No. 8 UCLA freshmen Amari Bailey and Adem Bona combined for 21 points in an 86-56 win over Norfolk State on Monday night at Pauley Pavilion, November 14, 2022. (Courtesy Photo)

The No. 8-ranked UCLA men’s basketball team cruised to an 86-56 win over Norfolk State on Monday night at Pauley Pavilion.

Junior guard Jaylen Clark led the way for UCLA with a game-high 19 points and nine rebounds on a night where the Bruins picked up their third win of the season.

UCLA (3-0) had six players finish in double-figures and made 11 of 25 shots from three-point range, while Norfolk State (2-2) made only 2 of 14 attempts from long range.  The Bruins shot 57 percent overall from the floor and forced 13 turnovers.

“We were able to turn up the heat, more and more, defensively. We were really efficient on offense tonight. I wasn’t happy about our passing, or the lack thereof, or shot selection in the Long Beach game,” UCLA coach Mick Cronin said.

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Clark made a game-high five threes to go along with two steals and one block and will be highly counted this year as the Bruins look to make another deep run in March.

“He’s worked really hard, he really has,” said Cronin on Clarks shooting improvements. “Again, we believe in player development. Tyger was not a shooter, now he is. Jaylen Clark was not a shooter, now he is. You’re talking about two guys who had to make fundamental adjustments to the way they shoot the ball, and listen to the coaches and believe in their coaches. We had to reconstruct Jaylen’s shot from the time he got here.”

“I feel like half of it is confidence, but the real answer is just work,” said Clark, who is averaging a career-high 17.3 points through three games for UCLA. “I’m shooting every day, getting up 700 shots on the gun. Just seeing the ball go through the hoop over time gives me confidence.”

Senior forward Jaime Jaquez Jr. finished with 12 points, senior guard Tyger Campbell added 11 points and seven assists. Freshman guard Amari Bailey had 11 points to go along with five assists and freshman center Adem Bona added 10 points, five rebounds and two blocked shots.

“We have five freshmen who played tonight, and those guys are the key to our future,” Cronin said.

Senior forward Kris Bankston led Norfolk State with 17 points and nine rebounds while sophomore guard Caheim Brown added 13 points and was the only other player to finish in double figures for the Spartans.

UCLA led 47-32 after back-to-back three-pointers from David Singleton and Clark with 3:42 left in the first half. Singleton, the fifth-year senior guard finished with 11 points off the bench for UCLA.

The Bruins started the second half on a 7-0 run, leading 53-33 less than three minutes into the half after another Clark three, followed by back-to-back baskets by Jaquez Jr.

“It helps when I’m playing with people like Jaime (Jaquez Jr.) and Tyger who get double teamed consistently because I’m getting free looks off,” Clark said.

UCLA led by as many as 34 with less than six minutes remaining in the second half and went on to capture a dominating 86-56 win on Monday night.

“It’s always fun when the team is starting to go on a run and you’re starting to break open a lead, so that was a great turning point in the game,” Bailey said.

The Bruins will next travel to Las Vegas on Friday for the Continental Tire Main Event at T-Mobile Arena. UCLA will face No. 19 Illinois on Nov. 18 at 6:30 p.m.