Tue, 17 May 2022

No. 7 UCLA aims to ride momentum of big win into meeting vs. Cal

Field Level Media
27 Jan 2022, 04:55 GMT+10

Coming off an emphatic win over third-ranked Arizona on Tuesday, No. 7 UCLA will welcome Pac-12 Conference counterpart California to Los Angeles on Thursday night.

The Bruins (14-2, 6-1) handed Arizona its first conference loss of the season with a 75-59 decision in Tuesday's Top 10 matchup. Thevictory moved UCLA into a tie with the Wildcats atop the league standings.

"By far, I thought, our most spirited 40 minutes of the year," Bruins coach Mick Cronin said in his postgame press conference.

UCLA's Johnny Juzang shot 3-of-5 from 3-point range and finished with 15 points, matching Jules Bernard for team-high honors in points. Bernard also grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.

Cody Riley scored 12 points, Jaime Jaquez Jr. recorded all 10 of his points in the second half, and all five Bruins starters had at least two assists.

"The thing about us, we have multiple guys [who] can take turns offensively, so we don't have to have a guy carry us for 40 minutes," Cronin said, adding that the Bruins' offensive efficiency directly impacted their defensive performance. "We tried to get the shots we wanted to set our defense."

UCLA held Arizona to season lows in both scoring and field-goal shooting at 30.7 percent. The Wildcats' previously low, 40.6 percent, was in the season opener on Nov. 9 against Northern Arizona.

UCLA has won four straight since suffering its lone conference defeat, an 84-81 overtime loss vs. Oregon on Jan. 13. The Bruins have held each of their past four opponents to 65 points or fewer and will enter Thursday's game ranked No. 15 nationally in adjusted defensive efficiency per KenPom.com advanced metrics.

For Cal (9-10, 2-6), Thursday will mark the second matchup with a Top 10 opponent in as many outings. The Golden Bears lost 96-71 to Arizona on Sunday for their fifth consecutive loss.

Coach Mark Fox was ejected in the first half.

"My frustration has been some things that built up," Fox said in his postgame press conference.

Fox cited officiating -- Arizona shot 28 free throws to Cal's 19 -- but the Golden Bears have had plenty more reasons to be frustrated over recent weeks.

They have won just once in January, beating Arizona State 74-50 on Jan. 2. That marked the last game in a five-game winning streak for Cal, which has dropped to 10th place in the Pac-12 after a 2-1 start in the league.

Cal hosted UCLA on Jan. 8 and held the Bruins to a season-low 60 points. The 52 points the Golden Bears scored matched their own season low, however, as they shot just 40.4 from the field, including a dismal 1-of-14 from 3-point range.

UCLA held Jordan Shepherd - Cal's leading scorer for the season at 14.7 points per game - to 10 points on 4-of-14 shooting from the floor. Grant Anticevich, who averages 11.1 points per game, managed just two points on 1-of-11 shooting against the Bruins.

--Field Level Media

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