UCLA Men’s Basketball Surges Ahead For Win Over Washington State

Jaime Jaquez Jr. dropped 24 points and a career-high 15 rebounds in a blowout victory over the Cougars.

The second half has been the Bruins’ achilles heel over the past few weeks, but they broke that pattern at Pauley Pavilion on Saturday night.

No. 9 UCLA men’s basketball (19-4, 10-2 Pac-12) used a handful of big runs to beat Washington State (10-15, 5-9) by a score of 76-52, securing their first comfortable victory in weeks. The Bruins got it done on both ends of the floor, especially late, scoring their most points against a Power Five opponent since Dec. 14 and holding their opponent under 54 for just the second time in the last month.

Guard/forward Jaime Jaquez Jr. did most of the heavy lifting on the offensive end, dropping 24 points on an efficient 9-for-17 shooting. The senior’s three 3-pointers were also tied for his most in a single game all season, and he set a new career high with 15 rebounds.

Center Adem Bona was a key piece of UCLA’s defensive effort, blocking three shots and recording two steals on top of those. His ability to switch and hedge on screens helped the Bruins hold the Cougars to 3-for-20 from the field in the final 14 minutes of action.

Early on, there was a little more back-and-forth, but UCLA did manage to have a slight advantage heading into the break.

Three of the Cougars’ first four field goals came from beyond the arc, giving them an 11-7 lead early on. The Bruins’ defense tightened up not long after, however, allowing their offense to go on a 13-2 run.

Guard Jaylen Clark’s 3-pointer sparked that defining stretch for UCLA, and triples from guard/forward Jaime Jaquez Jr. and guard David Singleton put them up by double digits for the first time all night.

When forward Andrej Jakimovski staged a mini 5-0 run to answer, Jaquez hit another 3-pointer and center Adem Bona flushed home a dunk to reestablish control.

Each side sank five 3-pointers in the first half, but the Bruins got five more 2s to fall.

UCLA got long balls out of Jaquez and guard Amari Bailey early in the second half to put them up by 14. Right after Washington State got TJ Bamba and Justin Powell hit sink 3-pointers of their own, the Bruins staged a 13-0 run that virtually sealed the win.

Within that run, UCLA didn’t need a single 3-pointer. When Washington State started to chip away at the seemingly insurmountable gap, Singleton and Clark came through with triples to stick a dagger in them.

By the end of the night, the Bruins scored 12 more points off turnovers and 24 more points in the paint. Their bench also outscored the Cougars’ 17-0, with Singleton, guard Dylan Andrews, forward Mac Etienne and big man Kenny Nwuba each chipping in some much-needed points.

Point guard Tyger Campbell only scored four points, but he accounted for nine of his team’s 18 assists. Washington State, on the other hand, only hit 17 field goals on the night.

UCLA can make it three wins in a row on the road against Oregon State on Feb. 9, with that game tipping off at 6 p.m.

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