March Madness: UCLA holds back fight to beat Northwestern 68-63

UCLA holds back fighting back in the second half to beat Northwestern 68-63, with Jaime Jaquez Jr. Scores 24 points to keep March Madness alive

Jaime Jaquez Jr. scored 24 points and UCLA withstood a push from Northwestern in the second half to return to the Sweet 16 with a 68-63 victory on Saturday night.

The second-seeded Bruins (31-5) turned up the defensive intensity late and held the seventh-seeded Wildcats 1-for-12 during a key play late in the game to seal the win.

The win was marred when David Singleton went down in extreme pain with a right leg injury with 20.3 seconds left.

He remained on the field for a few minutes before being helped by teammates and headed 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 play against the winner of Sunday’s game between Gonzaga and TCU in the West Region Semifinals in Las Vegas on Thursday night.

Jaime Jaquez Jr. led UCLA to victory by 24 points in their 68-63 victory over Northwestern

UCLA held back a second half Northwestern fightback to keep the March Madness run alive

UCLA held back a second half Northwestern fightback to keep the March Madness run alive

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 all of his 16 points in the second half.

The Wildcats ended their second trip to the tournament the same way they did the first six years ago, losing in the second round.

They battled well against the more tournament-tested Bruins and had a chance until coming off the field cold 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 to play.

UCLA controlled the game early on, fighting nearly every shot and neutralizing the high-scoring backcourt of Northwestern, Buie and Audige.

Jaquez powered up a 12-2 run midway through the half to build an 11-point lead, getting a steal and dunk followed by another dunk in transition on a blocked shot from Kenneth Nwuba.

Buie finally made his first basket of the game with a ride just before the buzzer to cut UCLA’s lead to 35–25 at halftime.

Audige got going in the second half with 14 points in the first eight minutes after being held scoreless before the break. The Wildcats tied the score at 45 when Buie got a basket midway through the half on a goaltending call. From that moment on, the match remained exciting until the very end.


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