July 2, 2022

Johnny Xuchang survived the OT battle to defeat UCLA Villanova

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.

UCLA Bruins defender Johnny Jussang tripled the ball when Villanova were defended by Wildgates forward Brandon Slater in the second half at the Bowley Pavilion on Friday night as Bruins head coach Mick Cronin watched. (Richard Mackson / USA Today / Reuters)