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UCLA shows off some hot shooting and lockdown defense in win over Utah

Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Basketball

As his team scraped its way to one taut victory after another, prevailing through grit and tenaciousness, coach Mick Cronin said it was no juggernaut.

UCLA surely looked like one Thursday.

The Bruins made Utah resemble five traffic cones draped in white-and-red jerseys, moving freely for open shots and getting pretty much everything they wanted.

Combining hot shooting with lockdown defense, UCLA rolled to a 76-61 victory at the Huntsman Center that represented a rare breather for a team that could use one from its high-wire act.

The Bruins (17-5 overall, 13-3 Pac-12) opened the second half with a 16-5 spurt to take a 19-point lead and were never seriously threatened on the way to their fourth consecutive victory.

 

Jules Bernard scored 19 points, making four of six three-pointers, and Johnny Juzang added 18 points, also making four of six three-pointers, for the Bruins, who were scorching from beyond the arc, making 11 of 19 shots (57.9%) from long range.

Forward Cody Riley had 15 points on seven-for-nine shooting for UCLA, which shot 55.4% overall while holding the Utes (9-11, 6-10) to 44.8% shooting. Guard Timmy Allen, Utah’s leading scorer this season, was held to eight points, making only four of 13 shots.

UCLA enjoyed one of its better shooting spurts of the season in the first half, particularly from long range. The Bruins made six of 10 three-pointers (60%) and eight of 16 shots inside the arc (50%) on the way to a 35-27 halftime lead.

Juzang made two of three three-pointers on the way to 12 first-half points and Bernard, taking over the point guard duties in the final minutes after Tyger Campbell picked up his second foul, made two of four three-pointers while scoring eight points before halftime.

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