On Saturday night, the No. 7 UCLA Bruins had a rare chance to capitalize on another team’s mistake. But they were not trying to take advantage of an error made by the team they were facing, the Oregon Ducks. Instead, they were looking to make the most of one made by the No. 4 Wildcats, who played against the Stanford Cardinal.
The Wildcats lost 88-79 shortly before the Bruins tipped off, meaning the Bruins could increase their PAC-12 Conference lead to two games with a win over the Ducks.
However, initially, it seemed like the Bruins would fail to seize this opportunity. Adem Bona picked up a foul, and Kenneth Nwuba checked in and did the same (he would go on to foul out of the game in the second half). To make matters worse, Ducks center N’Faly Dante was thriving on offense as his team scored eight unanswered points to begin the game.
However, as almost always, the Bruins stormed their way back into the game with a 14-2 run. Despite this, as the first half continued, the Bruins’ big men foul troubles continued, and Mac Etienne played extended minutes. Then, Amari Bailey injured his right ankle with just over a minute left, and he left for the locker room early.
The Bruins were down by three points at halftime, but eventually, they went on a 21-4 run before picking up a 70-63 victory. Their defense was beneficial as they held the Ducks to 30 points in the second half, ten less than their 40 points in the same period.
By claiming victory, the Bruins took advantage of the opportunity to increase their lead at the top of the PAC-12 Conference standings to two games.
Bailey also returned for the start of the second half and contributed to a balanced offensive effort. He scored all of his points inside of the three-point line.
Bailey ended with eight points and rebounds.
While Bailey found some offensive success, Jaquez was the Bruins’ leading scorer. He scored 25 points and moved into the top-20 list of points in the Bruins’ history.
Jaquez also grabbed 12 rebounds.
David Singleton also chipped in by scoring two of the Bruins’ six three-pointers en route to a nine-point night. Plus, Jaylen Clark scored 13 points.
Next for the Bruins is a trip home before they face the Cardinal on Thursday at 8 p.m.