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Cal Basketball

UCLA Preview: Bruins Are on a Roll

January 26, 2022
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UCLA was the overwhelming preseason favorite to win the Pac-12 men’s basketball championship, and the Bruins are looking the part.

Cal, which is on a five-game losing streak, didn’t need an opponent like that. But there it is on the schedule, the Bears (9-10, 2-6 Pac-12) vs. the Bruins (14-2, 5-1) Thursday night in Pauley Pavilion.

This is the second meeting between the two this month. The Bears were respectable in the first matchup, losing just 60-52 at Haas Pavilion on Jan. 8. 

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Jamie Jaquez, Jr. (24)

But the Bruins are a different team if Tuesday night’s romp over third-ranked Arizona is any indication. And the Bears have not had a lot of success in Pauley, which opened in 1965.

The Bruins had not seen a real home crowd since Dec. 1, but the students and the fans were allowed back in on Tuesday after having been barred because of covid. They made a huge difference. One could almost say the Wildcats lost the game as soon as the doors opened.
“Oh, it was awesome,” UCLA head coach Mick Cronin said. “For me, coming here three years ago, it’s just been an awesome experience. To be able to bond with our fan base and be a part of UCLA and our tradition and become closer with our students, their support has been awesome. They were waiting outside, lining up at 6 a.m. When I walked in an hour and a half early, I was over there talking to them. I was telling them I missed them. It’s what makes this fun.”.

Cal better hope that the UCLA fans might not be capable of being a factor two days after giving it their all. 

USA Today
Tyger Campbell

The Bruins have as much talent as anybody in the league. When the All-Pac 12 teams are announced, they should be top-heavy with Bruins. Junior guard Johnny Juzang, was Pac-12 Player of Week last week and is making a case to repeat, having scored 15 points against the Wildcats. He also was part of a stifling defensive effort that held Arizona to 59 points, nearly 30 below their season average.

The Wildcats, whose field goal percentage coming in was 50.1 percent, were held to 30.7 (23-for-75). And the Wildcats hit their first four attempts. Following that they were 19-for-71 (26.8 percent).

Leading scorer Bennedict Mathurin did manage 16 points. But he had to put up 22 shots (hitting just five) to do it. 

Jaime Jacquez and reserve Payton Watson led the defensive effort against Mathurin. Jordan Shepherd can expect the same kind of attention. 

Ron Chenoy - USATODAY
Mick Cronin

Notes

  • UCLA leads the series 143-103, and has won nine straight.
  • Cal’s last win in Pauley was Feb. 11, 2012.
  • Cal is slated to play five games in 10 days from Jan. 27-Feb. 5, including three on the road at No. 7 UCLA, No. 15 USC, and Stanford.
  • Despite allowing 96 points to No. 3 Arizona,  on Jan. 23, Cal is among the Pac-12’s best defensive teams, statistically, ranking third in scoring defense (64.5), second in 3PT FG percentage defense.
  • The Bears are 0-6 away from Haas Pavilion this season, with four road losses and two defeats on a neutral court.
  • The Bears outrebounded UCLA 37-27 (+10) on Jan. 8, the 12th time in 19 games that they’ve won the battle on the glass.
  • Four Bruins average in double figures scoring: Juzang 18.1, Jules Benard 13.1, Jacquez 12.7 and Tyger Campbell 11.6. 
  • Against Arizona UCLA had just eight turnovers, forcing Arizona into 14 turnovers. seven of those being steals. 




 

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