UCLA men’s basketball forces Stanford into sloppy night, wins big at home
It didn’t take long for one team to stand out from the other at Pauley Pavilion on Saturday.
UCLA Men’s Basketball No. 7 (16-2, 7-1 Pac-12) took an early lead and never looked back, beating Stanford (12-7, 5-4) by a score of 66-43. For all the Bruins’ success in the stellar performance, their ability to force the Cardinal into one mistake after another is what gave them the edge on Saturday night, as their northern rival racked up 22 turnovers – the most that UCLA has forced out a conference opponent since the Pac-12 era began in 2011.
It was also the second-fewest points a team under coach Mick Cronin has allowed since joining Westwood, and the fewest in more than two years.
It all came against the same Stanford team that beat No. 16 USC for the second time this season on Thursday night and arrived at Pauley having won six of its last eight outings. Add to that the fact that the Bruins were once again missing guards Johnny Juzang and Jaylen Clark — who were in COVID-19 and concussion protocols, respectively — and the Cardinal had to contend for an upset victory.
UCLA ended up staging a clinic from the get-go, with seven different Bruins scoring in the first seven minutes. These seven players had all scored before one of them reached his second field goal, when guard Jules Bernard got a quick steal and score slam.
The Bruins’ defense also stifled the Cardinal, forcing seven turnovers and holding them to 2 of 7 shots in the same opening sequence.
It all gave UCLA a 19-6 lead, and after Stanford finally got a shot to dunk by forward Max Murrell, the one-sided slaughter resumed. The Cardinal missed his next 13 shots as the Bruins got eight of their next 10 points from the free throw line and capitalized with a 12-2 run.
Even when Stanford gained some momentum by going 6-0 while holding UCLA to six straight misses, the Bruins immediately erased that slight progress with 3 points by guard/forward Jake Kyman and guard David Singleton just before half time. .
UCLA led 37-18 at the break, meaning they could have had a scoreless second half and still won, as long as they kept Stanford at the same production they did in the first. The Cardinal was shooting 20% from the field, failed to hit a three and coughed the ball 14 times, while sending the Bruins to the line 16 times.
Stanford stayed there early in the second half by getting scrappy, and UCLA were called on six of the first seven fouls after the break. The Bruins’ offense stalled, going 1 of 8 to start the second, and the Cardinal came back into action by forcing four turnovers immediately after that streak.
Kyman’s perfect midrange jumpers, guard Tyger Campbell and guard/forward Peyton Watson helped UCLA hold on to their double-digit lead, and it took the Bruins just 50 seconds to increase the gap to 13 at 20.
The steady stream of whistles, fouls, critics and turnovers meant neither team really went on offense, with UCLA just six points off their season low. Guard/forward Jaime Jaquez Jr. suffered an ankle injury in the first half, and although he came back for a while, he didn’t adapt for the second half.
With two of their top three scorers knocked out and Bernard starting 2 of 10 from the field, the Bruins’ offense was far from normal. Bernard turned it on late to finish with 16 points and nine boards, and Kyman had his best outing of the past two seasons with 15 points.
Campbell also approached a double-double with 10 points and nine assists, and forward Cody Riley had nine points on the night.
UCLA’s five-game, 10-day streak has come to an end with no losses on the books in that span, and the Bruins will return to play Thursday in Arizona.
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