The Bruins led for two seconds and that was all that was needed to take down the Sun Devils 80-79.
“The only thing that matters on the stat sheet is the final score,” said UCLA Head Coach Mick Cronin.
Pauley Pavilion hosted the Saturday night Pac-12 showdown between the visiting Arizona State Sun Devils and the UCLA Bruins.
Both teams entered the contest depleting health concerns.
Freshman Marcus Bagley was in street clothes with an ankle injury along with Palmdale native Josh Christopher out with a back injury for the Sun Devils.
The Bruins lost their 6’9 senior Chris Smith to a season ending ACL injury.
The Sun Devils came out in the first half with intensity and high energy. Remy Martin netted 17 points in the first half giving Arizona State a 41-34 lead after 20 minutes of play heading into halftime.
Martin is a pure scorer and the Bruins know all about him. Last year on February 27th Martin scored 30 points on the Bruins. UCLA defeated ASU earlier this season on January 7th. The Sun Devils were without Martin and lost in overtime 81-75.
No Bruins eclipsed double digits in the first half and Mick Cronin’s team committed 9 turnovers leading to 10 Sun Devil points in the half.
Every haymaker the Bruins threw at the Sun Devils was promptly answered by Martin and company. UCLA’s perfect 7-0 home record in Pac-12 play was drastically in jeopardy.
Mac Etienne was the solid sense of consistency the Bruins needed to cut the lead.
Etienne presented a strong presence in the paint and finished the game 3-for-3 as well as going 3-for-3 at the free throw line scoring nine big points.
“Mac’s stretch during the second half is the reason we won the game,” said Cronin. “He did a great job down the stretch with his pick and roll defense.”
Kimani Lawrence temporarily silenced the Bruins, halting all momentum with a poster-and-1 dunk extending the lead to 77-70 with 3:57 left in regulation.
The Bruins made sure it was a temporary shift in momentum, storming back to tie the game at 79 a piece with 39 seconds in regulation on a pair of Tyger Campbell free throws.
Freshman Jaylen Clark stepped up to the free throw line with 1.4 left to play in regulation, missing the first freebie but nailing the second to give the Bruins their first lead of the game and the win, 80-79.
“We know [Jaylen Clark] is confident,” said Tyger Campbell. “After he missed the first one we knew the second one was in.”
After not having one single player in double digits during the first half, the Bruins had four players finish the game in double figures to the Sun Devils three.
Saturday’s comeback victory gave Mick Cronin his 400th career win as a NCAA Head Coach.
Arizona State’s Remy Martin led all scorers finishing with 25 points while UCLA’s Cody Riley helped power the Bruins to a victory with 17 points in a mere 19 minutes due to foul trouble.
Tied with USC for first in the Pac-12, the Bruins will travel to Utah on Thursday to take on the Utes as their quest to win the Pac-12 continues.