TUCSON, Ariz. (AP)— UCLA suffered a big blow when Chris Smith went down with a torn ACL on New Year’s Eve and is still attempting to determine how to play without its star guard.
Alone atop the Pac-12 after an uncommon desert sweep, it appears the Bruins have actually adjusted quite well up until now.
” It simply reveals the men are on this group, everyone wants to do what it requires to win and everyone truly wishes to win,” Juzang stated. “We have faults and errors, however everyone on this group truly does wish to win.”
UCLA (9-2, 5-0 Pac-12) required overtime to beat Arizona State on Thursday and rounded off the sweep by closing down Arizona in the 2nd half.
The Bruins increased 8 midway through the 2nd half and held the Wildcats (9-3, 3-3) to one basket over an essential four-minute stretch late to stay alone atop the Pac-12.
UCLA is off to its finest conference start because opening with 5 straight wins in 2012-13 and has actually won 4 directly at Arizona. The Bruins have actually won all 3 video games because Smith decreased versus Utah.
” We’re a group that can still improve,” UCLA coach Mick Cronin stated. “We have actually got a great deal of men on the enhance and we have actually got various men that are making plays for us.”
Arizona had actually been on a roll, finishing a roadway sweep of the Washington schools recently. The Wildcats are now looking for responses after following up a house loss to Southern California on Thursday with another close defeat to UCLA.
James Akinjo had 25 points and 8 helps to lead Arizona after missing out on all of his 9 shots versus USC.
” We are an awful protective group,” Arizona coach Sean Miller stated. “We bet 2 excellent groups, however that’s who you evaluate yourself versus. This group has some excellent minutes on offense … however we can’t get the worth out of that since we have no response on defense.”
2 of the Pac-12’s leading offensive groups played like it in their very first of 2 conferences this season.
The Bruins and Wildcats traded baskets early in the very first half prior to UCLA utilized a 12-0 go to increase 7. Campbell, using his birthday, had 14 points at halftime– 12 straight at one point– and UCLA shot 15 of 25.
Arizona made its last 5 shots and went 16 of 31 total connect it at 41-all.
The 2nd half turned into a grind, almost every belongings a defend area.
UCLA held Arizona without a basket for more than 5 minutes to press the result in 62-54 midway through, however the Wildcats clawed back.
The video game stayed close up until the closing minutes, when UCLA secured down on defense. The Bruins didn’t strike a basket over the last 4:38, however bothered the Wildcats enough to close it out.
” Undoubtedly, we have actually got to improve,” Akinjo stated. “We have actually got to discover a method to end up.”
UCLA will likely move into the AP Top 25 on Monday after managing a tough roadway sweep of the Pac-12’s desert schools.
Arizona had actually been on a roll up until the Southern California schools pertained to town. The Wildcats now have a huge uphill climb in the Pac-12.
Arizona guard Jamarl Baker did not play in the 2nd half after suffering a hand injury. Miller stated Baker is anticipated to get an X-ray Saturday night.
Losing him would be a huge blow to the Wildcats. In spite of having a hard time in current video games, Baker is Arizona’s second-leading scorer with 12.7 points per video game, with 33- and 29-point video games currently this season.
Juzang was a top-level hire when he got to Kentucky 2 years back, however chose to move to UCLA after one season in Lexington. The 6-foot-6 guard needed to remain last season under NCAA transfer guidelines and has actually been a strong factor up until now for the Bruins.
Juzang has actually scored in double figures 5 times in 7 video games and completed Saturday’s video game 5 for 10 from the flooring, 3 for 4 from the 3-point line.
” He goes from not getting in to beginning and playing thirty minutes a video game,” Cronin stated. “It’s practically like he’s a freshman out there, however he’s simply going to get much better as the season goes on.”
UCLA hosts Washington State on Thursday.
Arizona dips into Oregon State Thursday.