UCLA holds off Marquette with poise down the stretch

  • UCLA guard Johnny Juzang fouls Marquette guard Koby McEwen during the second half of Friday night’s game at Pauley Pavilion. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • UCLA forward Jalen Hill, right, defends against Marquette guard Koby McEwen during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Dec. 11, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Marquette forward Theo John, right, looks for a pass around UCLA forward Jalen Hill during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Dec. 11, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • UCLA forward Jalen Hill (24) dunks during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Marquette, Friday, Dec. 11, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 11: Head coach Mike Cronin of the UCLA Bruins reacts to a play during the first half against the Marquette Golden Eagles at UCLA Pauley Pavilion on December 11, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • Marquette forward Justin Lewis, center, goes up for a shot against UCLA guard Chris Smith, left, and UCLA guard David Singleton (34) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Dec. 11, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • UCLA guard Chris Smith, left, is defended by Marquette forward Justin Lewis during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Dec. 11, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • of an NCAA college basketball game Marquette forward Jamal Cain, left, dunks against UCLA forward Jalen Hill during the first half Friday, Dec. 11, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • UCLA guard Jaime Jaquez Jr. , right, shoots while defended by Marquette forward Theo John, front left, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Dec. 11, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Marquette guard Greg Elliott (5) shoots against UCLA guard Jules Bernard (1) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Dec. 11, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • UCLA guard Chris Smith (5) is defended by Marquette forward Theo John (4) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Dec. 11, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • UCLA coach Mick Cronin looks to the sideline during the first half of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against Marquette on Friday, Dec. 11, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Marquette forward Dawson Garcia, right, shoots against UCLA guard Jaime Jaquez Jr. during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Dec. 11, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 11: Jalen Hill #24 of the UCLA Bruins and Theo John #4 of the Marquette Golden Eagles fight for the rebound during the second half at UCLA Pauley Pavilion on December 11, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • UCLA forward Jalen Hill, right, defends against Marquette guard Koby McEwen during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Dec. 11, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • Marquette forward Justin Lewis, center, goes up for a shot against UCLA guard Chris Smith, left, and UCLA guard David Singleton (34) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Dec. 11, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • UCLA guard Jules Bernard, left, is defended by Marquette forward Jamal Cain during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Dec. 11, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • UCLA guard Tyger Campbell celebrates a win over Marquette after an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Dec. 11, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • UCLA guard Jaime Jaquez Jr. (4) shoots next to Marquette forward Dawson Garcia (33) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Dec. 11, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 11: Theo John #4 of the Marquette Golden Eagles blocks a shot by Johnny Juzang #3 of the UCLA Bruins during the second half at UCLA Pauley Pavilion on December 11, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • Marquette coach Steve Wojciechowski stands near the sideline during the second half of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against UCLA on Friday, Dec. 11, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • UCLA guard Jules Bernard shoots over Marquette guard D.J. Carton (21) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Dec. 11, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • UCLA guard Tyger Campbell, right, is defended by Marquette guard Koby McEwen during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Dec. 11, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 11: Jamal Cain #23 of the Marquette Golden Eagles dunks the ball over Jalen Hill #24 of the UCLA Bruins during the first half at UCLA Pauley Pavilion on December 11, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 11: Jaylen Clark #0 of the UCLA Bruins and Koby McEwen #25 of the Marquette Golden Eagles fight for the ball during the first half at UCLA Pauley Pavilion on December 11, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 11: Jaime Jaquez Jr. #4 of the UCLA Bruins steals the ball from Theo John #4 of the Marquette Golden Eagles during the first half at UCLA Pauley Pavilion on December 11, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 11: Jalen Hill #24 of the UCLA Bruins dunks the ball over D.J. Carton #21 of the Marquette Golden Eagles during the first half at UCLA Pauley Pavilion on December 11, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 11: Koby McEwen #25 of the Marquette Golden Eagles reacts to a play during the first half against the UCLA Bruins at UCLA Pauley Pavilion on December 11, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 11: Tyger Campbell #10 of the UCLA Bruins brings the ball up court against the Marquette Golden Eagles during the first half at UCLA Pauley Pavilion on December 11, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 11: Jaylen Clark #0 of the UCLA Bruins and Dawson Garcia #33 of the Marquette Golden Eagles fight for the ball during the first half at UCLA Pauley Pavilion on December 11, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 11: D.J. Carton #21 of the Marquette Golden Eagles shoots a three point basket defended by Cody Riley #2 of the UCLA Bruins during the second half at UCLA Pauley Pavilion on December 11, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 11: Tyger Campbell #10 of the UCLA Bruins drives to the basket during the first half against the Marquette Golden Eagles at UCLA Pauley Pavilion on December 11, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 11: Justin Lewis #2 of the Marquette Golden Eagles and Jalen Hill #24 of the UCLA Bruins fight for the rebound during the second half at UCLA Pauley Pavilion on December 11, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 11: D.J. Carton #21 of the Marquette Golden Eagles and Johnny Juzang #3 of the UCLA Bruins fight for the rebound during the second half at UCLA Pauley Pavilion on December 11, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 11: Justin Lewis #2 of the Marquette Golden Eagles and Jalen Hill #24 of the UCLA Bruins fight for the rebound during the second half at UCLA Pauley Pavilion on December 11, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 11: Dawson Garcia #33 of the Marquette Golden Eagles looks to pass the ball against Jaime Jaquez Jr. #4 of the UCLA Bruins during the second half at UCLA Pauley Pavilion on December 11, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 11: Jaime Jaquez Jr. #4 of the UCLA Bruins reacts after getting fouled with Johnny Juzang #3 of the UCLA Bruins during the second half against the Marquette Golden Eagles at UCLA Pauley Pavilion on December 11, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 11: Jalen Hill #24 of the UCLA Bruins defends the rebound against Greg Elliott #5 of the Marquette Golden Eagles during the second half at UCLA Pauley Pavilion on December 11, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 11: Jalen Hill #24 of the UCLA Bruins dunks the ball during the second half against the Marquette Golden Eagles at UCLA Pauley Pavilion on December 11, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 11: Head coach Mike Cronin of the UCLA Bruins reacts to a play during the first half against the Marquette Golden Eagles at UCLA Pauley Pavilion on December 11, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 11: Tyger Campbell #10 of the UCLA Bruins drives to the basket against Koby McEwen #25 of the Marquette Golden Eagles during the second half at UCLA Pauley Pavilion on December 11, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 11: D.J. Carton #21 of the Marquette Golden Eagles shoots a three point basket defended by Tyger Campbell #10 of the UCLA Bruins during the second half at UCLA Pauley Pavilion on December 11, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 11: Johnny Juzang #3 of the UCLA Bruins drives to the basket against Jamal Cain #23 of the Marquette Golden Eagles during the first half at UCLA Pauley Pavilion on December 11, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 11: A general view of the empty seats at UCLA Pauley Pavilion while Chris Smith #5 of the UCLA Bruins takes a free throw shot during the second half of the game against the Marquette Golden Eagles on December 11, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – DECEMBER 11: Jalen Hill #24 of the UCLA Bruins dunks the ball over D.J. Carton #21 of the Marquette Golden Eagles during the first half at UCLA Pauley Pavilion on December 11, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images)

  • UCLA guard Jules Bernard (1), forward Jalen Hill (24) and guard Chris Smith (5) celebrate a win over Marquette after an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Dec. 11, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

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LOS ANGELES — UCLA’s shooting performance was a classic tale of hot and cold on Friday night. The Bruins endured separate stretches of five, six and seven consecutive misses. The stretches of six and seven were separated by one made shot.

When the shots weren’t falling, UCLA made up for it on defense, which anchored a 69-60 victory over Marquette at Pauley Pavilion despite a combined shooting performance of 3 for 20 from preseason All-American Chris Smith and sharpshooter Johnny Juzang.

“I’m proud of tonight’s game,” UCLA coach Mick Cronin said. “It’s a game that reinforces what I coach because Chris (Smith) and Johnny (Juzang) going 3 for 20 won’t happen (again). We were still able to win the game.”

UCLA (5-1) held Marquette (4-2) to just six points in the final eight minutes of the game – part of a 14-3 run to finish the night. Three of UCLA’s four blocked shots came in the final five minutes. Two from Jalen Hill and one from Smith.

“Chris showed a lot of maturity tonight,” Cronin said of the team’s lone senior. “He had a big block, big rebounds and free throws to help us win the game.”

Jaime Jaquez Jr. led the Bruins with a career-high-tying 18 points and six rebounds. Jules Bernard, who came off the bench for the first time this season, added 15 points and seven rebounds. Juzang, the Kentucky transfer who started in his second game, finished with nine points (3 for 12 from the field) and Smith (0 for 8) scored four.

Bernard’s 15 points came on just seven shot attempts with no turnovers. He also added two steals.

“I’m a player who’s ready to play,” Bernard said. “Whether I start or come off the bench. I just played aggressive like I always do.”

“He’s become a very, very good player in front of our eyes,” Cronin said.

Juzang delivered a clutch jump shot with 2:12 left that extended UCLA’s lead to five points. If there was a time for UCLA to catch a hot shooting streak, it was at the end of the night. The Bruins converted on six of their last 10 field-goal attempts.

All of Smith’s free-throw attempts came in the final seven minutes, and he converted four of them, which helped to seal the game. It was all by design.

“We were struggling shooting,” Cronin said. “We wanted to get to the free-throw line late game, get Chris closer to the basket and get him to the free-throw line. It worked out for us.”

Marquette had won four of five coming in, including an upset of then-No. 4 Wisconsin. But the Eagles were held to just two field goals over the final seven minutes of their first road game. Marquette’s Dawson Garcia made a pair of free throws to tie the score for the last time at 56-all. Neither team ever led by double digits.

“We played a lot smarter the last eight minutes defensively,” Cronin said. “We got to the foul line and got a few key offensive rebounds.”

UCLA finished the night shooting 41% from the field, but Marquette’s 43% wasn’t much better. Marquette also had 18 turnovers to UCLA’s seven.

The Bruins fell behind by as many as seven in the first half after a Jamal Cain dunk made it 18-11. UCLA weathered an offensive drought that lasted more than three minutes, which included five consecutive empty possessions. David Singleton ended the shooting woes when he drained a corner 3-pointer.

Not only did Singleton’s 3 stop the drought, it sparked an offensive surge that saw the Bruins make nine of their next 11 field-goal attempts. Bernard made back-to-back shots, including a 3-pointer of his own before Jaquez Jr. thundered home an alley-oop in transition delivered from Tyger Campbell.

UCLA carried a 36-34 lead into halftime.

Friday night’s win is UCLA’s best of the season thus far, especially after it thumped mid-majors Seattle and San Diego. Its double-digit victory over Cal was expected and the triple-overtime victory over Pepperdine is looking more respectable after the Waves took down Cal themselves, handily.

Furthermore, the Bruins’ only loss – to San Diego State in the season opener – is hardly embarrassing after the unbeaten Aztecs took down Pac-12 contender Arizona State, 80-68, on Thursday night in Tempe.

“This was a big game for us. We knew (Marquette) had just knocked off Wisconsin,” Bernard said.

UP NEXT

UCLA hosts Long Beach State on Tuesday in a game that had been postponed last month.

Party in Pauley, Bruins win! 👏@jaquez_jr’s ties career-best 18 points as @UCLAMBB moves to 3-0 all-time against Marquette. pic.twitter.com/MYZ9txv5yA

— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) December 12, 2020

“I knew we had struggled from the 3-point line, as far as our shooting was concerned. When I saw an opening, I just took it and knew that we were in the bonus so I was driving, trying to draw fouls.”

Jaime Jaquez Jr. (@jaquez_jr), speaking to the media after UCLA’s win pic.twitter.com/z3r0AZM8by

— UCLA Men’s Basketball (@UCLAMBB) December 12, 2020

“Jules Bernard, obviously, the MVP in tonight’s game. His defense on their best players, his toughness, his rebounding, his efficiency on offense … He’s becoming a very good player in front of our eyes.”

Coach Cronin, speaking via Zoom after UCLA’s win pic.twitter.com/1L7U9XoayZ

— UCLA Men’s Basketball (@UCLAMBB) December 12, 2020

Jalen Hill finishes off a 6-0 UCLA run with this alley oop from @tygercampbell15!

Bruins lead by six with just 5:05 left in regulation.

📺: @Pac12Network
🖥: https://t.co/ZzjQRYhgcz#GoBruins pic.twitter.com/dG2t2GRs25

— UCLA Men’s Basketball (@UCLAMBB) December 12, 2020

.@JohnnyJuzang hits a long jumper to make it a 65-60 game and force a Marquette timeout.

📺: @Pac12Network
🖥: https://t.co/ZzjQRYhgcz#GoBruins pic.twitter.com/W14yZku394

— UCLA Men’s Basketball (@UCLAMBB) December 12, 2020

.@jules__bernard is good with the left again and UCLA leads by four!

📺: @Pac12Network
🖥: https://t.co/ZzjQRYhgcz#GoBruins pic.twitter.com/AWaHI8Q5y0

— UCLA Men’s Basketball (@UCLAMBB) December 12, 2020

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Johnny Juzang debuts as UCLA routs San Diego for fourth win in a row

  • UCLA forward Cody Riley, right, grabs a rebound next to teammates Chris Smith and San Diego forward Yauhen Massalski during the first half of Wednesday night’s game at Pauley Pavilion. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • San Diego guard Marion Humphrey, right, goes up for a shot against UCLA guard Johnny Juzang during the first half of Wednesday night’s game at Pauley Pavilion. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • San Diego guard Marion Humphrey, right, shoots next to UCLA guard Johnny Juzang during the first half of Wednesday night’s game at Pauley Pavilion. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • UCLA forward Jalen Hill, center, grabs a rebound during the first half of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against San Diego on Wednesday night at Pauley Pavilion. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • UCLA forward Cody Riley, right, and San Diego guard Finn Sullivan, left, run after a loose ball during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • San Diego guard Marion Humphrey, right, brings the ball up as UCLA guard David Singleton defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • UCLA guard Tyger Campbell (10) defends against San Diego guard Joey Calcaterra (2) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • San Diego forward Josh Parrish (4) goes up for a shot between UCLA guards Jaime Jaquez Jr. (4) and Johnny Juzang (3) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • UCLA coach Mick Cronin adjusts his mask on the sideline during the first half of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against San Diego on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • UCLA guard David Singleton, left, defends against San Diego guard Chris Herren Jr. during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • UCLA guard Johnny Juzang enters the court during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • UCLA guard Tyger Campbell (10) takes a shot past San Diego forward Yauhen Massalski (25) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • San Diego guard Chris Herren Jr., left, is defended by UCLA guard David Singleton (34) and forward Jalen Hill (24) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • UCLA forward Jalen Hill, right, shoots over San Diego forward Yavuz Gultekin during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • San Diego forward Yavuz Gultekin (11) goes up for a shot against UCLA forward Jalen Hill (24) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • UCLA guard Tyger Campbell shoots during the second half of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against San Diego on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • San Diego plays UCLA during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in an empty arena Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • UCLA guard Jaylen Clark dunks during the second half of the team’s NCAA college basketball game agianst San Diego on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • San Diego coach Sam Scholl yells from the sideline during the second half of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against UCLA on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • UCLA guard Tyger Campbell (10) shoots during the second half of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against San Diego on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • UCLA guard Tyger Campbell, left, takes the ball down the court during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • UCLA guard Johnny Juzang is fouled by San Diego guard Chris Herren Jr. during the second half of Wednesday night’s game at Pauley Pavilion. The Kentucky transfer scored 10 points in 19 minutes in his debut with the Bruins, an 83-56 victory. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • UCLA guard Johnny Juzang shoots during the second half of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against San Diego on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • UCLA guard Tyger Campbell, right, takes the ball past San Diego guard Marion Humphrey (0) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

  • San Diego guard Joey Calcaterra gets past UCLA guard Jake Kyman before taking a shot during the first half of Wednesday night’s game at Pauley Pavilion. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

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The recipe has been the same for UCLA the last two games.

There’s a feel-out process that lasts about 10 minutes before the Bruins make their move, create double-digit separation then balloon the lead on their way to a lopsided victory.

It was more of the same Wednesday night, but there was an added ingredient, as Kentucky transfer Johnny Juzang made his UCLA debut in the Bruins’ 83-56 victory over San Diego at Pauley Pavilion.

Juzang’s impact was seamless. He scored 10 points with one 3-pointer and grabbed three rebounds in 19 minutes. The former Harvard-Westlake star from Tarzana missed the team’s first four games with foot issues.

“It’s been a long time, a lot of training, a lot of pickup games, nothing real,” Juzang said after playing in his first college game in nine months. “To get out there and when the (first) shot went in, it was like ‘Ahh.’ It felt great, man. I’ve been waiting to play a game in this jersey for a while now. I felt great out there tonight, my conditioning, my body in general, my foot as well – everything felt really good.”

UCLA (4-1) had five players score in double figures. Jaime Jaquez Jr. led the way with 17 points, four rebounds and four blocked shots. Tyger Campbell had 12 points, five rebounds, five assists and no turnovers, Chris Smith added 12 points and eight rebounds, and Cody Riley had 11 points and 10 rebounds.

UCLA coach Mick Cronin attributed Juzang’s presence to be more than what appeared in the box score.

“Johnny is such a weapon to score, he gives space to guys like Jaime and Chris Smith to drive to the basket,” Cronin said. “You always have to be guarding him.”

The Bruins have won their last three games by 26 (against Seattle), 20 (Cal) and 27, respectively. Each game was essentially put away by a gut-punch run in the first half. Wednesday’s was a 13-0 run that lasted roughly four minutes. San Diego (0-1), which was playing its season opener because of a 14-day quarantine following a positive COVID-19 test in the program, had the score tied 15-15 at the 9:36 mark. Then it was 28-15 in what seemed like the blink of an eye.

Hill and Smith combined for five consecutive trips to the free-throw line before back-to-back jump shots from Jake Kyman helped give UCLA the 13-point advantage. Defensively, the Bruins were disruptive, forcing the Toreros to miss nine straight shots. San Diego shot 26% from the floor in the half, and the Bruins led 33-23 at halftime.

“It’s our mentality to keep our foot on the gas the entire game, every night,” Jaquez Jr. said. “With that being said, we get results like tonight.”

The Bruins had 10 players score Wednesday night and nine logged 17 minutes or more. That depth is a weapon Cronin believes will make UCLA very good.

“Our bench is a big part of it. We have multiple guys that can start,” Cronin said. “Trying to wear teams down with fresh bodies is going to be a big factor for us going forward. Whoever we put in the game, we have to be able to count on them to be solid on the defensive end and make good decisions on the offensive end. It will allow us to play at a pace that wears teams down.”

A Juzang jump shot at the 10:28 mark in the second half made it 52-36, a 14-point advantage. The game never got closer than that the rest of the night as the Bruins scored 50 points after the intermission.

The one bright spot for USD was Joey Calaterra’s 18 points, including four 3-pointers. Frankie Hughes pitched in 10 points and Yauhen Massalski tied his career-high with 14 rebounds for the Toreros, who have nine newcomers and just two returning starters. Their roster includes five transfers.

“You just can’t give up 16 offensive rebounds and expect to win,” USD coach Sam Scholl said.

WHAT’S NEXT FOR UCLA?

The Bruins will take on Marquette (4-1) on Friday at 6:30 p.m. at Pauley Pavilion in what will be the team’s biggest test since the season opener against San Diego State.

Marquette’s only loss this season was to Oklahoma State (70-62) and the Golden Eagles are coming off an impressive 67-65 victory over then-No. 4 Wisconsin on Dec. 4.

UCLA will make up its postponed game against Long Beach State on Tuesday (Dec. 15) at 6 p.m. at Pauley Pavilion before its out-of-state trip to Cleveland to take on Kentucky (1-3) on Dec. 19 in the CBS Sports Classic.


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Short-handed UCLA loses to San Diego State in season opener

  • San Diego State forward Matt Mitchell shoots as UCLA guard Jules Bernard, left, defends during the second half of Wednesday’s season opener in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

  • UCLA guard Jaime Jaquez Jr., left, is called for charging on San Diego State guard Terrell Gomez (3) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

  • San Diego State guard Jordan Schakel, left, drives to the basket as UCLA guard Jules Bernard defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

  • UCLA coach Mick Cronin yells during the second half of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against San Diego State, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

  • UCLA guard Tyger Campbell (10) dribbles behind his back as San Diego State guard Trey Pulliam defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

  • UCLA guard Tyger Campbell drives to the basket as San Diego State guard Trey Pulliam defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

  • UCLA guard Tyger Campbell, right, drives to the basket as San Diego State guard Trey Pulliam defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

  • UCLA guard Chris Smith (5) blocks a shot from San Diego State guard Jordan Schakel (20) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

  • UCLA guard Jules Bernard, left, reaches for the ball as San Diego State guard Jordan Schakel (20) looks to pass it during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

  • UCLA guard Chris Smith (5) drives to the basket as San Diego State forward Matt Mitchell (11) defends, center, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

  • UCLA guard Tyger Campbell, right, loses control of the ball as San Diego State forward Nathan Mensah (31) defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

  • UCLA coach Mick Cronin yells during the second half of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against San Diego State, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

  • San Diego State forward Matt Mitchell, right, drives to the basket as UCLA guard Chris Smith (5) defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

  • UCLA guard Tyger Campbell shoots during the first half of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against San Diego State, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

  • San Diego State forward Matt Mitchell, center, tries to get possession of the ball between UCLA guards Chris Smith, left, and Tyger Campbell during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

  • San Diego State forward Joshua Tomai scores during the second half of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against UCLA on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

  • UCLA coach Mick Cronin, center, watches during the final minute of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against San Diego State, Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

  • UCLA forward Cody Riley is fouled by San Diego State forward Joshua Tomai during the second half of Wednesday’s season opener in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

  • San Diego State players on the bench react during the final minute of the team’s 73-58 win over UCLA in an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

  • UCLA plays San Diego State in front of empty stands at Viejas Arena during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

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Expected starters Johnny Juzang and Jalen Hill were ruled out of UCLA’s season opener two hours before tipoff on Wednesday night due to injury. The absence of Juzang, known for his offensive skill set, and Hill, the team’s second-leading returning scorer, left preseason All-American Chris Smith with a lot of scoring responsibility.

The problem is, foul trouble sidelined Smith for much of the game and host San Diego State took advantage in its 73-58 season-opening victory over short-handed UCLA in a Viejas Arena that was otherwise empty due to COVID-19 protocols.

The 22nd-ranked Bruins will remain in San Diego for Thanksgiving and take on Pepperdine (1-0) on Friday at noon.

Smith, the Bruins’ only senior, finished with 10 points (all in the first half) in 27 minutes. When he was on the bench with foul trouble the Bruins struggled offensively.

“Two starters not out there didn’t help,” UCLA coach Mick Cronin said.

San Diego State had two big runs. One in the first half to take the lead, and the other in the second half to balloon it. The game had just one lead change. When Smith picked up a second personal foul and had to sit, San Diego State went on a 13-2 run that turned its three-point deficit into a 25-21 lead with just under six minutes left in the opening half.

During that stretch, UCLA was 1 for 8 from the field in an eight-minute window, which included a four-minute scoring drought.

San Diego State eventually extended its lead to 34-28 by halftime.

In the second half, Smith picked up his fourth personal foul at the offensive end. forcing Cronin to take him out again. The Aztecs, who played suffocating, disruptive defense, went on a 10-2 run that pushed their lead to 58-42, with 9:20 left. The closest UCLA got for the rest of the night was within 13.

Smith eventually fouled out with 4:47 left.

On top of UCLA’s offensive woes, Cronin was disappointed by the team’s defensive performance.

“Our defensive effort, mentally and physically, was atrocious,” said Cronin, whose team went 19-12 last season and was picked to win the Pac-12 this season.

“We got outplayed physically. I’ve been doing this a long time. … You go on the road and just get physically beat up the way we got beat up, and our defense was atrocious. We didn’t follow the scouting report at all. We got beat off the dribble, we walked away from shooters, we did mind-boggling stuff, to be honest with you. Like, total regression. I don’t know if that’s borne out of overconfidence – I don’t know what that’s borne out of. But obviously, I have to fix that immediately.”

San Diego State’s deep roster was definitely a recipe for trouble for the short-handed Bruins.

“We have great depth,” SDSU coach Brian Dutcher said. “We used a lot of guys, 10 guys, and we don’t drop off much. This might be as deep a team as we’ve ever had. UCLA was short-handed. They were missing two players, potentially two starters, so I just think we wore them down. We picked them up full court the entire game and I think we just wore them down to the point where maybe they were on tired legs by the end of the game.”

The Aztecs were led by Matt Mitchell and Jordan Schakel, with 15 points apiece. They each made three 3-pointers, and the Aztecs, picked to repeat as Mountain West Conference regular-season champions, finished 9 for 23 from behind the arc.

Aguek Arop and Terrell Gomez added 10 points each for SDSU, which was 30-2 last season and expecting its highest seed ever in the NCAA Tournament before it was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Jaime Jaquez Jr. led the Bruins with 17 points and six rebounds. Forward Cody Riley pitched in 14 points and 12 rebounds.

“I don’t really care about the stats and stuff,” Jaquez Jr. said. “I just play my hardest.”

UCLA emphasized a goal of faster play this season but couldn’t get its transition game going and had just one fast-break point.

“We couldn’t get a stop, and when we did get a stop, we couldn’t get a rebound,” Cronin said. “There are facets of the game where we have to be solid and physically tough. We aren’t a team full of (NBA) lottery picks.”

One of the most glaring statistics to Cronin was UCLA’s turnovers (15) and how many more shots that gave San Diego State. The Aztecs attempted 58 shots to UCLA’s 43.

“It was total regression tonight,” Cronin said with disappointment. “Total regression.”

Juzang has been ruled “week-to-week” with a stress reaction in his right foot. Hill, a 6-foot-10 swingman, is “day-to-day” with right knee tendinitis. Hill could play in Friday’s game.

CROWD NOISE

Asked if his players were bothered by the faux crowd noise at usually raucous Viejas Arena, Cronin said: “The problem wasn’t the crowd noise. The problem was San Diego State, their toughness, their execution.”

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UCLA forward Jalen Hill withdraws his name from NBA Draft

Jalen Hill is returning to Westwood.

The UCLA forward has withdrawn his name from the NBA Draft, a school spokesperson said, to return to the Bruins for his redshirt junior season. Hill’s name was on a list of players who declared early for the draft released by the NBA this week.

Hill started in 25 of 30 games for UCLA as a sophomore, averaging nine points and 6.9 rebounds per contest, leading the Bruins in the latter category while also pacing the team with 1.1 blocks per game.

He earned honorable mention on the Pac-12’s all-defensive team as a sophomore.

With the former Corona Centennial standout returning to UCLA, leading scorer Chris Smith is now the lone Bruin still testing the NBA waters.

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No. 10 UCLA women’s basketball stayed undefeated, top Pacific

LOS ANGELES — The tenth-ranked UCLA women started slow but picked up the pace in the second half to remain unbeaten.

Japreece Dean and Michaela Onyenwere each scored 19 points and Charisma Osborne added 17 to lead the Bruins over Pacific 68-57 on Sunday.

Onyenwere also had nine rebounds for UCLA (9-0). The trio of Dean, Onyenwere and Osborne also combined to pull down 20 rebounds and convert 16 of 18 free throws.

Sofie Tryggedsson and Valerie Higgins each had 15 points for the Tigers (6-3).

UCLA led 31-29 at halftime. Dean and Onyenwere totaled 18 points in the third quarter to increase the Bruins’ lead to 54-45.

“Our defense and our rebounding I think was the difference in the second half,” Dean said. “We were getting tips and putting pressure on the ball.”

Onyenwere agreed.

“I think we were a little slow in the first half but we improved our focus and locked down on defense in the second half,” Onyenwere said.

Down by 15 midway through the fourth period, the Tigers closed to 63-57 on a basket by Higgins with 2 minutes left. Osborne made two free throws and a basket to seal it for UCLA.

Both teams played for the first time in eight days and showed the effects of the layoff, combining to shoot around 30% in the first half.

Brooklyn McDavid, who was averaging nearly 20 points per game for Pacific, was held to seven. It was the first time she failed to score in double digits this season.

“We definitely keyed on McDavid coming in,” UCLA coach Cori Close said. “We tried to deny her the ball and not give her good looks.

“We were missing three of our best defenders today, but we had and other players really stepped up.”

The Bruins forced 19 turnovers and Pacific missed all nine of its 3-point attempts in the second half. The Tigers shot 31.7% from the field for the game. UCLA held a 42-40 edge on the glass and shot 36.2% from the floor.

The Bruins’ improved their all-time record against Pacific to 5-0.

BIG PICTURE

Pacific: McDavid shot 3 of 10. She had been 15th in the nation with a field-goal percentage of 64.1.

UCLA: The Bruins had one starter, sophomore guard Lindsey Corsaro, and two other key players, junior guard Chantel Horvat and sophomore guard Kiara Jefferson, out of the lineup because of injuries.

HE SAID IT

“UCLA was dialed in better on defense in the second half and we weren’t able to get many good shots from in close and we didn’t hit our 3s in the second half. But we played them tough on the boards and we’re right there as a team.” — Pacific Coach Bradley Davis.

NEXT

UCLA begins a two-game trip on Thursday at Georgia.

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Chris Smith leads UCLA basketball to fourth straight home victory

LOS ANGELES — UCLA Coach Mick Cronin wanted junior guard Chris Smith to be more aggressive, and Smith delivered.

Smith led all scorers with a career-high 20 points as the Bruins extended their season-opening winning streak to four games with a 76-61 victory over Southern Utah Monday night at Pauley Pavilion.

Sophomore forward Jalen Hill had 17 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks for the Bruins. Smith and Prince Ali (10 points) have finished in double-digits in each of the Bruins’ first four games.

Cronin revealed after the game that he was not happy with his team’s overall performance despite double-digit scoring from multiple players in the victory.

He was pleased with the Bruins’ defense early in the game with a 25-6 lead over the Thunderbirds 25-6 but was disappointed with the remainder of the game.

“We were sloppy,” Cronin said about the Bruins’ 15 turnovers. “We have to quit turning the ball over. I have to get the job done with our team as far as how we take care of the basketball or we’ll have no chance of being a real team.”

Smith admitted that the Bruins got complacent and lost sight of the team’s goals defensively after building up the early lead.

“I think we lost our focus on what really mattered once we got the big lead,” Smith said. “Defense is what got us the lead, and once we had it, we stopped playing defense. We’ve got to stay locked in and play the right way for 40 whole minutes.”

Freshman forward Shareef O’Neal returned to the court for the Bruins after missing the last two games with a hip injury. He scored his first regular season point at the free throw line, then put his range on display with a 3-pointer for his first career field goal off an assist by Ali, giving UCLA a 45-32 lead in the second half. O’Neal finished with five points, three rebounds and a block in 17 minutes.

Redshirt senior Alex Olesinski minutes have declined after starting the first two games of the season. He played an uneventful five minutes.

Cronin admitted that the last few games have been difficult as opponents present smaller lineups against the Bruins.

“It was nice to have Shareef back,” Cronin said. “When you are playing these early games you play some teams that play really small. This team started going small so it is hard to play Alex (Olesinski). … Shareef is better at moving his feet than Alex.”

Freshman guard Jaime Jaquez Jr. scored eight points and collected four rebounds in 19 minutes. He played 12 minutes against UC Santa Barbara after playing just six in the season opener against Long Beach State.

The Bruins next play in the Maui on the Mainland game, which is built into the upcoming Maui Jim Invitational (Nov. 25-27). The Bruins will host Hofstra on Thursday at 8 p.m., their fifth consecutive home game, before a trip to Maui against BYU for the upcoming the Maui Invitational, (Nov. 25-27).

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