One team had to lose both games, and it was the No. 8 UCLA Bruins.
After falling to the No. 19 Illinois Fighting Illini on Friday, the Bruins had a redemption opportunity against the No. 5 Baylor Bears. However, they failed to capitalize, losing 80-75 in the Continental Tire Main Event consolation game, finishing the tournament 0-2.
The Bruins were on the back foot all night.
They dropped behind by nine points early, then clawed back to take the lead. Then, the Bruins fell again but cut the deficit before halftime. Finally, they found themselves behind once more, but by then, it was too late.
LJ Cryer and Adam Flagler led the Bears’ effort by shutting the down the Bruins’ runs with scoring. Cryer finished the night with 28 points, and Flagler ended with 22 points.
The Bruins have been unable to receive much production this season outside of their veteran quartet of Jaime Jaquez, Tyger Campbell, Jaylen Clark, and David Singleton. When the group was relatively ineffective on Friday, the rest of the team failed to step up.
Today featured much of the same inconsistency, except for freshman Dylan Andrews.
Andrews played a career-high 16 minutes while flashing his upside. While he did not fill the box score, he exhibited his passing capability, defensive awareness, and valuable euro step.
Andrews’ effort even helped the Bruins open up a three-point gap after making a three-pointer with 11:46 remaining in the game, but they failed to hold on.
Clark also chipped in by finding his form again. The junior, known for his physical style of play, found success from long-range during the Bruins’ first three matchups. However, during the Continental Tire Main Event, he reverted to using the previously established areas of his game: slashing and sound defense.
Clark attacked the basket and scored 23 points, all of which came from inside the arc. He was incredibly productive in the first half, scoring 17 points.
Jaquez contributed as well by using his physicality in the post and midrange. He scored 15 points on 5-of-11 shooting. However, foul trouble limited his night to only 26 minutes.
The Bruins will return from Las Vegas without any chips in hand. However, they could identify areas of improvement after struggling against consecutive ranked opponents.
The Bruins will attempt to rebuild their confidence at home before starting PAC-12 conference play. Their next games are against the Pepperdine Waves and Bellarmine Knights on Wednesday and Sunday, respectively.