Juzang’s 23 points help UCLA No. 9 hold off Colorado 71-65 | national

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — UCLA coach Mick Cronin has forecast Colorado’s comeback, warning his ninth-ranked Bruins they better not let go if they want an easy tune-up for next week’s showdown against No. 3 Arizona.

“I told the guys better get up 20,” Cronin recounted after the Bruins held off the Buffs 71-65 on Saturday night. “But I didn’t think that was going to happen, just so you know.”

Sure enough, the Buffaloes, who trailed 43-28 at halftime, made it a one-possession game in the final minute after trailing up to 17.

The Bruins were successful by shoving several key baskets down the stretch — as well as their six free throws in the final 16 seconds, starting with a pair from Johnny Juzang, who led UCLA with 23 points.

Jaime Jaquez Jr. added 14 points for the Bruins (13-2, 5-1 Pac-12), but it was Tyger Campbell’s single basket that weighed the heaviest.

Campbell atoned for a night’s rest when he sank a 3-pointer from the top of the circle with 1:27 to go after the Buffaloes (12-6, 4-4) cut their deficit to 62-61.

Campbell’s defender cut below, leaving him an unchallenged stare, and he didn’t hesitate to shoot, even after missing his first seven shots.


“Yeah, I never worry about missed shots. I work too hard everyday, in the gym and on rest days to go out and miss a few shots to stop shooting,” Campbell said.

The Buffs scored just seven baskets before halftime and trailed 43-28 at the break, but things have changed.

“We went toe to toe with them in the second half,” Colorado coach Tad Boyle said. “In the first half, we weren’t ourselves.”

The Buffs were never able to take the lead despite their furious second-half rally that rocked the CU Events Center. They had a chance to tie it at 65 when Jabari Walker, who was leading Colorado with 19 points, missed a layup when the time was under 20 seconds.

Juzang sank both free throws with 16 seconds remaining to make it 67-63 and after another miss from Walker, Jules Bernard sank a pair of free kicks with 6.7 seconds left and he added two more with 1.6 seconds to play.

The Buffaloes also lost a heartbreaker 61-58 to No. 16 USC on Thursday night. They’ve fallen to 0-5 against ranked teams this season, including 0-2 against the Bruins. Last year they were 3-3 against top 25 teams.

As the Bruins cooled after halftime, Colorado shot 53-47 with just over eight minutes left on back-to-back buckets from Tristan de Silva, who entered when Walker limped off the field favoring his right leg with 10:35 left.

Walker came back with eight minutes left and scored on a counterattack while being fouled by Jaquez with 3:50 left. Bucket made it 58-54 and his free throw after a timeout made it 58-55.

Juzang hit two jumpers and Campbell, who is averaging 12.1 points, made his only field goal, to help fend off the Buffaloes, who scored just one field goal in the 8:06 final of the first half time.

“What a disappointing loss,” Boyle said. “We shot ourselves in the foot. Second game in a row for turnovers, I thought it couldn’t get worse at 16, here we are at 21.

“But I have to give hats off to our guys, they fought back in that second half. This team has a fight, they have resilience, they have heart. We just have to understand the little things and every possession means something. We have ‘I haven’t figured it out yet.


After outscoring the Buffs 18-0 in points on turnovers in the first half, the Bruins saw their big lead shrink to one point, but they never lost the lead. The Buffs made it a contest, but they will lament their first half, when they only hit three 2-pointers.


With three straight wins, the Bruins rebounded well from their overtime loss to Oregon. Now comes their showdown with No. 3 Arizona on Tuesday night, the Pac-12’s biggest game this season — at least until Feb. 3, when they start again in Tucson, Arizona.


UCLA: The big game against Arizona is Tuesday at Pauley Pavilion.

Colorado: The Buffs hit the road for three games, starting with a trip to Oregon on Tuesday night.

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