On Wednesday night, the No. 8 UCLA men’s basketball team hosted Concordia University Irvine in a preseason exhibition game at Pauley Pavilion, which may have brought back memories of a similar situation from over a decade ago.
On the first Wednesday of November 2009, the Bruins hosted the Eagles in an exhibition game. It wasn’t until Mustafa Abdul-Hamid hit a 3-pointer with 0.2 seconds remaining that the Bruins came away with a victory. Despite a close first half, UCLA cruised to a 93-63 victory over Concordia to unofficially kick off the 2022-2023 season.
Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Tyger Campbell, two stellar seniors, shined in the game
Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Tyger Campbell, two stellar seniors, scored 25 points to help their teams overcome slow starts and defeat the Eagles. During warmups, Coach Mick Cronin sent out his projected starting five for the upcoming season: Campbell, Jaquez, Amari Bailey, Jaylen Clark, and Adem Bona.
Bona missed an alley-oop dunk off a lob from Campbell, and Clark missed a two-handed slam on a fastbreak as that five-person group had trouble finishing early. As an example, when Bailey drove the baseline for a slam dunk, they were successful in their covert operation, but the rookie was called for a technical foul for hanging on the rim.
Despite this, UCLA maintained a 6-0 and later a 10-3 lead. The Bruins’ shooting woes persisted, and the Eagles finally showed signs of life after initially struggling to score. However, the Bruins dominated the first 10 minutes on the glass, grabbing seven offensive rebounds.
For almost three minutes, UCLA went scoreless, and they shot just 1% from the field during that time. Concordia gradually began to close the gap. After more than 11 minutes of play in the first half, the Bruins only led 14-12 due to poor shooting and uncharacteristic turnovers. Abramo Lanka, an Italian wing, scored a basket in his collegiate debut to finish a 12-0 run in his first career game.
Jaquez’s finishing through contact in the post and subsequent and-1s sparked a decisive run that put UCLA ahead for the first time. After taking a 25-16 lead, the Bruins blasted the game open by making six consecutive shots, including consecutive 3-pointers from Campbell and David Singleton.
UCLA -sets the second half on fire
Ultimately, the usual suspects—Jaquez, Campbell, and Singleton—helped UCLA recover from a slow start. Bona also contributed on defense, helping to limit Concordia to only 28 points in the first half by blocking four shots in six minutes. The Bruins came out strong to start the second half, and they quickly built a 20-point advantage before the first media timeout.
With Jaquez and Campbell again at the helm, UCLA started the second half on fire, making their first nine shots. Clark dunked hard on the fast break, made a breakaway layup, and was forced to jump for a loose ball while maintaining his trademark grin. UCLA shot 32 of 54 from the field after starting the game 5 of 21.
Singleton, Andrews, and Clark were the last three Bruins to score in double figures, doing so just before the game ended. Jaquez scored 25 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and Campbell scored 25 points and made three 3-pointers to contribute to a winning score. Bona and Bailey, two rookies, scored only eight points as a unit, but they had five blocks between them, and Bailey grabbed six boards.
On opening night, UCLA will host Sacramento State in the regular season at Pauley Pavilion. At 8:30 PM, tune in to Pac-12 Networks to catch the first tip of that contest.