UCLA Men’s Basketball Rides Stars to Big Win Over Arizona State

Jaime Jaquez Jr. led the Bruins with 26 points, while Tyger Campbell and Jaylen Clark added 18 and 15, respectively.

In what was likely his penultimate appearance at Pauley Pavilion, Jaime Jaquez Jr. made sure the Bruins stayed hot.

The national player of the year candidate almost singlehandedly dug No. 4 UCLA men’s basketball (26-4, 17-2 Pac-12) out of an early 10-point hole, scoring 17 of his team’s first 23 points before they completely ran away with a 79-61 win over Arizona State (20-10, 11-8). It marked the ninth win in a row for the Bruins, as well as their 24th in a row on their home floor.

Arizona State made them work for it, though, hitting 14 of its first 28 shots and forcing UCLA into 11 first-half turnovers. If it weren’t for Jaquez and point guard Tyger Campbell, the Bruins would have fallen too far behind to even compete down the stretch.

The pair of seniors accounted for 28 of UCLA’s 36 points in the first half, also helping to slow down Arizona State’s high-octane offense on the other end.

The Sun Devils were on pace for 96 points at the first media timeout, and they ended the night 35 points shy of that mark. Meanwhile, the Bruins gutted things out on the boards, turning 36 missed shots into 20 offensive rebounds and 18 second-chance points.

Due to those extra opportunities and some big nights from its stars, UCLA was able to put its slow start safely in the rear-view mirror.

After getting the first bucket of the game, the Bruins gave up a 12-0 Sun Devil run. UCLA uncharacteristically turned the ball over at a high rate, and Arizona State took advantage by hitting transition 3s.

The Bruins weren’t about to roll over, though, as they went on a 6-0 run capped off by Jaquez’s noisy tomahawk. That started a stretch of 13 straight points by Jaquez, all while his teammates continued to miss shots and cough the ball away.

Even when big man Mac Etienne ended Jaquez’s streak, it was a second-chance layup off a Jaquez miss. Jaquez then deflected a jump pass to get point guard Dylan Andrews a steal, and the freshman passed it right back to him for a fast break layup.

UCLA had dug itself out of an early double-digit deficit to tie things up at 23-23, only for guard Desmond Cambridge Jr. to knock down another transition 3 and prevent the Bruins from taking back the lead.

Travels, charges and three-in-the-key calls went against UCLA to cool off its offense again, but one shooting foul sent Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley over the edge. Hurley’s technical for arguing with the referees sent Campbell to the line for two free throws, and when Jaquez hit the two that he earned on the shooting foul, the Bruins had officially taken their first lead since the opening minute of action.

Campbell hit two more free throws after drawing a flagrant foul setting a screen, and guard David Singleton hit a midrange jumper to make it a five-point lead. After Arizona State got a layup and a few free throws of its own to snap the 8-0, Campbell hit a 3-pointer right before the buzzer to send UCLA into the locker room up 36-32.

The Bruins went up by seven thanks to another couple of baskets from Campbell, and then guard Jaylen Clark got a steal that led to a two-handed slam on the fast break. Campbell stayed active as a distributor as well, finding center Adem Bona on a pick-and-roll alley-oop, but it was his transition 3-pointer that put UCLA up by 11.

Clark kept things going on the fast break, Bona stayed active on the offensive boards and Jaquez continued to throw down powerful dunks. At the under-12 media timeout, the Bruins had built their lead out to 57-41.

An 18-7 run over a seven-minute span got UCLA to that point and virtually buried Arizona State in the process.

While it was Jaquez and Campbell who got things done in the first half, Clark was the one who iced things late. The defensive Swiss Army Knife had no points and one rebound in the first half, and he ended the night with a 15-point, 11-rebound double-double.

Jaquez led the Bruins with 26 points, also adding seven rebounds. Campbell finished with 18 points, four assists and three steals.

UCLA will wrap up the regular season Saturday against No. 8 Arizona. That game will tip off at 7 p.m. and be televised on ESPN.

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