Fourth-ranked UCLA went on a late, 7-0 run that slammed the door on Utah’s rally effort and the Bruins emerged with a 78-71 win over the Utes on Thursday in Salt Lake City.
Jaime Jaquez Jr. capped his team-high 23-point effort with a 3-pointer off the dribble at the 1:03 mark, pushing UCLA’s lead to 10 points and effectively sealing the win.
The Bruins (24-4, 15-2 Pac-12) had pulled ahead by 16 points midway through the second half on a Jaquez layup before giving up a 19-7 Utah run.
The Utes (17-12, 10-8) cut the deficit to as few as three points over the ensuing five-plus minutes, led by seven of Mike Saunders Jr.’s game-high 25 points. Utah could not bridge the gap any more but remained within striking distance when Saunders and Branden Carlson each answered Jaquez baskets.
UCLA’s 7-0 burst, which began with a Tyger Campbell 3-pointer, proved back-breaking. The Utes went 2:02 with a point as the Bruins pulled away.
Campbell made a critical jumper from long range to close a 3-of-4 night shooting from beyond the arc, accounting for half of his 18 points. Campbell also matched teammate Jaylen Clark with a game-high five assists.
Dylan Andrews was the only other Bruin to score in double figures, winding up with 10 points. Clark finished with nine, and Amari Bailey added seven. Jaquez grabbed a team-high eight rebounds.
Marco Anthony pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds for Utah and notched nine points. Carlson added 14 points but shot just 4-for-14 from the floor and 1-for-6 from 3-point range. The Utes finished 6-for-21 as a team from beyond the arc.
The loss was Utah’s third straight, while UCLA extended its winning streak to seven games. A Bruins win Sunday at Colorado would ensure UCLA of at least a share of the Pac-12 championship.
–Field Level Media