UCLA beats Arizona on Senior Night; Jaylen Clark has harm
The victory secured, this a part of the lengthy journey full, Tyger Campbell and Jaime Jaquez Jr. made eye contact within the final minute of their closing dwelling recreation collectively Saturday evening.
As full-throated roars from the sold-out crowd inside Pauley Pavilion washed over them, the UCLA seniors touched foreheads in an acknowledgment of every thing they’d meant to this group and one another.
Said Campbell: “It’s a crazy feeling that I feel like only me and Jaime can really experience. It’s my brother right here and to go four years with him, it’s been great.”
Said Jaquez: “To me, I think it was, ‘We did it, but at the same time we’re not done.’”
Bring on the larger challenges as a result of these guys confirmed they may simply deal with each impediment the Pac-12 put of their method. Even eighth-ranked Arizona was no match on an evening Campbell, Jaquez and fellow senior David Singleton ensured themselves a contented send-off throughout the fourth-ranked Bruins’ 82-73 victory.
Singleton buried one three-pointer after one other. Campbell frequently received the roll on robust jumpers, as if the basketball gods have been rewarding him for all these years of toil. Jaquez made a dangling floater on which he was fouled, prompting followers to chant “M-V-P!”
It may need been a completely feel-good finale on an evening the Bruins prolonged their profitable streak to 10 video games and completed unbeaten at dwelling for the primary time for the reason that 2006-07 season, aside from one main setback.
Junior guard Jaylen Clark, the Bruins’ prime defender, left the sport with what gave the impression to be a critical harm on condition that he returned to the bench on crutches. UCLA coach Mick Cronin mentioned Clark would bear an MRI on Sunday to find out the extent of his harm.
Clark’s departure two minutes into the second half left these seniors to complete issues off. Boy, did they ever.
Singleton scored 17 factors whereas making 5 of 9 three-pointers. Campbell tallied 21 factors and 4 assists whereas making 11 of 12 free throws in what could or could not have been his final dwelling recreation as a Bruin, given he has yet another season of eligibility. And in a efficiency that may have clinched the Pac-12 participant of the yr award, Jaquez logged 22 factors, 10 rebounds, three assists and two steals earlier than departing to deafening cheers with 32 seconds left.
“We were on a mission to put UCLA back on top, put UCLA basketball to where it needs to be and where it should be and where it belongs,” Jaquez mentioned whereas sporting a Pac-12 champion T-shirt and customized blue hat made by a fan to thank the seniors. “Two guys from SoCal, I mean, we’re living a dream right now to be Pac-12 champs, win the way we did on our home court. It’s literally like a storybook to me.”
Along the best way, the Bruins (27-4, 18-2 Pac-12) prolonged the nation’s longest lively dwelling profitable streak to 25 video games whereas avenging a loss to the Wildcats (25-6, 14-6) from late January. Arizona’s Azuolas Tubelis, Jaquez’s main challenger for Pac-12 participant of the yr, completed with 24 factors and 10 rebounds for a group that completed 4 video games again within the convention standings.
There was a shock earlier than tipoff when the Bruins unveiled an all-senior beginning lineup that included sixth man Singleton, reserve massive man Kenneth Nwuba and walk-on guard Russell Stong IV along with regulars Jaquez and Campbell. Making the primary begin of his profession, Stong wanted some assist from Campbell to determine the place to face for the opening tip.
But Stong generated instantaneous cheers when he grabbed the primary rebound and raised each arms when left open on the wing on his group’s first possession.
“He was supposed to hit a three to start the game,” Cronin mentioned. “Jaime was supposed to set the fade for him; I didn’t think they would guard him.”
The pregame senior tribute included solely smiles, no tears. Each participant was offered with a framed jersey he hoisted triumphantly into the air. Jaquez’s father wrapped Cronin in a bear hug and lifted him into the air.
“It’s not hard,” cracked Cronin, who kissed the elder Jaquez on the cheek.
This victory might have an enduring affect.
ESPN’s Joe Lunardi elevated the Bruins right into a No. 1 seed within the West for the NCAA event given Saturday’s outcomes.
It was a farewell and, the Bruins hoped, a prelude to one thing extra significant.