It took an extra five minutes for both Johnny Juchang and Jaime Jacques, but the No. 2 UCLA was in line with expectations on Friday night.
Bruins escaped in the night-time overtime thriller to defeat No. 4 Villanova. 86-77 The first non-conference conference in the Poly Pavilion in almost three decades.
The win, even at the start of the season, is a big statement for Mick Crohn’s Bruins – and a big sign of what’s to come for Pac-12 favorites.
UCLA rally to defeat Villanova in OT
The Bruins jumped ahead early Friday night and took a brief nine-point lead in the middle of the first half. It did not last long, however, Villanova stepped back and reduced the game to a bucket during the break – it was held to a goalless draw for the final 3:18 of that period.
After a slightly late shooting start, Villanova took a 10-point lead that seemed to completely break the game in the second half – the biggest of the night – in just a few minutes. UCLA Guardian Tiger Campbell quickly destroyed that advantage with 3-pointers, however, killing Wildgates’ chance.
Although Villanova went with two matte shots for more than six minutes, the Wildcats were able to stop UCLA – at least Bruins guard Jules Bernard equalized 67-67 until he hit a wild float in the middle of the lane. There are still 40 seconds. Villanova had a final shot to end the game in the buzzer, but Justin Moore missed a short jumper mark – which sent the game into extra time.
UCLA finally broke it in extra time after a Xujum jumper and then a Jacques 3-pointer – only possible after a big defensive stop at the other end. That explosive lead gave the Bruins a five-point lead in the middle of extra time, which was their biggest since the opening minutes of the game.
From there, UCLA were strong and conceded only two field goals – one meaningless 3-pointer to a nine-point victory.
Jermaine Samuels led Villanova with 20 points and five rebounds, shooting from a 3-point line to a 5-for-8. Colin Gillespie added 18 points for Villanova, while shooting 50% off the field. As a group, the Wildgates forced 14 turnovers and shot almost 46% from behind the curve. However, their opening fifth, played almost the entire match without much rest – which eventually made them feel tired.
Juchang led UCLA with 25 points and eight rebounds, while Jacques finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds, shooting 50% off the field. As a pair, they are more than half of the Bruins points. Bernard added 16 points and nine rebounds, and Campbell finished with 14 points.
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