UCLA men’s basketball defeats Arizona State in overtime victory
Redshirt junior forward Cody Riley finished the night with 22 points and 13 rebounds – both team highs – as UCLA men’s basketball won its first Pac-12 road game of the 2020-2021 season. (David Rimer/Daily Bruin staff)
By Sam Connon
Jan. 7, 2021 10:19 p.m.
This post was updated Jan. 7 at 11:03 p.m.
Cody Riley turned it on in overtime.
The redshirt junior forward already put up a 14-point, 11-rebound double-double in regulation, but his 8 points and two blocks in the extra period led the Bruins and helped them escape Tempe with the win.
“We ran the offense,” Riley said. “I had the advantage in the post, and my teammates just got me the ball in the right spot, and I was fortunate enough to finish the plays.”
The 81-75 victory for UCLA men’s basketball (8-2, 4-0 Pac-12) over Arizona State (4-4, 1-1) didn’t look like it was going to go to overtime – the Sun Devils were missing two starters and two bench players and the Bruins led by 5 points with 3:15 to play.
That’s when both teams fell silent though, as they combined for 6 points before the buzzer sounded.
The Bruins had a chance to put it away when redshirt sophomore guard Tyger Campbell went to the line in the final seconds, but as has been the case with their last few games, things weren’t going to be that simple.
Campbell went 1-of-2 at the charity stripe to put UCLA up 65-63, and Arizona State guard Alonzo Verge Jr. tied it up by hitting both of his free throws at the other end. Campbell had the ball with an open lane and a chance to hit a game winner with time expiring, but he opted for an alley-oop pass to redshirt junior forward Jalen Hill that ended up sailing out of bounds.
It was the Bruins’ 18th turnover of the night – a season high. It was also their last, even with the extra five minutes of play.
“I’m a stickler for taking care of the ball,” said coach Mick Cronin. “My dad taught me that. I wish I knew why we started taking care of the ball in the overtime. If we had tried that the whole game, I don’t think we would have been in overtime.”
After the Sun Devils opened the overtime scoring with a 2-point jumper by Verge, the Bruins staged a 12-2 run to put things away. Six of those points came courtesy of Riley – highlighted by an and-1 that also fouled Sun Devil big man Chris Osten out of the game – and the other six came off two 3-pointers by junior guard David Singleton.
“(Singleton)’s our best shooter right now, (and) the numbers bear it out,” Cronin said. “He’ll run through a wall for you, so (I’m) really, really happy for David – hopefully he can keep it up.”
Singleton shot 4-of-6 from deep in the game, and his 14 points only trailed Riley’s career-high 22 on the Bruins.
A few layups and free throws later, UCLA came away with the 6-point win, which was its largest margin of victory since Dec. 11 against Marquette.
Neither team led by more than 8 points the entire night, despite Arizona State going through an 0-of-12 stretch in the opening period and not hitting a 2-pointer for the first 14:30 of the game. The Sun Devils shot 29% from the field in the first half, but still led the Bruins by two going into the break.
Arizona State’s co-leading scorer Remy Martin was absent Thursday night, missing the game to attend his grandfather’s funeral, meaning there were more shots to go around for Verge and guard Josh Christopher. The two combined for 46 field goal attempts and 47 points, and Singleton said he knew the duo was going to be difficult to keep up with from the opening tip.
“We kind of knew that they would have to make some plays in order for them to win,” Singleton said. “It wasn’t exhausting. We just have to be aware at all times because they can really get to the rim, and they’re really great players.”
Christopher led all scorers with 10 points at the half, scoring eight of the Sun Devils’ last 12 in the period.
An inability to pull away in the first 20 minutes didn’t end up costing UCLA the game, however, as it ended up winning its third in a row and holding on to the top spot in the Pac-12.
Arizona is next up on the slate for UCLA, with the two blue bloods set to tip off at 6 p.m. on Saturday.