No. 9 UCLA aims to remain unbeaten on the road at Colorado
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Pac-12 Conference foes Colorado and No. 9 UCLA meet Saturday in Boulder, Colo., each coming off close decisions in their last outings.
While Colorado (12-5, 4-3 Pac-12) lost a tight game to Southern Cal, UCLA (12-2, 4-1) overcame sluggish shooting from the floor and a late deficit to hold off Utah, 63-58, Thursday in Salt Lake City. With that win, UCLA remained unbeaten in four true road games this season.
Johnny Juzang accounted for half of all the Bruins' 18 made field goals, en route to a season-high 28 points. Juzang and Jules Bernard, who scored 14 points, were the only Bruins to score in double-figures.
"When you win on the road in conference play, you get a shower, something to eat and that's it," UCLA coach Mick Cronin told the Los Angeles Times following the win. "It's not supposed to be pretty."
The 63 points the Bruins scored tied their second-lowest point total of the season, and marked the second time since returning from a more than three-week COVID-19 pause that they scored in the 60s.
UCLA won both games, which were on the road, and in each instance held its opponent in the 50s. The Bruins won at Cal on Jan. 8, 60-52. Since the turn of the new year, UCLA has won four of its last five games.
Despite the two recent low scores, UCLA remains ranked No. 18 in the nation for adjusted offensive efficiency, per KenPom.com, and No. 28 nationally in scoring offense at 79.4 points per game, as of Friday. For Pac-12 teams, only Arizona is ahead of UCLA in those statistical categories.
His offensive outpouring on 9 of 13 shooting Thursday improved Juzang's team-leading scoring average to 17.9 points per game, good for third-highest in the conference.
The Bruins aim to complete the road sweep of the Pac-12's Rocky Mountain schools Saturday, facing a Colorado bunch that came out on the wrong end of a defensive struggle on Thursday.
The Buffaloes held No. 16-ranked USC to just 37.1 percent shooting from the floor, but went 16 of 51 on their own end of a 61-58 loss.
"We didn't execute offensively pretty much all night long," Colorado coach Tad Boyle said. "I thought our offense had made more strides in that, but we were playing against a good USC defensive team tonight and we played impatiently and turned the ball over 16 times."
Although the Buffaloes committed 16 turnovers, they forced the same number from the Trojans. A rebounding disparity of 47-32 cost Colorado, as USC finished with a 15-5 advantage in second-chance points.
Both points allowed off of turnovers and second-chance points surrendered plagued Colorado in its last meeting with UCLA, a 73-61 road loss on Dec. 1.
The Bruins converted 12 Colorado turnovers into 23 points while the Buffaloes managed just nine points on nine UCLA turnovers. And UCLA enjoyed a 15-5 advantage for second-chance points.
Myles Johnson, who was one of four Bruins to score in double-figures against the Buffs with 12 points, led UCLA to a 10-6 edge on the offensive glass with four boards off Bruins' misses. Tyger Campbell tallied 21 points to lead UCLA in scoring in that matchup, while Jabari Walker poured in 22 points and 11 rebounds for Colorado.
--Field Level Media
Updated January 21, 2022