Colorado vs UCLA – Men’s College Basketball Game Recap – March 9, 2023

LAS VEGAS — — UCLA coach Mick Cronin said ahead of Thursday’s game against Colorado that not having Jaylen Clark in the Pac-12 conference tournament would be an opportunity for other players to step up.

Freshman Amari Bailey accepted that challenge, and largely because of his season-high 26 points, the second-ranked Bruins not only beat the Buffaloes 80-69 in the quarterfinals , but they kept pushing for a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Bailey entered the game averaging 9.6 points.

“I know he has that in him, and I’ve been trying to figure out how to get it out of him,” Cronin said. ” It’s not his fault. It’s up to me to try and find ways to boost his confidence.

UCLA (28-4) has won 11 straight, 25 of 27 overall, and it was its first victory in Las Vegas in four games. The top-seeded Bruins will face fourth-seeded Oregon in the semifinals on Friday.

Colorado coach Tad Boyle was ejected with 54.4 seconds left after contesting a call. He had to be restrained by his assistants before leaving the floor.

Frustration had been building for Colorado, which took 11 free kicks to UCLA’s 31.

“We didn’t lose this game because of the refereeing,” Boyle said. “We lost that game because Amari Bailey was great for UCLA. He played his best game of the year. … Our inability to get the free throw line was the difference in play and our turnovers (15 ) because when you roll on UCLA, they are very, very active with their hands.

Bailey eclipsed his previous high of 24 points on Feb. 9 at Oregon State. Tyger Campbell scored 18 points for the Bruins, Jaime Jaquez Jr. had 16 and Adem Bona had 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Tristan da Silva led the Buffaloes (17-16) with 17 points. Julian Hammond III scored 14, Jalen Gabbidon 12 and Ethan Wright 10.

It was the Bruins’ first game without Clark, who is out for at least this tournament with a leg injury. He is an all-around player with an average of 13 points and six rebounds and was named conference defensive player of the year.

Clark is a tough player to replace, but Bailey has shown he can step up for at least one game.

“I feel like we could lose a lot with Jaylen being around defensively,” Bailey said. “So I wanted to come in and try to win at least one game and play as hard as I can in defense.”

Colorado gave the Bruins everything they could handle, leading 61-60 with 5:18 left. Jaquez then ignited a nine-pointer with a 3-pointer to give UCLA the lead for good, beating Colorado 19-8 the rest of the way.

“We’ve done that a lot this season,” Jaquez said. “I have a lot of games under my belt here. I know a lot of my teammates do it too, like Tyger and David (Singleton). When we get into these situations, we know how to win. We understand that in a crisis you need to get saves, and that’s what we did this game.


Colorado: The Buffaloes only have two seniors, so this performance is something they can build on for next season. If they received an offer for the NIT, it would be a valuable experience.

UCLA: It’s hard to blame all of the Bruins’ defensive problems on Clark’s absence. But UCLA wins with defense, and not having it was noticeable as Colorado shot 58% in the first half and 51% for the game.


Colorado: The Buffaloes are waiting to see if they will make it to the NIT.

UCLA: The Bruins swept two games against Oregon during the regular season.


AP College Basketball: and and–Top25

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