a (9-4) lead.
But at the (12:00) minute mark, Jaime Jaquez, Jr., was knocked hard to the floor on a driving lay-up from the heavy body contact initiated by his defender. After landing back-first, his head also hit the hardwood due to the instantaneous “ripple” effect. The crowd collectively gasped and held its breath on the play as Jaquez, Jr. remained motionless for a short while. Next, the UCLA Medical team immediately came out to administer to him. He was removed from the game and did manage to walk off the court and into the locker room for medical attention. He returned to the bench after being examined for 10 minutes and did not return to play for the remainder of the half.
At the (7:30) mark, a time-out was called as the Bruins lead was cut to (22-16). Their offense was yet to get in sync, with only intermittent baskets coming just in time to preserve their short lead.
At the (6:00) minute mark remaining in the half, a beautiful “2-on-1” fast break from G/SR/#1/Jules Brand to Juzang gave the UCLA student body a chance to cheer heartily as the basket returned the team to a (10 point) lead. A successful “1 & 1” bonus free throw by F/SR/Jake Kyman moved the lead to (12). A driving slam dunk by SO/#0/Jaylen Clark, rocked the crowd to a fervor and moved the score to (30-16). That was immediately followed by a crowd pleasing triple from Bernard, that made it (33-16), Bruins. A Media time-out came at (4:00) and the scoreboard read (33-21) with (1:56) left. After a good Singleton jumper, Juzang came back with a nice pivot move in the key for a score of (37-21). Campbell added points after his offensive rebound by banking in a short 3-footer off-the-glass for a (39-23) lead.
(HALFTIME SCORE): UCLA 39 Colorado 23
(Of Significance): The loss of Jaquez, Jr. due to his incident, while causing deep concern from his Coach and fellow teammates, did alter the subbing pattern to take up for his missing floor presence, when teammates, #23/Peyton Watson, #14/Kenneth Nwuba, #0/Jaylen Clark and #13/Jake Kyman earned valuable “playing time” at this point in the season.
(2nd HALF): It was a rather slow start for the Bruins till Myles Johnson slam-dunked a miss by Campbell. Colorado started out with 6 quick points cutting into the double digit lead. Jaquez, Jr. was on the bench for the Bruins to start the half and did not return to the contest by Coach Cronin’s decision. Then, Campbell threaded the nets for a 3-pointer making it UCLA 44, CO 29. Jabari Walker, stayed consistent in scoring for the Buffs. A triple by Juzang made it (47-34). Colorado called a time-out to stop the Bruins momentum at the (15:14) mark.
Then a “comeback” of sorts by Colorado started, but it was short-lived. They cut the lead to (10) at the (11:57) mark, followed by a UCLA time-out to stop their run. Then another big Colorado 3-pointer cut it to (48-41) at the (11:20) mark. Reserves seeing good action during this rotation by Coach Cronin were Singleton, Watson, Nwuba, and Clark. But, “back to work” went Johnson, who was now posting up, and managed to draw fouls. The Bruins then hit an unwanted “cold spell” at a bad time. First, Johnson missed 2 free throws. #34/Singleton was fouled on a fast break, but made only one, (48-42). The Buffaloes best player, Jabari Walker then sank 2 free thows, (48-44). Juzang answered back with a pair of his own, (50-44). Campbell scored on a runner in the lane for their 52nd point. Brand then made a spinning lay-up for a score of (54-46). A Media Time-out came with (7:34). When play resumed, Campbell added another trey for (57-46) with (6:12) left. Teams exchanged baskets during this next stretch of time until a time-out was called at (3:57), with the score reading, Bruins 62, Colorado 52.
Then the Buffs scored a quick four, making it (64-56). But next, Campbell then hit the game “back-breaking” 3-pointer from just left of the shooting stripe apex for a lead of (67-56). A Juzang jumper made it (69-58) followed by a Brand basket, to make it (71-58). A Jabari Walker 3-pointer cut the lead to (71-61) with just (0:26.2) seconds left. Brand closed out the scoring by making his “1 and 1” bonus free throw for the final score of the game.
(FINAL SCORE): UCLA 73 Colorado 61 Attendance: 7, 941
(Of Significance): Famous Bruin alums in attendance were: Bill Walton, who was the game analyst for the PAC-12 Network and Russell Westbrook, Honorary Bruins Captain for the game, current L.A. Laker, and All-Time NBA “Triple-Double” Leader with (189). View our Photo Gallery for pictures of both former Bruins.
- Jaime Jaquez, Jr. – Hopefully, after this very long break in between games, he has been fully cleared by the Team physician to play once again, and will turn to his starting line-up position come Saturday against Marquette. The team has been idle since the 12/1 Colorado game.
- The official PAC-12 Conference game vs. the Washington Huskies, last Sat. 12/4, was canceled and then forfeited due to COVID-19 conditions that impacted the team.
- The game will not be rescheduled as the Pac-12’s policy for contests impacted by COVID-19 is that if the two programs cannot mutually agree on a reschedule date, the team impacted by COVID-19 will by rule forfeit the contest. As this is a forfeited Pac-12 game, it will count as a league win for UCLA. However, per NCAA policy, there will be NO adjustment to overall records.
(Next Up): The #4 nationally ranked Bruins travel to Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Saturday, December 11th, at 11:30 AM, to take on the Marquette Golden Eagles from the Big East Conference. To watch, the nationally televised contest, go to: FOX 11; to listen, go to: 1150 Radio AM. The Bruins return home to host the Alabama St. Hornets on Wednesday, 12/15. Tipoff is slated for 8:00 PM.