UCLA edges Northwestern to return to Sweet 16; David Singleton sprains ankle
Published in Basketball
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — How Sweet it is.
For the third time in as many seasons, UCLA is advancing to the NCAA tournament’s second week.
The Bruins made it to the Sweet 16 again because another trend persisted Saturday at the Golden 1 Center: The final minutes continued to be winning time.
Shaking off a huge Northwestern rally in which the Wildcats erased a 13-point deficit, second-seeded UCLA held off the seventh-seeded Wildcats for a 68-63 victory in the second round.
The Bruins’ celebration was muted because of another late-season injury.
UCLA senior guard David Singleton, whose only three-pointer of the night had opened a late, six-point lead, sustained a right ankle sprain when he slipped with 20 seconds left. He had to be helped off the court but returned and wiggled his fingers as he walked off to cheers from the crowd. He gave reporters an upbeat assessment of his injury: “I just rolled my ankle. I’m fine.”
Jaime Jaquez Jr. scored 24 points, Amari Bailey added 14 and Tyger Campbell had 12 for the Bruins, who pulled away after making all the plays they needed to in the final minutes. Campbell hurled the ball into the air after the final second ticked off the clock.
UCLA (31-5) will play the winner of Sunday’s second-round game between Gonzaga and Texas Christian in a regional semifinal Thursday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Boo Buie scored 18 points, Matthew Nicholson had 17 and Chase Audige all 16 of his in the second half for Northwestern (22-12), which had its chances in the biggest game in school history given a lack of basketball tradition.
An incredibly intense, back-and-forth game was tilting in UCLA’s direction as Singleton buried a three to push the Bruins into a 62-56 lead with 1:45 left, after an Adem Bona block had given their team the possession. Northwestern’s Brooks Barnhizer made two free throws to pull the Wildcats within 62-58.
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