The second-seeded UCLA Bruins (30-5, 18-2 Pac-12) proved they were too much for the 15th-seeded UNC Asheville Bulldogs, beating them in the first round of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Tournament, 86-53. The Bruins did not have to travel far for the comfortable first-round win at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento, scoring the game’s first 14 points. The Bruins never looked back.
The Bruins entered the game “primed and ready to go,” according to TNT’s Ernie Johnson. And he was right; the Bruins went into the locker room up 46-25 at the half, with 22 of their points coming off turnovers. The win moves the Bruins to second-round action on Saturday against the seventh-seeded Northwestern.
Student Athlete of the Week: Jadyn Harris
Black Athletes Who Were Trailblazers in the NHL
UCLA’s Jaime Jaquez, Jr., led Bruin’s scoring with 17 points, eight rebounds, and five steals. Guard Amari Bailey followed with 17 points, seven assists, and four rebounds. Kenneth Nwuba, a fifth-year Senior, starting for the injured Adem Bona, dominated in low post play with 10 points, four rebounds, and two blocks, and David Singleton finished his night with 11 points, two rebounds, and three assists.
“It doesn’t surprise me because we lost our last game, and we don’t take losing lightly,” UCLA coach Mick Cronin said, adding that Jaquez was as upset as he had ever seen him after the setback against Arizona. “We play to win at UCLA. It’s not OK to lose.”
The 15th-seeded Bulldogs (27-8) were led by Drew Pember, 13 points, three rebounds, two assists, and two blocks, followed by Tajion Jones, 11 points, three rebounds, and two assists. Alex Caldwell contributed 11 points, one block, and one steal.
The Bruins were determined not to suffer the same fate as fellow Pac-12 team, No. 2 Arizona, who lost to No. 15 Princeton, 59-55 on the same court a few hours earlier. In another upset, No. 13 Furman University knocked off No. 4 Virginia, 68-67.
UCLA will face No. 7 seed Northwestern in the round of 32 back in Sacramento on Saturday at 5:40 p.m. PST on TNT.