Freshman lead No. 19 UCLA to victory over Denver

The freshman received extended minutes and used them well. Dylan Andrews led the way.

Remember the freshman.

When Wil McClendon checked in after 2:15 minutes of play, No. 19 UCLA Bruins fans knew they would see extended looks of deep rotation players. The redshirt freshman McClendon immediately forced a turnover amid a 14-1 Bruins scoring run.

The run would give them a 16-4 lead, one they would never lose, before beating the Denver Pioneers, 87-64. 

Still working back to form from an ACL injury, McClendon played 11 minutes, scoring three points. 

Even with deep rotation players checking in early, the Bruins were challenged in the first half. Despite forcing 12 turnovers, the Pioneers kept the game close by shooting 57.1% from the floor and 66.7% from beyond the arc.

Freshman Dylan Andrews delivered a spark, shutting down the Pioneers’ efforts. 

He helped the Bruins outscore their opponent by 14 in the second half while enjoying increased minutes. Andrews displayed his craftiness with the ball, scoring from all three levels and dishing out dazzling assists. 

While Andrews has only played 11.3 minutes per game this season, his productive play drew him a second-half start alongside David Singleton. Head coach Mick Cronin chose the two over starters Tyger Campbell and Amari Bailey. 

Andrews finished with 11 points, five assists, and a +/- of  27. 

While the young players flashed their talent, the typical veterans chipped in too. Junior Jaylen Clark led the Bruins on both ends of the floor and did it with a smile.

Offensively, he primarily scored around the basket but knocked in a couple of threes too. Defensively, Clark actively sought steals and finished with four. 

Clark ended with 24 points and four rebounds. 

Jaime Jaquez also contributed with 18 points, a typical impressive day from the senior forward. He mainly scored from his usual avenue, the post. 

Next for the Bruins is a ranked matchup against the No. 13 Maryland Terrapins: a significant challenge for them as they are 0-2 against top-25 opponents. 

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