Sunday, December 22, 2019

Slide continues as UNC throttles UCLA in Vegas 74-64. Bruins now 7-5.

Jules Bernard scored 16 points for UCLA and Jaime Jaquez Jr. added 14 points on Saturday afternoon, as the Bruins dropped a 74-64 decision to No. 23 North Carolina at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Game highlights

The 1:27 version from UCLA Athletics

The 9:25 version from #CBSSportsClassic #UCLA #UNC
The 25:17 version from Matthew Loves Ball

Coach Mick Cronin post-game comments from jeff siegel

UCLA Downed by North Carolina, 74-64

LAS VEGAS – Jules Bernard scored 16 points and Jaime Jaquez Jr. had a double-double as the UCLA men's basketball team dropped a 74-64 decision to North Carolina on Saturday afternoon at T-Mobile Arena.
Jaquez finished with 14 points and a team-leading 10 rebounds, logging his second double-double of the season. Bernard and Jaquez were among four UCLA players to score in double figures.
Playing in the CBS Sports Classic for the sixth consecutive year, the Bruins erased a 13-point halftime deficit early in the second half against North Carolina (7-5) by opening the half with a 12-0 scoring run. Trailing just 47-43 with 7:45 minutes to go, the Tar Heels used a 12-4 run over the next two minutes to pull ahead by 12 points.
UCLA trailed North Carolina at the intermission by a 36-23 margin.
"We've got to get better at executing some things, of being able to score from a screening and strategy standpoint," said Mick Cronin, The Michael Price Family UCLA Men's Head Basketball Coach. "Whatever we are trying to execute, we've got to make sure that we executive it. We just don't have enough, we don't have four first-round picks running around getting their own. And we've got to be a really good execution team. We have got to maximize our possessions."
North Carolina's Armando Bacot had team highs in points (15) and rebounds (12). He was among five UNC players to score in double figures on Saturday. Anthony Harris finished with 14 points, while Brandon Robinson, Garrison Brooks and Jeremiah Francis each tallied 12 points.
During the Bruins' 12-0 scoring run after halftime, UCLA had four players who scored points. The run was capped by back-to-back 3-pointers from Jaquez Jr. and Smith, pulling UCLA to within one point (36-35) of the Tar Heels with 17:13 left in regulation.
North Carolina was held scoreless in the second half until the 15:23 mark. The Tar Heels didn't make their first shot in the second half until the 14:09 mark.
Despite the slow second-half start, the Tar Heels responded down the stretch to hold off UCLA. After a jump shot by Tyger Campbell reduced UNC's margin to 47-43 with 9:08 remaining, North Carolina reeled off second consecutive points to push the lead back into double digits.
UCLA was unable to get the margin any closer in the rest of the second half.
The game was closely contested in the first half until the final five minutes before the intermission. With the score knotted at 19-19, UNC used a 17-4 scoring run to head into the locker room ahead of UCLA, 36-23.
Jaquez had a strong first half for the Bruins, having scored nine points and grabbed six rebounds before the break. The freshman from Camarillo, Calif., has scored at least 10 points in four of the Bruins' last six games.
UCLA will return to action against Cal State Fullerton on Saturday, Dec. 28. Game time is 2 p.m. in Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom. The meeting against Cal State Fullerton will mark UCLA's final non-conference game before entering Pac-12 play after the New Year.

Postgame Quotes – UCLA vs. North Carolina

December 21, 2019

CBS Sports Classic – Las Vegas, Nev.
North Carolina 74, UCLA 64

Mick Cronin, The Michael Price Family UCLA Men’s Head Basketball Coach
opening remarks
“Well, we lost the game in the first half [and] in particular, the last 10 minutes of the first half. We’re just, we’re not capable at the high level against a team that’s got, you know, they’re out there playing either fifth-year seniors or eight top-60 recruits. We're just not capable of sustaining playing smart, playing hard. We got beat to multiple loose balls. And the turnovers give us absolutely no chance. But that said, in defense of my players, I thought that the officials took the first half off. I mean, you watch the game, and North Carolina won, so don’t misconstrue what I am saying. The game was officiated two separate, two separate halves. All you got to do is look at the fouls per half. We had 20 fouls in the second half. North Carolina had 13. First half, six and seven. In the first half, we're trying to drive the ball and guys are being fouled the entire time. We got fouled on four or five shots. We got fouled on multiple drives. And now, when that happens, you got to be tough, you got to be able to deal with it, you got to play off two feet, and we didn't. It killed us. In fact, the last couple games we haven't been able to score inside at all in the half court, so we're searching. We're searching on the offense in there for somebody to give us – somebody we can put the ball in his hand, and he can get a basket or a foul or he can get his teammate a shot.”

on whether Jules Bernard made a case to be, potentially, one of those go-to guys today
“Yeah, it was great. I told you guys it was a shame when went down because he's really, really been trying. He's been trying to listen to me in practice and really slowing down, like he had mentioned, and using his strength. He's always in the gym working on his game. He's one of our most dedicated guys. It really was crushing when he went down the day before the Notre Dame game. And I was worried he [would be] out for a long time.”

on the personal foul called against Jalen Hill in the final two minutes of the second half
“They called it on North Carolina, and then they changed it and called it on us.”

on why the referees reviewed that foul call in the second half
“Yeah, the problem was the same foul happened in the first play of the game against Notre Dame and Jalen turned and it was a foul on Jalen. Now, North Carolina guy turns and elbows Jalen in the mouth and it's a foul on Jalen. As a coach, all you want is consistency. Again, you’ve got to find ways to win games. I won 89 games my last three years and these same guys were all ref'ing. So, you’ve got to be tough enough to deal with it. Just right now, our guys, it threw them off."

on if he thought the game’s officials were trying to change
“It's two different halves. You saw it. It’s two different halves. For both teams. It's just two different halves, totally. But, I will say that we were in the bonus with 13 minutes left in the game and never shot the bonus.”

on whether or not he takes any positives away from the team’s press against UNC
“Yeah. The problem is once we stop scoring. You can't press if you don't score. I've coached pressing teams before and the problem is you can't press. I mean, I guess theoretically, you could, it’s hard to press a turnover. But no question, just really, it’s almost like forced therapy to try to get guys to play hard. But then you're trying to generate offense. Right now as a coaching staff, we are just trying to figure out ways to generate offense. We get some steals, get some layups, because we're really struggling five on five in the half court right now. Where do we go with the ball? What's happened is we played 10 games and teams figured out that you just, you got to double and triple team Cody and Jalen when they catch it down low. And they have taken that away from us. And now we're 4 of 21 from three. We were 2 of 15 at Notre Dame, or 3 for 15, something like that. That is where we're really struggling in the half court.”

on whether he likes the looks that his team is getting from 3-point range
“Some of them. I mean some of them are wide open. Yeah. I mean, I would have to look at the film, but we had some pretty good looks, to be fair. What really kills us, because that happens, again, I've won games with these numbers. We have shot 42 percent for the year and went to multiple NCAA tournaments. The problem is you can't turn the ball over – the real problem is, when you're missing all those shots in the first half, we had zero second chance points. Zero. Now how are you going to win? If you're shooting – if you have a team that's not shooting the ball well, theoretically it means a lot of opportunities for offensive rebounds. So much so that the teams are going to get some up, you're going to get some. But it's been a strength of ours, it's why
we won a lot of our home games.”

on if Chris Smith has progressed in terms of being more aggressive with driving the ball
“He's got to learn to pass – it’s this for all of our guys – Tyger’s got to learn to shoot when he's open. And he got in the lane a few times, and nobody helped, all he had to do was lay it in. We’ve got some other guys that when they drive the ball there's three guys on them and we got to find the open man. So we did get some shots when we did drive the ball and find the open man. It's not that – it's not that hard – you got to drive the ball and score or get fouled. And if you can’t, you’ve got to find the open man. If you can’t, that is because somebody is helping, you must find the open man. We struggled mightily in this area. Why is which why, when we can't pound it inside, we have to now generate offense from our guards. People have got film, so I'm not giving you the secret sauce, everybody already knows. We can’t, in the half court, we can’t pound it inside. We have to, we hesitate, some of those threes were hesitating. We struggled to know when we are open and then when we drive the ball, we don’t shoot, sometimes. When we drive the ball we got to create for each other. Three assists in the first half.”

on if there are signs indicating a progression for this team
“I think we got to get a lot better at it. I think we, against high major teams, I just gave it to you, we got to get better at executing some things and being able to score from a screening and strategy standpoint. Whatever we're trying to execute, we got to make sure that we execute it. We can't, we don't have enough, we just don't have enough, we don't have four first round picks running around just getting their own, we got to be a really good execution team, we got to maximize our possessions, because we don't have somebody who can hit threes five feet behind the line and bail us out when we don't execute. I got to find a way to get Jalen and Cody back to being a factor in the post. That's really killing our offense the last three games. We haven't been able to go inside and come away with anything. As soon as they trap us we got to be ready and we got to pass out and get wide open shots outs of it. We got no chance to win, guys, with 23 turnovers. Not against North Carolina or not against a great coach in LeVelle Moton at North Carolina Central. Can't win with 23 turnovers.”

sophomore guard Jules Bernard
on using backcourt pressure to get back into the game, right after halftime
“We have long, athletic athletes andwhen we put our mind to it, play with energy on the defensive end, I think that press really – because we have a lot of length, so when we start pressing, we're able to get steals, deflections, and disrupt their offense going down. So that's, we try to get us back into the game with our press.”

on UCLA turning over the ball so many times
“Obviously, turnovers hurt us a lot, especially in a game like this where every possession is important. We were down, I think, 13 at the half, and we had, I don't know, a good amount of turnovers, 14. So those are just 14 possessions where we could get fouled and put two points on the board. So every possession, especially in games like this, are extremely important, and those turnovers definitely hurt us.”

on any positives that the Bruins can build upon from this game
“I think the press is definitely a positive. I think we're going to have to do more of that during the season. We know, we see what our length can do on the defensive end if we actually play hard and play aggressive on defense, and actually try to get deflections. And we have been preaching toughness all season, so we have to continue to try to build off certain spurts, like, we had a great first eight or so minutes. We just got to build off that and try to continue those habits, especially on the defensive end.”

on whether he was been slowing things down on offense, finding more success by slowing down the game
“Yeah, I try to. Coach has told me that I have to utilize my strengths, being under control, being a strong guard that I am. So if I'm out of control, that takes a way my strengths. So he's trying to get me to play slower and I'm trying to listen as much as I can and do what he tells me on offense. Yeah, definitely slowing down is going to help me a lot as a player. And it will help my team because it is less turnovers.”

on trying to find some building blocks along the way, and how difficult this process has been
“We're competitors, every single person on this team, our coaching staff. We're all competitors. So we're not going to dwell on the losses. We're going to take what – we're going to learn from them, and we're going to take what we did well, and we're going to take what we need to work on, and we're going to try to improve. But we know that there are ups and downs, so we just have to continue to fight. We’re all competitors, so we're going do keep competing this whole season and try to get next to where we need to.”

freshman guard/forward Jaime Jaquez Jr.
on Jules Bernard bouncing back quickly from a shoulder injury
“Yeah, definitely. He was a huge part of the game. He hit a lot of threes, a lot of big shots, caught it in the passing lanes, got rebounds, played really, really hard and we're glad to have him back and he was a huge help during this game.”

on whether there was a common theme for the Bruins with the 22 turnovers
“I think we weren't very under control when we got the ball. We had some travel calls, some just losing the ball, just some fumbling, some silly errors that we had. I think just slowing down was probably the biggest thing that we could have done to stop those turnovers.”

on three-point shooting, getting some good looks or maybe forcing some shots
“There were some that I thought I had good looks at, but others maybe I could have drove the ball, draw the foul. That's probably what I should have done during those threes that I missed. Getting the one-on-one in the bonus.”

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