Saturday, February 1, 2020

UCLA upsets #20 Colorado at Pauley 72-68. Bruins improve to 11-10, 4-4.

Jan 30, 2020

Let's go straight to the film!!!

Short version from the Pac-12 Networks

UCLA men's basketball upsets No. 20 Colorado 72-68 on Thursday night in Westwood to snap a four-game losing streak to the Buffs. Chris Smith finished with a career-high 30 points as the Bruins also snapped a six-game losing streak to top-25 opponents with their win over Colorado. McKinley Wright moved into second on CU's all-time career assists list as he finished with 14 points and five assists on Thursday. UCLA moves to 11-10 and 4-4 in conference, while Colorado drops to 16-5 and 5-3 in Pac-12 play.

Longer version from Matthew Loves Ball
from UCLA Athletics

UCLA Defeats No. 20 Colorado, 72-68

from UCLA Men's Basketball webpage: LOS ANGELES – Junior guard Chris Smith recorded a career-high 30 points to lead the UCLA men's basketball team to a 72-68 upset over No. 20 Colorado on Thursday night at Pauley Pavilion presented by Wescom.

With the win, UCLA (11-10, 4-4) snapped a four-game losing streak to the Buffaloes (16-5, 5-3) dating back to Jan. 12, 2017. The victory also marked the first time that the Bruins defeated a ranked team since toppling then-No. 13 Arizona on Feb. 8, 2018. The Bruins improved to 11-0 on the campaign when limiting the opposition to 73 points or fewer.

Smith's 30-point effort was the first by a Bruin since Kris Wilkes had 34 against Arizona on Jan. 26, 2019. Smith shot 8-of-16 from the field and sunk his first 11 free throw attempts in a row before missing a pair in the game's final minute to finish the night at 13-15. He also posted nine rebounds, finishing one short of his third double-double of the year.

He was one of several Bruins to have solid nights on Thursday. Redshirt senior guard Prince Ali provided a shot in the arm off the bench, notching 11 points including a 3-for-3 performance from beyond the arc. Freshman guard Jaime Jaquez Jr. added 13 points, his fifth consecutive and ninth game overall finishing in double digits.

UCLA built up a 12-point lead by halftime thanks to an efficient first-half effort. The Bruins played a solid two-way game in the opening 20 minutes, shooting 44.8 percent from the field and outrebounding Colorado 20-10. The Bruins were also on fire from the charity stripe, hitting all nine of their attempts from the free throw line, and committed just four turnovers compared to seven by the Buffaloes.

Ali helped ignite the key run of the first half for the Bruins, hitting a pair of threes as part of a 14-0 swing that made it 23-10 in favor of UCLA. A pull-up three by Ali from the right elbow off a Tyger Campbell outlet pass capped that rally and forced a timeout from the visitors.

Colorado responded in the second half, going on a 12-0 run early to trim UCLA's lead to just three points. A clutch three from the top of the key from Chris Singleton following a Cody Riley offensive board helped stem the tide and re-establish a 47-39 lead with 13:47 remaining.

The Buffaloes continued to push and eventually got within two points at the 7:22 mark, but UCLA would not allow them to get any closer, going on an 11-2 run – featuring six points from Smith and four from Jaquez Jr. – to push the lead back into double digits. A pair of desperation three-pointers late by Colorado provided the game's final scoreline.

The Bruins finished the night with a 39-29 advantage in rebounding, the team's largest differential against a Pac-12 opponent this season. Four separate players had at least five rebounds: Smith (9), Jaquez Jr. (7), Riley (5), and Ali (5). 

UCLA returns to action on Sunday afternoon by hosting league rival Utah in an FS1-televised game. Tipoff is scheduled for 12:00 p.m.

Postgame Quotes - UCLA vs. Colorado

UCLA 72, Colorado 68
January 30, 2020

Mick Cronin, The Michael Price Family UCLA Men’s Head Basketball Coach
opening statement
“Obviously a great win for our team, top-25 opponent. Somebody told me they had 95-percent of their scoring back. I thought they could easily could be coming into tonight’s game 18-2, they had a couple wild losses late in games. They’re extremely well-coached, they play extremely physical. I thought the key to the game would be our rebounding, we were gonna have to get some second chance points because they’re so solid defensively which is what veteran teams are. Plus they had depth, so if guys don’t defend he puts another guy in. So our second chance points were big for us, we were plus-8 and I think that was the difference in the game. Very happy for Prince [Ali], obviously Chris [Smith] played great. Prince’s attitude in practice the last two days was great. So many young kids this day and age – when things aren’t going their way – play the victim instead of looking in the mirror. We had a talk – I want him to finish his career, him and Alex are just great kids, we need him to help us win some games. Just really happy that he made those shots, for him. Obviously the ball goes in, it helps the coach’s blood pressure. They’re a very good team, we’re gonna play them again. Great win for us.’

on Chris Smith
“One thing about him is … recruiting so many guys, [they] wanna talk about what position they’re gonna play. The guy with the biggest advantage is the guy that’s playing guard but he’s being defended because I play him at the four. Nobody wants to play there when you recruit. But I’m playing him four because he’s the guy who gets to go against their big guy all night. I’m a big mismatch guy. It’s not giving it away, teams saw me coach at Cincinnati trying to get the matchup we wanted in the attack. It’s hard to run plays and score against [Colorado] because they’re so well-schooled. Tried to get Chris the best matchup I could, he’s such a good free throw shooter – we’ve worked hard with him at drawing fouls and it really made a difference in this game.

on the team’s rebounding mindset against a physical Colorado squad
“We show a lot of film on offensive rebounding. Couple days of practice, boxing out. To be honest with you a little bit about what happened last year [against CU], Colorado just really out-manned UCLA in both games physically. You can’t let that happen. We’re trying to build a program, you’re never gonna build a program if you get pushed around, especially at home. We had a lot of talk about that, lot of practice.”

on finishing the game
“We play a lot of young guys, even Jalen [Hill] and Cody [Riley] are young guys as far as playing experience. It’s different when you sub in and if you don’t play well they take you out versus being a guy that has to play. It’s still a learning process, a lot of guys are still learning. We still make a lot of plays that are amazing to be honest with you. I have to remind myself, I just haven’t coached these guys that long. We still make some mistakes, some mind-blowing mistakes at times. But we did enough to win the game is the most important thing.”

on lineup decisions late with players in foul trouble
“We were up by two possessions, it was at 5 or 6 that we tried to go small rather than take away the three-point shot. And you’re trying to get your best free throw shooters on the floor at that point. Press offense and three-point defense.”

on responding to Colorado’s physicality
“Well, we won the rebounding battle by 10. But we had two guys foul out and two guys with four [fouls]. Veteran teams are going to be physical, that’s just part of it. If you can’t match that, you’re never gonna be a real team. So it’s a great learning process for our guys. I thought early in the game we might have surprised them with the way we rebounded the ball. It was 20-10 in the first half, so they kept us off the glass for the most part in the second half. They boxed out a lot better in the second half.

on Tyger Campbell
“At this point in his career, any points he gives us are kind of icing on the cake. He’s so young, he’s playing so many minutes. What he’s learned is – most recruits want to play as freshmen, they don’t realize the whole key to being able to do it is defense. Two things – defend and take care of the ball. Coach isn’t gonna play guys that don’t defend and don’t take care of the ball. In this league, you’ve got a lot of really good point guards. He’s had to guard a lot of really good players. In high school, if you’ve got a great player, you tell him don’t foul, we don’t have anyone as good as you. So you hide him. Then guys get to college and not only do they need to play defense, they have to guard a guy who’s older and is really good.”

UCLA redshirt senior guard Prince Ali
on if this was a breakthrough game …
“Yeah, we’ve had a week to plan for them. What happened at Oregon was difficult, but we knew we had to keep fighting, so we came to practices all week, and we planned for them, and we were able to get the W, which was huge for us.”

on how he felt coming into this game …
“I felt good. Coach Cronin this whole week was on me about just being ready to shoot and being confident in my stroke. I knew coming in that if I got a clean look, I was going to let it go, so it was just confidence.”

UCLA junior guard Chris Smith
on what he was thinking when his shot to beat the shot clock with four minutes to go went in …
“Just get the shot off. We were offensive rebounding. We beat them on the glass, I think by 10, and a lot of it was on offensive rebounds. I was just thinking get a shot off. I think we had Cody [Riley] and JHill (Jalen Hill) in at the time, so two big bodies, so just get the shot up and collapse. That’s a shot I believe I can make. I was just trying to get it on the rim.”

on being more aggressive with their shots than in previous games …
“We knew that they were a pack team on defense, so we knew we had to move the ball with people. You’ve got to attack the lane, get people to help so you can get a teammate open, and that’s definitely one of our emphasis tonight.”

on the importance of this win moving forward …
“Tonight was definitely a confidence booster. It shows us and everyone else that we can hang with some of the best. We went from playing a Top 10 team in Oregon, that was a rough game, to playing a Top 25 team at home and getting a big win. We’ve got some young guys, but they don’t play like they’re young. Jaime [Jaquez Jr.] hit four clutch free throws in the end. That’s not what a freshman would do. I would have missed it. But we’ve got young guys who don’t play like they’re young, and tonight was a confidence booster to get us back on our feet for the next one.”

UCLA freshman guard Jaime Jaquez Jr.
On what was done to prepare to come out strong on the boards …
“Pretty much just going into practice knowing I was going to have to be physical and really have to box out and try to get rebounds. The key to the game was rebounding, so going in that’s what I wanted to do, and that’s what I did.”

Colorado Head Coach Tad Boyle
on their last two road games…
“They just really out-toughed us. UCLA just out-toughed us. From the start of the game, they were just tougher, but we were better in the second half. This team really has heart, but the last two games we got punked. We fouled more than usual. UCLA really deserved to win this game.”

on the team’s goals for the season…
“Our goal is to win the next game. When you lose the rebounding game, it’s tough to win. At halftime we had zero offensive rebounds. We had one team offensive rebound, but no individual offensive rebounds. This shows that UCLA was tougher.”

on self-motivation…
“Sometimes you just have to look within. That’s where we are right now. You can’t look for outside influences to motivate you and that includes the coaches.”

on the upcoming game against USC…
“Doesn’t matter what team we are playing next. It’s just about taking care of Colorado.”

Colorado sophomore forward Evan Battey
on their road game struggles…
“We have to take care of things like rebounding. We can’t spot a team 25 fast-break points and 18 second-chance points on the road. It’s really hard to win.”

on their upcoming game against USC…
“I hope we get that spark. We’ve beat them the last two times. I’m not a fortune teller, but I’m going to be ready to go.”

on his overall individual performance…
“It doesn’t mean anything how I did. We lost the game. My stats mean nothing. I’m a team player, so that’s what matters.”

Colorado Senior Forward Lucas Siewert
on playing zone defense vs. man-to-man defense…
“We’ve been playing zone defense, but we take pride in man-to-man. We just have to get ready for it. Teams are trying to switch more and we’re not moving the ball as much.”

on their upcoming game against USC…
“They are going to be ready for us. They’re a better team than UCLA and we are better than how we played tonight. That may be the spark that we need.”

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