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The UCLA forward has withdrawn his name from the NBA Draft, a school spokesperson said, to return to the Bruins for his redshirt junior season.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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