STANFORD, Calif. (AP)Jaime Jaquez Jr. scored 27 points to help No. 21 UCLA open up Pac-12 play with an 80-66 win over Stanford on Thursday night.
The Bruins (6-2, 1-0 Pac-12) have now won three straight after dropping back-to-back games to No. 6 Baylor and No. 16 Illinois in Las Vegas.
Tyger Campbell had 17 points and was two assists shy of a double-double, while Amari Bailey scored a season-high-tying 19 points with six rebounds to complete the full-team effort.
Jaylen Clark added four points in his return to the court after missing the Bruins’ last game with a non-COVID-19 illness.
”Our ball movement in the first half was as good as I’ve seen since I’ve been here,” UCLA head coach Mick Cronin said. ”Second half, (the Cardinal) picked up their pressure, eliminated some of our ball movement, and we reverted back to too much dribbling and let them back in the game.”
The Cardinal (3-5, 0-1) outscored the Bruins 37-30 in the second half, starting with three straight baskets within 90 seconds from Spencer Jones, who set a season high and led the team with 18 points.
”We could’ve folded under that pressure,” Jaquez said. ”We made some turnovers, but we made up for it with our defense and tried to get great shots.”
Stanford pulled within eight points with less than five minutes remaining, but the Cardinal could not complete the comeback after trailing by 21 points at halftime.
”We can’t play from our heels,” Stanford head coach Jerod Haase said. ”Offensively, obviously, we got back and turned the basketball over and weren’t aggressive. And on the defensive end, there was literally zero ball pressure. We just took punches for 20 minutes.”
STAT OF THE NIGHT
UCLA opened the night on a 17-0 run, shooting a perfect 8-for-8 and scoring 13 points on Stanford turnovers. The Bruins held the Cardinal scoreless for the first five minutes of the half, until Harrison Ingram broke through with a turnaround jumper to get the Cardinal on the board.
”To come out with that intensity is something that we’re going to need to do a lot this year,” Jaquez said.
UCLA: Though the Bruins were happy to welcome one of their top scorers in Clark back to the court, UCLA has gotten production across the board, entering the day with five players averaging at least 10 points per game. Thursday’s double-digit performances from Jaquez, Bailey and Campbell continued the trend, an encouraging sign as the Bruins kick off their bid for the Pac-12 title.
Stanford: The Cardinal, who placed fifth in the preseason Pac-12 poll, have struggled to solve the Bruins, now having lost three straight to the conference favorites dating back to last season. Stanford will have a chance to snap the streak when the teams meet in Los Angeles in the final weeks of the 2022-23 season.
UCLA: The Bruins return to Pauley Pavilion Sunday to host Oregon, which has lost each of its three games vs. ranked opponents so far this season. UCLA has gone 5-0 at home this season.
Stanford: The Cardinal travel to Arizona State on Sunday. Stanford and Arizona State last faced off in the opening round of the 2022 Pac-12 tournament, in which the Cardinal came back from a 17-point deficit to edge the Sun Devils, 71-70.
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