LOS ANGELES (AP)UCLA came in way too cocky, according to coach Mick Cronin, and it nearly cost the Bruins.
Jaime Jaquez Jr. scored 26 points and fourth-ranked UCLA rallied in the second half to beat Stanford 73-64 on Thursday night, improving to 14-0 at home this season.
”We weren’t ready for the fight,” Cronin said, adding: ”They dug it out tonight.”
The Bruins got outplayed in the first half, then built a lead in the second half only to fall behind again before closing out their 22nd consecutive home victory dating to last season – the nation’s longest current streak.
”We did come in a little overconfident. Sometimes that happens,” Jaquez said. ”It was also good to get checked by Stanford in the first half and realize we’ve got to stay humble and composed. This is the time of year anything can happen. I said in the huddle, `We got an opportunity and let’s not mess this up.”’
Jaylen Clark added 16 points for the first-place Bruins (22-4, 13-2 Pac-12), who have won five in a row overall.
Michael Jones scored 15 points to lead Stanford (11-15, 5-10), and Harrison Ingram added 13. Maxime Raynaud had 12 points and 10 rebounds. Spencer Jones, the Cardinal’s leading scorer at 13.7 points per game, was held to six.
The Bruins burst out to start the second half, outscoring the Cardinal 16-4 to take a 43-36 lead. Clark stole the ball from Michael O’Connell and dunked, then he hit a 3-pointer before Jaquez completed a three-point play to cap the spurt.
”This is my last year and I realized I’ve only got so many games left, so I’m going down swinging,” said Jaquez, who made 9 of 11 free throws and had nine rebounds and three assists.
Stanford responded with a 14-2 run, including 12 in a row, to go back in front, 50-45. Michael Jones scored seven straight points and Spencer Jones dunked.
The Cardinal had five players in foul trouble in the second half: O’Connell, Michael Jones, Spencer Jones, Ingram and Raynaud. O’Connell fouled out in the closing seconds.
Four times the Bruins clawed within one. Clark grabbed a defensive rebound and streaked down the court to dunk and put UCLA ahead, 58-57.
After Ingram’s jumper cut the Bruins’ lead to one, Will McClendon hit a high-arcing 3-pointer in front of UCLA’s bench that extended their lead to 63-59. UCLA made all eight of its free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
Stanford controlled the first half and led 31-27. The Cardinal were better than the Bruins in shooting (48%), rebounding (22-15), bench points (10-5) and paint points (22-12). Stanford was in front for 17 1/2 minutes of the half, and its largest lead was eight points.
Stanford: The Cardinal came into Pauley Pavilion full of confidence, having beaten then-No. 4 Arizona last week for their first win over a top-four team since 2007. But they couldn’t make shots in the closing minutes against the Bruins’ defense.
UCLA: The Bruins have four games remaining until facing their last ranked opponent of the regular season, No. 8 Arizona at home on March 4. They figure to have no problem against last-place California before going on their final road trip.
Cronin kept Tyger Campbell and Amari Bailey on the bench to start the second half.
”It would have been bad coaching to start them,” Cronin said. ”They didn’t have a basket, deflection or rebound (in the first half).”
Campbell re-entered with 16 1/2 minutes remaining. He hit a big 3-pointer that cut the Bruins’ deficit to one and also fed McClendon for his critical 3 when UCLA led 60-59. Dylan Andrews also got 13 minutes of playing time and scored three points.
”It was amazing to see Will and Dylan coming off the bench to make plays for us,” David Singleton said. ”For those guys to step up big in games like this, we really showed the depth of our team.”
Stanford: Visits Southern California on Saturday.
UCLA: Hosts California on Saturday.
AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25