UCLA’s Tyger Campbell (10) drives round Arizona State’s Austin Nunez (2) in the course of the first half on Thursday in Tempe, Ariz. (Darryl Webb / Associated Press)
Just preserve discovering a manner.
That was the mandate for UCLA on Thursday night time, the fifth-ranked Bruins coming into their Pac-12 Conference showdown with Arizona State holding the nation’s longest profitable streak amongst main convention groups.
Extending the streak would maintain the midseason enjoyable whereas additionally stopping the Sun Devils from transferring right into a tie atop the convention standings. It would additionally transfer UCLA midway to a desert sweep that ESPN’s Joe Lunardi mentioned may vault the workforce to a projected No. 1 seed within the NCAA match.
Everything remained in play after the Bruins’ newest escape, a 74-62 victory at Desert Financial Arena that got here courtesy of extra late gutsy play.
Smothered for many of an evening during which he missed two layups and back-to-back free throws, UCLA’s Jaime Jaquez Jr. rose for a three-pointer and a turnaround jumper that gave his workforce a 70-62 lead.
Those photographs helped carry a game-ending 16-2 run for the Bruins, who desperately wanted the supplementary offense with Tyger Campbell carrying such a heavy load. Campbell led his workforce with 22 factors whereas making seven of 11 photographs.
While Campbell rapped his brow with clenched fists in celebration of his workforce’s 14th consecutive win, UCLA guard David Singleton, who had 21 factors, cupped his hand to his ear whereas wanting on the silent pupil part.
Jaquez may smile after making solely 4 of 12 photographs for 9 factors.
UCLA (17-2 general, 8-0 Pac-12) withstood a barrage of three-pointers from Arizona State, which made 9 of twenty-two, together with one from Frankie Collins that had given the Sun Devils (15-4, 6-2) a 60-58 lead earlier than UCLA commenced its late push.
The Bruins stored discovering the power to come back again within the second half.
Trailing by as many as six factors, the Bruins moved right into a 58-57 lead with 6:34 left after freshman heart Adem Bona made one in every of two free throws after a Singleton nook three-pointer had tied the rating.
Opening the second half with an old school Bruin blitz, UCLA rolled off eight consecutive factors to surge right into a 38-35 lead. Campbell made a layup during which he was fouled to finish a three-point play, Singleton buried a three-pointer and Jaylen Clark maximized his steal with a putback basket.
Heading into this perilous journey, the Bruins have been in an nearly equivalent scenario to the place they have been after they confronted the Arizona faculties final season. They owned the identical two-loss file and have been ranked solely two spots decrease than they have been at that time a yr in the past.
UCLA hoped the similarities ended there.
UCLA’s Jamie Jaquez Jr. (24) is greeted by Dylan Andrews (2) after hitting a 3-pointer in opposition to Arizona State late within the second half on Thursday in Tempe, Ariz. (Darryl Webb / Associated Press)
The Bruins misplaced each video games, together with a three-overtime clunker in opposition to an Arizona State workforce that on the time had greater than twice as many losses as victories. The setbacks have been among the many components that dropped the Bruins to a No. 4 seed within the NCAA match.
For Arizona State to drag the upset within the newest matchup, it was most likely going to wish success in a single: three-point accuracy. That was a profitable system for the one two groups that had overwhelmed UCLA earlier than Thursday. Illinois made 48% of its photographs from lengthy vary and Baylor’s LJ Cryer and Adam Flagler had mixed to make eight of 16 two days later.
UCLA entered this sport with its personal guidelines. Near the highest was squeezing extra manufacturing out of a bench that had been held scoreless final weekend in opposition to Colorado. That mission was doubly necessary particularly contemplating Arizona State’s rotation goes 10 deep.
It didn’t assist the Bruins’ trigger that freshman guard Amari Bailey missed a sixth consecutive sport due to discomfort in his left foot, forcing Singleton, usually the workforce’s sixth man, to stay a starter.
It was free the knees night time for UCLA’s Will McClendon and Mac Etienne, who shed their knee braces for the primary time all season in a ultimate goodbye to the accidents that value them each all of final season. But McClendon’s struggles from lengthy vary continued as he airballed a three-pointattempt and Etienne was restricted to an eight-second cameo look within the first half.
UCLA freshman guard Dylan Andrews offered a activate the bench with 5 fast factors within the first half.
A file Sun Devils pupil part of 5,213 unleashed its fury earlier than tipoff, chanting “F— the Bruins!” The decibel degree soared as Desmond Cambridge Jr. sank a half-court heave on the halftime buzzer, giving the house workforce a 35-30 benefit.
Things have been a lot quieter about an hour later because the Bruins walked right into a tunnel beneath them, arms raised into the air in celebration.
This story initially appeared in Los Angeles Times.