Jaime Jaquez Jr. goes off for UCLA in blowout win over Washington State
Jaime Jaquez Jr. had himself a career night, recording a 24-point, 15-rebound double-double and helping power the ninth-ranked UCLA Bruins to a 76-52 win over Washington State.
The result pushed UCLA’s (19-4, 11-2 Pac-12) home winning streak to 21 games, the longest active streak in the country. The Bruins are 19-4 on the season now, 11-2 in Pac-12 play, and holding onto the top spot in the conference standings. It was a better performance by coach Mick Cronin’s standards than in recent outings.
UCLA lost back-to-back to Arizona and USC, and it got outscored by seven in the second half of Thursday’s win over Washington.
“I thought it was closer to playing 40 minutes with the intensity we want tonight. We needed it,” Cronin told reporters after the game.
UCLA limited the Cougars (10-15, 5-9 Pac-12) to just 31% shooting from the field and dominated the paint. It outrebounded Wazzu 40-32 and won the paint battle 36-12.
Jaquez was a key part of that. The 15 boards marked a career-high for the talented senior wing.
“It’s just being in the right position. I’ve been understanding that I’ve got to get to the weak side. … I was just trying to be in the right spot,” Jaquez said. “I said on the radio, I know rebounds are something that are crucial to the game and I know that before I started getting all these rebounds, they were telling me the big guys needed help on the rebounding. It couldn’t just be Adem (Bona). So, I’ve just been trying to put an emphasis on getting to each ball I can.”
And that, Cronin says, is what makes Jaquez such a leader for the Bruins.
“He’s got great talent. I told an NBA guy yesterday, if you want to win games, put him on your team,” Cronin said. “There’s plenty of guys like him in the NBA. He’s not going to be your best player, but your coach and teammates are going to love him because he can do whatever you need him to do. Make shots, get a tough rebound, be a team guy, display great toughness.
“You just plug him in and play if you want to win. Or you can draft guys with potential and put them in the G League, but for a team that wants to win, he’s going to be an asset.”
He is for the Bruins. And he certainly was Saturday evening.