Jaime Jaquez Jr. scored 24 points, and UCLA held off a second-half surge from Northwestern to return to the Sweet 16 with a 68-63 win Saturday night.
The second-seeded Bruins (31-5) increased defensive intensity late, limiting the seventh-seeded Wildcats to a 1-of-12 shot on a key late-game streak to seal the win. victoire.
The victory was spoiled when David Singleton fell into extreme pain with a right leg injury with 20.3 seconds left. He remained on the pitch for a few minutes before getting help from his teammates and heading straight for the locker room. There was no immediate word on the extent of the injury.
UCLA hit a third straight Sweet 16 for the first time in 15 years. The Bruins will face the winner of Sunday’s game between Gonzaga and TCU in the West Region semifinals in Las Vegas on Thursday night.
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Amari Bailey added 14 points and Tyger Campbell scored 12 for UCLA.
Boo Buie scored 18 points to lead Northwestern (22-12), Matthew Nicholson added 17 and Chase Audige scored his 16 points in the second half.
The Wildcats ended their second trip to the tournament the same way they did their first six years ago, losing in the second round.
They fought well against the more tournament-experienced Bruins and had a chance until they cooled off the court late in the game.
The key moment came in the final two minutes when Adem Bona blocked a drive from Audige, sending UCLA into transition. David Singleton hit the 3-pointer that put the Bruins up 62-56 with 1:50 left.
UCLA controlled the game early, denying almost every shot and neutralizing the high-scoring backcourt of Northwestern, Buie and Audige.
FAIRLEIGH DICKINSON’S EXPLICIT ABBREVIATION PUT THE INTERNET INTO FRENZY AFTER MARS MADNESS.
Jaquez powered a 12-2 run midway through the half to take an 11-point lead, earning a steal and a dunk, followed by another dunk in transition after a shot blocked by Kenneth Nwuba.
Buie finally scored his first field goal of the game with a drive just before the buzzer to cut UCLA’s lead to 35-25 at the break.
Audige started the second half with 14 points in the opening eight minutes after being held scoreless before the break. The Wildcats tied the game at 45 when Buie was credited with a field goal on a goalie call midway through the half.
The match remained close from there until the end.
Northwestern: The Wildcats followed their first tournament appearance with losing records for the next five seasons. Coach Chris Collins took them back to second place in the Big Ten in the regular season and is now looking to build from there.
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UCLA: Bona returned after missing the last two games with a left shoulder injury. He aggravated the injury on a second-half dunk and immediately went to the bench but came back into the game and blocked the key late. His presence will be decisive next weekend.
UCLA is two wins away from its 20th appearance in the Final Four.