It took an extra five minutes, and a huge night from both Johnny Juzang and Jaime Jaquez, but No. 2 UCLA lived up to expectations on Friday night.
The Bruins survived a late-night overtime thriller to beat No. 4 Villanova 86-77 in what was the first top-5 nonconference matchup at Pauley Pavilion in nearly three decades.
The win, though early in the season, is a huge statement for Mick Cronin’s Bruins — and a big sign of what’s to come for the Pac-12 favorites.
UCLA rallies to beat Villanova in OT
The Bruins jumped out in front early on Friday night, and took a brief nine-point lead midway through the first half. That didn’t last long, however, as Villanova stormed back and cut the game to just a single bucket at the break — even though it was held scoreless for the final 3:18 of the period.
After a bit of a slow shooting start, Villanova looked as if it was in spot to break the game wide open in the second half after it took a 10-point lead — the largest of the night — just minutes in. UCLA guard Tyger Campbell quickly ruined that advantage with back-to-back 3-pointers, however, which killed the Wildcats’ chance at running away with the contest right then and there.
Though Villanova went more than six minutes with only two made shots, the Wildcats managed to keep UCLA at bay — at least until Bruins guard Jules Bernard hit a wild floater in the middle of the lane to tie the game at 67-67 with less than 40 seconds left. Villanova had one final shot to end the game at the buzzer, but Justin Moore’s short jumper was off the mark — which sent the game into overtime.
UCLA finally broke it open in overtime after a Juzang jumper and then a Jaquez 3-pointer — which was made possible only after a huge defensive stop at the other end. That burst gave the Bruins a five-point lead midway through the extra period, their largest since the opening minutes of the game.
From there, UCLA held strong and gave up only two field goals — one was a meaningless 3-pointer at the very end — to seal the nine-point win.
Jermaine Samuels led Villanova with 20 points and five rebounds, shooting 5-of-8 from the 3-point line. Collin Gillespie added 18 points for Villanova while shooting 50% from the field. As a team, the Wildcats forced 14 turnovers and shot almost 46% from behind the arc. Their starting five, however, played nearly the entire contest without much rest — something that seemed to wear them down by the end.
Juzang led UCLA with 25 points and eight rebounds, and Jaquez finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds, shooting 50% from the field. As a duo, they accounted for more than half of the Bruins’ points. Bernard added 16 points and nine rebounds, and Campbell finished with 14 points.