Los Angeles, CA —Pepperdine came out the gate firing on all cylinders but UCLA length and physicality on the wings was the difference in the game.
Pepperdine had an early advantage at 14-12 with 13:22 remaining in the first half after Mallette’s two 3-pointers. UCLA woke up and had a 19-2 run to take a 31-16 lead with 6:35 remaining before halftime.
Amari Bailey scored a career-best 19 points, Jaime Jaquez Jr. chipped in 17 points and eight boards and No. 19 UCLA (4-2) beat Pepperdine 100-53 on Wednesday night at Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom.
Bailey was one of six players to reach double figures as UCLA, who reached the century mark for the first time this season. In fact, UCLA hit the 100-point threshold for the first time since Nov. 15, 2021, when the Bruins beat Long Beach State, 100-79.
“Our effort was much, much better and I’m a big believer in that,” UCLA coach Mick Cronin said when asked about his team’s defense. “I didn’t think we played harder than our opponents in Vegas and I take that personally.”
UCLA dominated in all phases of the game, outshooting the Waves by 20 percent. The Bruins made 55.2 percent of its total shot attempts, limiting Pepperdine to just 35.0 percent from the court.
The Bruins’ 47-point margin of victory on Wednesday evening marked UCLA’s largest margin under fourth-year head coach Mick Cronin. The Bruins registered their largest margin of victory since beating Wyoming by 51 points (113-62) in a non-conference game on Dec. 23, 2008, in Pauley Pavilion.
Pepperdine (4-2) was led by guard Houston Mallette, who scored a team-leading 15 points on 6-of-14 shooting. He also led the Waves with eight rebounds. Jan Zidek chipped in 13, who had won three in a row. Zidek’s father, George, played on UCLA’s 1995 national championship team.
“We knew they weren’t going to guard him,” Coach Cronin told reporters after the game, referring to Bailey. “He’s a very intelligent kid, he could hear their bench telling him. I’ve been telling him since he committed that when he got here people weren’t going to guard him, but he’s so explosive that you have to pick a poison. I’ve been telling him, you’re not going to get to the rim at this level, they’re going to force you to make shots, which he can do. He just has to accept it. It’s an adjustment. You saw, he was looking to catch and shoot.”
In addition, the Bruins made 10 of 20 attempts from downtown (50.0 percent).
UCLA played a disciplined defensive game, as well, the Waves did not head to the free throw line for the first time until the 6:39 mark in the second half.
The Bruins pulled away with a dominant second half, shooting just under 60 percent while limiting the Waves to less than 30 percent shooting from the field. UCLA was especially efficient from beyond the arc, with six different Bruins connecting from 3-point land and the team going 7-of-10 on 3-pointers in the second half.
Pepperdine had six turnovers in the UCLA run and had 17 in the game that the Bruins turned into 28 points.
“I talked to our guys, we have a young team, and I said ‘Learn from it. Learn from what they do. That’s how it’s supposed to look when you’re playing the right way and you put everything together,’” Pepperdine coach Lorenzo Romar said. “We’ll learn from it.”
David Singleton scored 13 points and Jalen Clark had 12 for UCLA. They returned to play after losing ranked teams in Illinois and Baylor at the Continental Tire Main Event.
Pepperdine: Mallette went 3 of 8 from downtown and has made a shot from behind the arc in 32 consecutive games to match a Waves record set by Terrance Johnson in 2004. Pepperdine entered fifth in the nation at 45.8% from 3-point range and went 7 of 31 (22.6%) against the Bruins.
UCLA: The Bruins have just one more non-conference game remaining, at home Sunday against Bellarmine, before they get into Pac-12 play Dec. 1 at Stanford and Dec. 4 at home against Oregon. Four more non-conference games remain, including visits to Maryland, and New York to face Kentucky, before getting into the heart of conference play Dec. 30 at Washington State.
Pepperdine: At Grand Canyon on Saturday.
UCLA: Home against Bellarmine on Monday.