Los Angeles, CA—The No. 4 UCLA men’s basketball didn’t waste anytime taking care California Golden Bears and made easy work of them, Saturday evening.
The Bruins extended their streak to 23 games beating California, 78-43, at Pauley Pavilion in front of an announced crowd of of 13,659 on Saturday. UCLA is now 15-0 in the Pavilion.
Jaime Jaquez Jr. poured in 20 points on his 22nd birthday. The Bruins (23-4, 14-2 Pac-12) limited the Golden Bears to just 43 points, the lowest single-game total by any Bruins’ opponent this year.
“Sometimes it’s very easy to just lose your focus and not care and just try and go for stats or try and shoot the ball every time you get it,” Jaquez said. “I don’t think we did that. We shared the ball really well, everyone played hard, and we got a great win.”
The Bruins dominated Saturday’s game against the Golden Bears (3-24, 2-14 Pac-12) from the opening tip-off. UCLA started hot jumping out to 12-0, in the first six minutes of play. California didn’t get on the board until the 13:57 mark, following a short jumper from Joel Brown. Prior to that basket, California was 0-for-7 from the hardwood.
UCLA took a 38-15 lead going into the break. California’s 15 points in the first half marked the fewest points in any half by the Bruins’ opponent since head coach Mick Cronin took over the position prior to the 2019-20 season. Two weeks ago, UCLA had stifled Oregon State to just 18 first-half points in a victory in Corvallis, Ore.
Amari Bailey chipped in 16 points and nine rebounds for the first-place Bruins. They clinched a first-round bye in next month’s Pac-12 Tournament.
“Just more energy on the ball, more energy defensively,” Bailey said to the reporters afterwards.
Kuany Kuany scored 14 points to lead the Golden Bears, who lost their 11th in a row. They dropped 0-3 against top-5 teams this season, having also lost a pair against No. 8 Arizona.
California made just 11 of 50 shots (22 percent) on Saturday. That marked the fewest made field goals in one game by any of UCLA’s opponents since the 1970-71 season. Last season, UCLA limited Stanford to just 13 made field goals in a game in Pauley Pavilion.
The Bruins outrebounded them 25-14 and outscored them 20-6 on the blocks. Cal didn’t score its first basket until six minutes into the game.
Trailing 59-22, California scored 10 straight points during their only big run of the contest.
“Our defense was as good as it could be early in the game and then we held them to 11 field goals,” Cronin said. “The goal was to stay focused, that we were professional and had the right attitude. The results speak for themselves when you do that.”
With the win on Saturday, UCLA clinched a first-round bye in next month’s Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas. The top four (of 12) teams in the Pac-12 Conference will earn a bye at the conference tournament, played at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
UCLA will return to action at Utah on Thursday, Feb. 23. Game time is 8 p.m. PT (9 p.m. MT, in Salt Lake City). UCLA’s game at the Jon M. Huntsman Center will be nationally televised on FS1.
The Bears return home to host Washington at 6 p.m. PST on Thursday in Berkeley. The contest will be televised on the Pac-12 Network.