On Thursday, the No. 21 UCLA Bruins (6-2, 1-0 Pac-12) defeated the Stanford Cardinal (3-5, 0-1 Pac-12) 80-66 in dominant fashion, earning their first Pac-12 win of the season. The Cardinal have now dropped to 1-5 against Power Five competition this season.
Stanford got off to a ghastly start, as the Bruins’ full court pressure disrupted Stanford’s rhythm and sets on offense. The Cardinal gave up the ball six times within the first five minutes, which catalyzed UCLA’s 17-0 run to start the game.
“We can’t play from our heels,” said head coach Jerod Haase. “Offensively, obviously, we got back and turned the basketball over and weren’t aggressive. And on the defensive end, there was literally zero ball pressure. We just took punches for 20 minutes.”
Even after sophomore forward Harrison’s Ingram’s bucket in the post to break Stanford’s scoreless streak, the Bruins’ aggressive ball-screen defense gave Stanford trouble in the half court. Despite shooting a respectable 43% from the field, the Cardinal hoisted 12 less shots than UCLA during the first half, largely due to their nine turnovers.
On the other side of the court, UCLA was also able to generate efficient offense thanks to the play of forwards Amari Bailey and Jaime Jaquez Jr. Both players dominated the scoreboard during the half, accumulating 15 points each. The Bruins also received production from star point guard Tyger Campbell, who chipped in with 10 points. Overall, UCLA shot 63% from the field during the first half.
While UCLA’s press defense was effective early on in creating turnovers, it also allowed Stanford to get several easy baskets late in the first half. Senior forward James Keefe capitalized on those opportunities, tallying nine points in the first half, nearly four above his season scoring average of 5.3.
However, the Bruins were able to maintain the lead they built thanks to their offensive play, and at halftime, they enjoyed a sizable 50-29 lead.
Despite the large deficit, the Cardinal refused to lay down in the second half. A 9-0 run, a time in which senior forward Spencer Jones scored seven straight points, allowed Stanford to cut the lead to just 12. But thanks to an offensive spurt, the Bruins were able to once again extend their lead to 21.
Stanford punched back in a huge way, dialing up the ball pressure on defense while maintaining their composure and distributing the ball more on offense. The Cardinal hit six threes in the second half while also forcing thirteen turnovers.
“They just started pressuring us,” Jaquez remarked. “We could have folded under that pressure- we made some turnovers, but we made up for it with our defense and trying to get great shots.”
With less than five minutes left in the game, Stanford cut their deficit down to 66-58. However, Jaquez Jr. came up big in key spots, hitting two field goals down the stretch to clinch the victory for the Bruins.
At the end of the game, the 6-foot-6-inch forward tallied 27 points, leading all scorers. Bailey and Campbell followed with 19 and 17 points, respectively. For Stanford, Spencer Jones led the way with 18 points, while graduate student guard Michael Jones trailed behind with 10 points.
Up next, Stanford will take on Arizona State (7-1, 1-0 Pac-12) on the road in Tempe, Ariz. before taking a 12-day hiatus. After the halt in play, the Cardinal will return home to take on Green Bay (0-7, 0-1 Horizon).
Tip-off against Arizona State is scheduled for 4 p.m. PT on Sunday.