No. 2 seed UCLA (31-5, 18-2 Pac-12) advanced to their third straight Sweet 16 beating No. 7 seed Northwestern (22-12, 12-8 Big Ten), 69-63 in the second round of the NCAA Men’s Tournament on Saturday at the Golden 1 Center. The Bruins are two wins away from their 20th Final Four appearance.
The win comes after Bruins guard David Singleton went down wincing in pain. The team and fans were holding their collective breaths that his ankle wasn’t broken and he wasn’t out for the remainder of the tournament, according to UCLA.
“I knew it wasn’t that bad,” Singleton said. “I broke my foot before. I didn’t feel it pop or anything. It was just hurting at the moment. I’m fine. I’m just going to get with my trainer.”
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UCLA head coach Mick Cronin wasn’t so sure. The injury brought back bad memories for him when he was an assistant at Cincinnati and star Kenyon Martin broke his leg before the start of the tournament.
Jaime Jaquez Jr. led the Bruins in scoring with 24 points, eight rebounds and four assists; guard Amari Bailey contributed 14 points, six assists, and four rebounds; and Tyger Campbell earned 12 points, three rebounds and seven assists. Big man Adem Bona returned to play after missing the last two games with a left shoulder injury with six points and one key block in 21 minutes of play.
For the Northwestern Wildcats, Boo Buie scored 18 points with Matthew Nicholson adding 17 and Chase Audige scoring all 16 of his points in the second half.
“I wasn’t surprised the way we played in the second half because that’s what these guys have been, that’s what our team has been all year long,” coach Chris Collins said. “We have a fighter’s spirit. … I could not have been prouder of my guys.”
The Bruins will meet the No. 3 seed Gonzaga on Thursday at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.