(East Los Angeles, CA) March 30, 2021 [From The Editor’s Desk]: It was “Sweet Sixteen” time at the “Big Dance,” and the UCLA Bruins, now (21-9) played like the #2 seed instead of the 11th. At this point in any tournament, seeding can only be a pre-requisite, but not a predictor. And to that point, the Bruins entered the game with a “winner take-all” attitude. And what we all saw on our video monitors and heard on our radio outlets…the PAC-12 came to play, and win once again, despite all of the incredible odds against them.
As noted in our headline en Español, “Thank You Jaime,” it is simply a much-appreciated and respectful way that we acknowledge our highly competitive student-athletes, and/or other notable athletes who represent our multitude of Mexican-American, Chicano, Mexicano, and Latino communities. We proudly salute them for their efforts and contributions in outstanding and memorable performances, as well as recognizing them as positive role models. In this particular case, of course we are speaking about the pride and joy of Camarillo, CA/Camarillo High School, who comes in the person of one, Jaime Jaquez, Jr. The 6-6 sophomore stand-out has been one of the most durable and consistent players of the 2021 season as well as the NCAA tournament, due to the unwavering faith and trust of his Head Coach, Mick Cronin. As a testament to Jaime’s grit, determination, and conditioning, he was the only Bruin to play all 45 minutes of this contest. He did the same in the “First Four” overtime game against Michigan State.
And, thanks in great part to Jaime’s outstanding effort in the Bruins thrilling and assertive (88-78) “Overtime” victory over #2 seed, the Alabama Crimson Tide in their “Sweet Sixteen” match this past Sunday, the Bruins continue on their way up to the top in the “Big Dance” and another opportunity to take just one more step to reach their season’s goal of making it to the Final Four this coming Saturday, April 3rd. Just to refresh everyone’s memory on this run, they’ve beaten Michigan State, BYU, Abilene Christian, and Alabama to get to the Elite Eight and on Tuesday, 3/31, they come back to take on another #1 seed, the Michigan Wolverines for the last spot in the Regional Finals, aka the “Final Four.”
(1st Half): The Bruins displayed a fluid offense to open the game taking a (7-1) lead, but soon after both teams started to take brief turns at making runs. This worked well for the Tide as they caught the Bruins and were staying even until the final burst by the Bruins just before the half. The “Big” play was a Jules Bernard jump shot, straight-on from above the 3 point arc, which he scored and was fouled as he came down. He delivered on the free throw which gave him a rare 4-point play. The halftime score was Bruins 40, Crimson Tide, 29.
(2nd Half):Bruin hopes for the win in regulation suffered greatly when Johnny Juzang was called for his 5th foul with 1:54 left in the game. At that time the score was UCLA 65, Alabama 62, with just seconds left. After Alabama in-bounded the ball, the Bruins did not immediately foul and Alabama found their center wide open a few feet above the 3 point line. He then took a dribble and buried the “buzzer-beating” 3 point shot to tie the game and send it into the 5:00 minute OT period.
(Overtime): It was all Bruins with David Singleton, the Bishop Montgomery product, hitting timely jump shots and making free throws while Jaquez drained two long jumpers making him a game-tying high point man with Jules Bernard. They both had a total of (17) points. These three players scored most of their team’s (23) points in OT, while on defense they held Alabama to just (13). Add in a great block by Cody Riley and a huge steal-and-breakaway score by Tyger Campbell and all of that spelled the end of the line for the Crimson Tide.
All in all scoring wise, the Bruins had 6 players in double figures. Besides Jaquez and Bernard with (17) and Singleton with (15), Campbell and Juzang had (13) apiece and Cody Riley added (10). After the final horn sounded the end of the game, the Bruins were viewed to be happily dancing off the floor.
(Special Bruin Notes): 1.) Going from the “1st Four Play-In” to the Elite 8, hasn’t happened since 2011 when Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) pulled that off; and 2.) Bruin Fans in attendance were heard quite loudly performing their famous Bruin “8-Clap.”
Next Up: “The Elite Eight” – #1 seed, Michigan, 6:45 pm (PDT) on TBS, Tuesday, March 30th. Local Los Angeles radio station 1150 AM will carry the game for listeners.
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