inside view UCLA You can expect a locker room after the end of a long road trip in late January.
Players sat in their lockers, some looking at phones, others lost in conversation with teammates, no one celebrating Saturday at the Golden 1 Center. just reminders that it was a special time of year big NCAA Tournament Bracket Positioned at one end of the room, the Bruins advanced, allowing designated sticker slapper Russell Stong IV to propel UCLA into the next round.
As a reporter asked the senior guard David Singleton In what the team was going to celebrate this latest victory as part of Another Deep Run in March, Stong raised a victorious fist in the air from his seat three lockers above.
“Team film session and recovery,” Walk-On interrupted.
That’s what they are. This is what they do.
For the third time in as many seasons, UCLA made the Sweet 16.
The Bruins would keep playing as another trend persisted: last-minute winning times.
Rocking a huge Northwestern rally that erased a 13-point deficit in the second half, second-seeded UCLA defeated the seventh-seeded Wildcats in an intense, 68-63 win In the second round.
It was a victory full of redemption for the Bruins.
point guard tiger campbellJoe missed free throws late in the Pac-12 tournament championship, going 12 for 12, including six straight in the final three minutes.
Singleton, who had lost that title-game to Arizona, buried his only three-pointer of the night, giving the Bruins a 62–56 lead with 1:52 remaining.
Freshman guard Dylan Andrews, who had missed a three-pointer at the end of the Arizona game a week earlier, made a three-pointer from almost the same spot on the court with nine minutes remaining against Northwestern. Andrews also made two free throws with 20 seconds left after Singleton injured his ankle and had to leave the game.
Andrews said that assistant coach Rod Palmer told him in a timeout huddle that the Wildcats would likely choose him to shoot free throws, allowing him to begin his routine after stepping to the line.
Andrews said, “Just spin the ball, dribble twice and I clear my mind with a deep breath and just me and the basket, that’s all I can see.” “Both made.”
There was widespread relief when Singleton returned to the bench before the end of the game and waved his fingers to the applause of the crowd as he left the court.
Singleton, who diagnosed the sprain, said, “I just twisted my ankle.” “I’m fine.”
Contributions were across the board for the Bruins to stop a valiant effort from Northwestern that qualifies as the greatest game in Big Ten school basketball history.
Jaime Jacquez Jr. Scored 24 points to pass Bill Walton on UCLA’s all-time scoring list, Amari Bailey added 14 points before fouling the ball after the final buzzer, and Campbell added 12 with seven assists and no turnovers.
UCLA (31-5) will play the winner of Sunday’s second-round game between Gonzaga and Texas Christian in a regional semifinal at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The Bruins joined Houston and Arkansas as the only teams to make the final three Sweet 16 appearances. gonzaga possibly joining them.
Some special assistance will be with the Bruins at their next stop.
“Yeah I want to go to Vegas!” injured guard jaylen clark tweeted, adding a happy-tears emoji.
An incredibly intense, back-and-forth game was leaning in UCLA’s direction when Singleton, who had missed his first four three-pointers, rose with confidence and finally sank one, giving his team a six-point lead. Got a late lead in points.
“Once you don’t believe in yourself, it’s over,” Singleton said. “So I’m always confident — I feel every shot going in.”
Northwestern (22-12) never got closer than four points the rest of the way, Boo Bui’s missed touchdown with 13 seconds remaining and his team six effectively ending the Wildcats’ chances. Buie finished with 18 points, Matthew Nicholson added 17 and Chase Audige scored all 16 points in the second half for the Wildcats.
Jacquez now has 1,773 points in four seasons, surpassing Walton’s 1,767 points in three seasons.
“I’ll definitely tell Bill when I see him,” Jacquez joked of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer.
Singleton said the Bruins would celebrate upon their return to Westwood, probably gathering at Stong’s apartment. There will be epic video game battles as well as a team movie session.
“We have one TV on the game,” Singleton said, “the other TV we have on Super Smash Bros..”
The partying won’t be quite as intense, everyone knows there are more games to play, more victories to secure.
“We’re going to celebrate, but we know the job is not over,” Singleton said. “We made the Sweet 16, but we go to a school where they hang around nothing but national championships.”
Two wins lost, four more to go.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times,