LAS VEGAS –
Life without Jaylen Clark will be tough. Amari Bailey made sure it wasn’t unbearable.
In the first game without UCLA’s relentless defense, it got the offensive attack from its star freshman guard to pull off a major upset.
Bailey’s 26 points powered the second-seeded, top-seeded Bruins to an 80-69 victory over ninth-seeded Colorado in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 tournament Thursday afternoon at T-Mobile Arena.
UCLA could breathe after a sequence that followed a Jaime Jaquez Jr. steal with Tyger Campbell that ended in a Jaquez layup where he was fouled and made a free throw, extending the Bruins’ lead to 73. -65 with 1:21 left.
Frustration mounted for Colorado’s Tad Boyle, who picked up two technical fouls and was ejected with 54 seconds remaining.
Campbell finished with 18 points and seven assists and Jaquez had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Bruins (28-4), who extended their winning streak to 11 games.
UCLA guard Jaime Jaquez Jr., left, drives past Colorado guard Luke O’Brien in the first half Thursday. Jaquez finished with 16 points.
(David Becker/Associated Press)
Clark was out last weekend against Arizona after suffering a lower leg injury that could keep him out of the postseason. He did not travel to Las Vegas with the group.
Tristan da Silva scored 17 points for the Buffaloes, who led the way with point guard KJ Simpson.
The Bruins ran into trouble early in the second half when UCLA coach Mick Cronin pulled Jaquez, the Pac-12 player of the year, as he turned around. The Buffaloes countered every UCLA drive and continued to make shots, taking a 49-46 lead on a corner three by Luke O’Brien.
Da Silva gave Colorado a 61-60 lead with a 3-pointer on Jaquez before Jaquez countered with a 3-pointer of his own, sparking a 9-0 run for the Bruins that included a layup by Campbell in transition and two free throws by Bailey.
Trailing UCLA, 38-37, at halftime, Colorado consistently got comfortable behind the three-point line, making seven of 12 shots from long range.
The Bruins got an early boost from Bailey, who scored 12 points in 11 1/2 minutes before picking up his second foul and going to the bench for the first half.