The run-and-fun prospects involving UCLA’s high freshman duo emerged in a single spellbinding sequence.
When a Norfolk State participant made the error of attempting to take Jaylen Clark off the dribble, compelled into an ungainly double-pump alongside the baseline, he had no counter left for the opposite defensive menace lurking close by. The ball went up and Adem Bona, the Bruins’ new rim protector, stepped over to swat the shot.
UCLA’s David Singleton grabbed the unfastened ball, and the Bruins have been off and operating, Jaime Jaquez Jr. throwing a bounce cross to freshman Amari Bailey for a breakaway one-handed dunk.
On an evening during which Clark continued to point out there may not be a greater two-way participant within the Pac-12 Conference, if not the nation, it was equally encouraging for the Bruins to see the consolation stage of Bona and Bailey to proceed going up, up, up.
Both freshmen have been amongst six UCLA gamers to succeed in double figures in scoring through the No. 8 Bruins’ 86-56 victory Monday night time at Pauley Pavilion. Their third straight blowout win served as a tune-up for his or her first check, Friday towards No. 19 Illinois.
Bailey tallied 11 factors on five-for-six taking pictures together with 5 assists, two rebounds and a steal. Bona logged 10 factors with 5 rebounds, two blocks and an help.
“I felt like it just slowed down,” Bailey stated of his elevated consolation. “Just not doing too much and letting the game come to me and reading the defense, honestly.”
Clark led everybody with 19 factors on seven-for-11 taking pictures, together with a career-high 5 three-pointers, to go along with 9 rebounds, two steals and a block. Clark has made seven of 13 three-pointers (53.8%) this season after having made 24.3% in his first two seasons. UCLA coach Mick Cronin stated Clark reconstructed his shot, altering his kind.
“I feel like half of it is confidence,” Clark stated, “but the real answer is just work. We’re shooting every day after practice, after film, after walk-throughs, off days, on days, I’m shooting every day, getting up like at least 700 shots on the gun — I don’t need a trainer or anything like that — and just seeing the ball go in over time and it gives me confidence.”
Clark additionally talked about the open seems to be he obtained because of taking part in alongside Jaquez and level guard Tyger Campbell, who usually demand double groups. Jaquez scored 12 factors and Campbell had 11 for the Bruins, who additionally obtained 11 factors off the bench from Singleton.
The Bruins (3-0) constructed leads as giant as 34 factors over the Spartans (2-2) due to protection that stiffened after halftime. They have been so comfortably forward that walk-on guard Russell Stong IV entered with six minutes left. Stong missed his solely shot however grabbed two rebounds.
Clark’s eight deflections have been a season low but in addition a testomony to groups avoiding him every time doable. He famous that his two steals that gave him 13 for the season stored him on tempo for the college’s single-season file of 95 set by Jordan Adams in 2013-14.
The first half belonged nearly completely to Clark, who took a cost and adopted a steal with a three-pointer that prolonged the Bruins’ result in 15 factors. At that time, Clark had a career-high three three-pointers. There have been 3 minutes 41 seconds left within the first half.
There have been additionally some highlights for UCLA’s ballyhooed freshmen. Bailey made his first faculty three-pointer after lacking his first 4 makes an attempt over three video games, and Bona confirmed how he elevates UCLA’s protection.
When Norfolk State’s Kris Bankston backed down Jaquez close to the tip of the shot clock and tried a soar hook, Bona came visiting to dam it and power a shot-clock violation. Cronin famous related defensive enchancment from Bailey.
“Amari couldn’t guard me a month ago with the suit on that I have,” Cronin cracked. “Our goal is for him to be a defensive stopper, to have two of them, and we need that, and he’s taken that to heart. When you’re as athletic and as tough as he is — you know, he’s an NBA player someday — he should be able to guard college players. It’s just a mindset.”
Norfolk State, which went to the NCAA event final season and was aggressive in a 17-point loss to No. 5 Baylor final week, confirmed it could not be intimidated by one other powerhouse within the recreation’s opening minutes. When UCLA utilized full-court stress off a made free throw, the Spartans swiftly moved the ball into the frontcourt earlier than Christian Ings soared for a dunk over Bona.
“Those guys are the key to our future,” Cronin stated of his freshmen. “We believe in player development.”
It’s coming rapidly, and sometimes in thrilling style.