(East Los Angeles, CA) March 23, 2021 [From The Editor’s Desk]: The #11 seed UCLA Bruins are making their mark and their move in “March Madness” as they continue on an incredible roll with their third consecutive win in the 2021 Men’s NCAA Tournament. Perhaps it was their dramatic and thrilling, “come-from-behind” win over the Big 10 Conference’s perennial contender, the Michigan State Spartans, last Thursday in their Over-Time “First Four” match-up. A tremendous coaching job by second-year Bruins Head Coach, Mick Cronin, was on display for the entire country to see. And the team reward…more confidence in what they have come to Indianapolis to do…win another NCAA Championship. In claiming this 2nd Round win, the Bruins have re-emerged in the Tournament’s platform as a Regional semifinalist for the first time since 2017. They will now play a dangerous and athletic #2 Alabama Crimson Tide on Sunday at Hinkle Fieldhouse. Their amazing Cinderella run thus far, makes them only the fifth “First Four” team to reach the Sweet 16 since 2011.
Let’s take a look at yesterday’s game against the #14 seed Abiline Christian Wildcats.
1st Half: From the “git-go” it was all Bruins as the starting five of Riley, Juzang, Jaquez, Jr., Bernard, and Campbell showed cohesion, teamwork, and defensive skills which set the tone for the entire game. Although they trailed early in the contest, (12-8), the Bruins then quickly went on an (18-0) run and grabbed a big lead at (26-12) before the Wildcats could understand what was happening to them. And from then on, it was basically a game of runs and unanswered points that doomed the Wildcats in the first half as the Bruins coasted to a 10 point lead at the half (31-21). Seizing upon that, advantage, Coach Cronin made excellent use of his seasoned and veteran personnel, giving many of them rest periods rather than draining some of their extra energy that will be much-needed in the next round of play.
Photo Gallery Credit: NCAA & Twitter @UCLAMB
2nd Half: The Bruins had it in overdrive and never took their foot off the accelerator, opening up with a (14-1) run. With their defense continuing to provide highly valued stops, the offense stayed in rhythm and in gear for this half as well. Baskets came easily once again, with the score remaining in a double digit lead, and when it reached (41-22) it was evident that the Bruins would not let that lead slip away. As the game progressed towards the finish, a mix of Bruin starters and reserves, led by Jake Kyman, David Singleton, and Jaylen Clark all contributed, putting in good work, as they earned valuable game experience and minutes of playing. In that very fitting gesture of substitutions, Coach Cronin once again rewarded many of his reserve players with that greatly appreciated emotion of playing in the NCAA tournament. A total of (11) Bruins that were suited-up, received the benefit of contributing to the win. All realizing that at least one of their boyhood hoops dreams had come true. And, to truly enjoy what goes along with it…the opportunity of being at the “Big Dance” and actually get a chance to show off a few of their moves.
Final Score: UCLA Bruins 67 Abilene Christian 47
Stat-Line : Cody Riley/*(Double-Double/12 pts/12 reb/1 stl/1 blk/33 mins; Johnny Juzang/17 pts./3 reb/1 asst/1 stl/1 blk/27 min; Jaime Jaquez, Jr./10 pts/7 reb/2 asst/2 blks/33 mins; Jules Bernard/6 pts/5 reb/5 asst/1 stl; 33 mins; Tyger Campbell/6 pts/1 reb/4 asst/27 min; David Singleton/3 pts/3 reb/1 asst/18 min; Jaylen Clark/5 pts/7 reb/1 asst/14 min; Jake Kyman/8 pts/1 reb/13 min.
Next Up: “The Sweet 16” – #2 seed, Alabama, 4:15 pm (PT) on TBS, Sunday, March 29th. Local Los Angeles radio station 1150 AM will carry the game for listeners. In addition you can catch the game on SIRIUS and XM Radio Channels: Ch. 138 / Ch. 210 & SIRIUSXM Internet Channel: Ch. 968. The game will also be “Live Streamed.” To view, go to March Madness Live, or through Paramount+ and WatchTBS.
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