No. 11 UCLA fends off upset in comeback vs. Washington State

His workforce enjoying its greatest basketball of the season, UCLA coach Mick Cronin voiced one concern because the Bruins headed into the center of their Pac-12 schedule.

Might they submit a comeback victory, one thing that they had not wanted to do whereas rolling off one win after one other over the earlier 5 weeks?

“At some point,” Cronin stated earlier within the week, “we’re going to have to come back.”

That second got here Friday night time.

Struggling to take care of the bodily inside presence of Washington State’s Mouhamed Gueye and the recent taking pictures of D.J. Rodman, the No. 11 Bruins fell right into a 12-point gap at Beasley Coliseum in Pullman, Wash.

Even after pulling right into a tie early within the second half, UCLA fell into one other funk and trailed by 9 factors with 7 minutes, 23 seconds left.

Then the Bruins turned to their higher half.

Relying closely on its protection, UCLA pulled out an unlikely 67-66 victory by holding the Cougars with no subject aim during the last 7:23 to stretch its profitable streak to 9 video games.

Bruins level guard Tyger Campbell accomplished the comeback when his steal led to a basket by Adem Bona on a goaltending name that went towards Gueye, giving UCLA (12-2 total, 3-0 Pac-12) a one-point lead with 19 seconds left.

Washington State ahead Mouhamed Gueye, proper, grabs a rebound in entrance of UCLA ahead Adem Bona through the first half Friday.

(Younger Kwak / Related Press)

UCLA guard Will McClendon celebrates immediately after the Bruins' 67-66 win over Washington State on Friday.

UCLA guard Will McClendon celebrates instantly after the Bruins’ 67-66 win over Washington State on Friday.

(Younger Kwak / Related Press)

The Cougars obtained two probabilities to tug the upset however got here up empty. Jaime Jaquez Jr. knocked the ball away from Gueye beneath the basket and Rodman’s three-pointer from the nook was off the mark, permitting Campbell to seize the free ball as time expired.

“Games like this are really great learning experiences,” Cronin stated on the postgame radio present. “Look, our defense got better as the game went on.”

Washington State (5-9, 0-3) missed its final 9 photographs and 11 of its final 12, failing in its bid to submit a 3rd consecutive residence victory over the Bruins.

After lacking all 5 of his photographs in a foul-plagued first half, Jaquez completed with 20 factors largely on the energy of creating all 10 free throws. Campbell added 16 factors and David Singleton added 14 whereas beginning instead of Amari Bailey, who missed the sport with discomfort in his left foot.

The Bruins received regardless of taking pictures 36.2% as a result of that they had 10 steals whereas forcing 14 turnovers. In addition they had significantly extra success within the second half countering the 6-foot-11 Gueye, who logged a double-double by halftime on his option to 18 factors and 18 rebounds.

UCLA cycled by means of three massive males within the first half whereas attempting to counter Gueye, to no avail. Gueye rose for a three-pointer. He drove the baseline for a dunk. He soared for a putback.

Rodman added 19 factors and Jabe Mullins had 11 off the bench for the Cougars, who made solely 31% of their photographs within the second half.

UCLA closed the sport on a 14-4 run by which Washington State scored solely on free throws. Jaquez notched eight of these factors, together with a jumper, a layup and two free throws with 50 seconds left to tug the Bruins inside a degree earlier than Campbell made his massive steal.

Answering their coach’s query in emphatic trend, the Bruins confirmed they may come again. Improbably so.

“We didn’t give up,” Cronin stated, “so you’ve got to give the guys credit.”

Bolch reported from El Paso, Texas.