UCLA basketball coach Mick Cronin, players detail turnaround victory against Colorado – 247Sports
Despite a poor first-half effort, UCLA extended its winning streak to 13 games Saturday with a 68-54 win against Colorado. The Bruins were solid defensively for all 40 minutes, but they struggled to generate any offense until near the end of the game. That included misses on all seven of their initial 3-point attempts.
Things started to heat up in the second half, though. Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Jaylen Clark combined to score 41 of UCLA’s 68 total points.
“That’s why we got down nine, we were pouting because the ball wasn’t going in,” Cronin said. “When we stopped worrying about that, we started getting stops and rebounding. Eventually the ball is going to go in. I told them at halftime, I’d rather the ball goes in in the second half.”
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Here is what Cronin, Jaquez, Clark and Adem Bona had to say about the win against Colorado:
“We were able to set up the press once the ball started going in. I don’t know what the run was, but we went from down-six to up-six pretty quick. You have to keep battling, regardless of if things go your way. You have to make them go your way, which I thought we did tonight. So really proud of tonight’s win, really proud of tonight’s win. Win by 14, hold a team to 54 points, force 23 turnovers, and just totally took a game that could have gone the other way and our players refused to let it happen. Give them all the credit, they showed great fortitude.”
“What happens when things aren’t going your way on offense, sometimes your mind wanders and you start feeling sorry for yourself, or you try and do too much on defense. We were fouling too much. It’s like I told them in a timeout, I don’t need heroes, I need soldiers. Soldiers win wars, heroes get people in trouble. They get you in trouble in sports. You have to be a solider and do your job. Keep doing your job, eventually the worm turns, and if it doesn’t you have to still do your job, play the right way and you’ll win the next one. You can’t get out of character and panicking. I thought we did that a little bit, we did that a lot actually, that’s why we were losing. We put them on the foul line, they had 20 made free throws, we don’t give up that many free throws.”
“Our veterans are great guys, our freshmen that are playing have great attitudes. People follow the leadership of the team, when Jaime and Tyger and Dave, Jaylen Clark, they’re such winners, it sends a message to your younger guys. When you’re a coach, you know when you have that, it makes your life easier. You know when you have it, you know when you don’t. You have a guy like Adem, he starts for us, and all he cares about is winning, it’s unbelievable. One of the best attitudes of any kid I’ve ever coached.”
“Seventeen deflections, 13 rebounds. I know he can score. He has to keep his confidence and shoot the ball when he’s on balance. Because Jaime puts in the gym time, he’s as dedicated a player to being a professional … his maturity level, it’s what happens when you stay in school. Jaime goes to a winning team in the NBA next year, he’ll be able to play for a winning team in a role because he’s ready now. He has professional habits, maturity, the way he can pay attention and show up everyday, where young guys in the NBA, nowadays they take these kids when they’re 18, 19 and wonder why they struggle. Jaime, he’s a professional in every aspect.”
“I mean, eventually, it has to go. If it doesn’t, you’re probably not going to win. I think the first one might have gone in and out three times before it dropped. I’m over there saying don’t worry about it, just rebound it, but it starts to demoralize your team. When you’re at home and that happens, the kids can feel the crowd and it makes it harder on the next one and the next one. You get a couple to go down, it changes things. The next guy is more relaxed shooting.”
JAQUEZ ON DEFENSE LEADING TO EXTRA OPPORTUNITIES
“As you guys see around college basketball, high-ranked teams are dropping like flies nowadays. Guys lose games, and you guys don’t think they’re going to lose — college basketball is really the greatest sport there is. We just harp on this defense all the time. Like coach said earlier, ‘One can play defense if you give yourself the chance.’ And that’s what we try to do every single night.”
“Sometimes your shot doesn’t always go in. (When) you shoot 50%, you shoot a good shooting percentage, but you still miss half your shots. We just attribute it all to defense. Like we said earlier in the year, if you play defense, you give yourself a chance. We are giving ourselves a lot of chances.”
ON WHAT THE TEAM SAYS TO EACH OTHER WHEN SHOTS AREN’T FALLING
“I just remember saying in the huddle that eventually they were going to fall. They were in and out on every shot. Once I saw they were all going in and out and they weren’t just bricks, I knew that we were going to be fine. If we stopped them from scoring because we weren’t scoring, then our shots were eventually going to fall.”
“I’m not going to lie to you, I wasn’t even counting. It was mad loud and everybody was jumping and screaming. … I didn’t know we hadn’t hit one. I don’t count it.”
ON IF THE 13-GAME WIN STREAK ADDS PRESSURE
“I’m not going to lie to you, I didn’t even know that existed. We’ve got to go win another one and go ahead and keep chugging along to put ourselves in the best position for March. We don’t look at Pac-12 rankings. All of that doesn’t mean too much to us. We’re just focused on who’s ahead of us.”
“I just knew it was going to come in. I fell into my old habits and made some silly fouls. I just knew I had to stay grounded and keep my head up and play harder. I did my part. Box out, get rebounds, set the screens, and was able to fall into place.”
ON HIS BREAKOUT THIS SEASON
“I’m going to give thanks to my teammates and coach. It wasn’t just me. Coming from high school, I was there for two years. It’s a different ball game. I came in. I started slow. My teammates were there supporting me the whole time. My coaches were there. They try to get me to do the right stuff. The upperclassmen showed me the things I need to know. I just apply what I learned from them.”
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