Men’s basketball preps to face strong offensive opponents in Oregon State, Oregon
Freshman guard/forward Jaime Jaquez Jr. and redshirt sophomore forward/center Jalen Hill both scored 11 points during the UCLA men’s basketball’s last games. (Kanishka Mehra/Assistant Photo editor)
Thursday, 8 p.m.
No. 12 Oregon
Sunday, 2 p.m.
Jan. 23, 2020 1:41 a.m.
The Bruin defense will face two of the top-three offensive threats in the Pac-12 this weekend.
UCLA men’s basketball (9-9, 2-3 Pac-12) will head on the road for the first time in three games to face Oregon State (12-6, 2-4) on Thursday night and No. 12 Oregon (15-4, 4-2) on Sunday afternoon.
Both the Beavers and the Ducks are led by one of the conference’s top-three leading scorers.
Oregon State forward Tres Tinkle has averaged 19.7 points per game – good for second-best in the Pac-12 – shooting 48.8% from the field and 42.4% from behind the arc.
UCLA freshman guard/forward Jaime Jaquez Jr., who played a career-high 39 minutes against California on Sunday, said he has been preparing for the challenge of guarding the 6-foot-7 veteran.
“It’s going to be a challenge for sure, but I think getting in the gym this week, preparing for it, doing scouting reports and things like that are going to be a huge help for me, so I’m ready for it,” Jaquez said. “I would say just give it everything I have on defense, make him uncomfortable when he has the ball (and) try not to let him get the ball.”
Oregon State has posted an 8-1 record at home this season, and the Bruins haven’t defeated the Beavers in Corvallis since Dec. 30, 2016, when Lonzo Ball was still heading the UCLA offense.
Coach Mick Cronin said he expects Oregon State to come into Thursday’s game with extra motivation, since it is fighting for a spot in March Madness.
“They are in a year where they’re going to try to make an NCAA tournament run,” Cronin said. “We’re going to get their best shot. Any team trying to make the NCAA tournament has got to win at home, so you got to understand what’s coming.”
UCLA, on the other hand, is fresh off a win over California. The Bruins went 19-of-46 from the field in the game en route to their lowest-scoring win since 2006, and the team’s 46 field goal attempts were the fewest it had attempted in a game all season.
Redshirt freshman guard Tyger Campbell, who has scored four points in each of his last three outings, said bouncing back from three straight losses with Sunday’s win has helped the Bruins create some momentum heading into this weekend.
“Winning always helps,” Campbell said. “It’s good to get one in Pauley (Pavilion) in front of the fans, and hopefully it propels us to the next game and we can win the next game.”
Oregon is led offensively by guard Payton Pritchard, who has scored 19.5 points per game, the third-best mark in the Pac-12.
Cronin said he thinks Pritchard is one of the best guards in the nation.
“The NCAA should make (Pritchard) the poster child for college basketball – he’s everything that’s right about college basketball,” Cronin said. “If you could pick a guard in college basketball to have on your team for the NCAA tournament, I think most people would pick him.”
UCLA will be tested by Tinkle and Oregon State on Thursday at 8 p.m., followed by Pritchard’s Oregon squad Sunday at 2 p.m.