No. 7 UCLA dominates Utah, 68-49, in 12th straight win
LOS ANGELES (AP) — UCLA is showing off different ways to win while the seventh-ranked Bruins pile up victories.
Tyger Campbell scored 17 points and Adem Bona added 15 in a 68-49 victory over Utah on Thursday night for the Bruins’ 12th consecutive victory.
UCLA (15-2, 6-0 Pac-12) is on its longest winning streak since opening the 2016-17 season with 13 straight wins. The Bruins are 10-0 at home this season.
Given the timing, coach Mick Cronin isn’t overly impressed.
“As my dad would probably tell me that winning streak in January and a few bucks would get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks,” he said.
Still, the Bruins were impressive. They shot 48% from the floor, controlled the boards, 40-26, and kept the ball moving with 21 assists.
“The best thing I saw other than the assists was Tyger getting it going. He hasn’t really been himself,” Cronin said. “I was imploring him to be more aggressive. He’s been a little bit too passive.”
Bona continues to soar. He’s been the Pac-12 freshman of the week the last two weeks.
“He’s flourishing now and that’s what we’re going to need him to do if we’re going to be a great team,” Jaime Jaquez Jr. said.
Bona scored five points in the second half when the Bruins ran away. They opened with a 15-6 run to extend their lead to 46-28. Jaquez scored his first points of the game in that span. UCLA’s scoring leader finished with eight points, less than half his average, but Jaquez tied his season high with 12 rebounds, which was double his average.
Campbell contributed during an 8-0 spurt that produced a 62-38 lead.
“Guys were driving in and kicking it and finding me. I was just taking my time,” Campbell said. “My big thing is I’m a patient player. I kind of wanted to come off the screen and find my reads. I was trying to play what the defense gave me.”
Rollie Worster led the Utes (12-5, 5-2) with 12 points off the bench. Four players average in double figures but they were all held to single digits, including leading scorer Branden Carlson. He finished with four — well under his average of 15.7.
“We know the formula: share the ball and play as hard as you can on defense,” Jaquez said. “Once you do that good things happen.”
The Bruins missed their first four shots of the game, then went on a tear. They reeled off 11 straight points to lead 11-4. Bona scored six in a row, capped by the first of his three dunks in the half. He grabbed eight rebounds.
“That was kind of the boost we needed,” Bona said. “It’s a team effort. It wasn’t just me. I was the open man.”
Bona and Campbell later combined to score 15 straight points for the Bruins. Bona dunked two-handed and on UCLA’s next possession the freshman grabbed an offensive rebound and fired to Campbell, who hit a 3-pointer. Campbell hit another 3 and Dylan Andrews added one as well to help the Bruins lead 31-22 at halftime.
Utah: The Utes lost their first Pac-12 road game of the season. They came in having won three of four and were tied for second in the league. But they struggled to hold onto the ball with 16 turnovers that UCLA converted into 19 points.
UCLA: The Bruins keep winning ahead of their road trip to the Arizona schools next week. They face a stiff test at No. 9 Arizona, likely the last ranked team they’ll play in the regular season.
DON’T GO THERE
Kenneth Nwuba had five of UCLA’s eight blocked shots in 15 minutes.
Utah: Visits Southern California on Saturday.
UCLA: Hosts Colorado on Saturday to conclude a three-game homestand.
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