SACRAMENTO– UCLA opened up their March Madness by crushing UNC Ashville, 86-53 on Thursday, March 16. The second-seeded Bruins (30-5) scored the first 14 points of the game and rolled from there.
Amari Bailey also had 17 points and David Singleton scored 11 as UCLA bounced back from a close loss to Arizona in the Pac-12 title game.
The 33 point smackdown was the most lopsided victory in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Jaime Jaquez Jr. scored 17 points and UCLA raced out to a fast start and never looked back.
A Hallmark of March Madness is upsets, and this year has already broken hearts and busted brackets. The NO.2 Seed Arizona Wildcats were stunned by the NO. 15 Princeton Tigers, 59-55. The NO.4 Seed Virginia Caviliers were also upset.
We don’t take losing well at UCLA,” coach Mick Cronin said. “We spell fun, W-I-N. We lost our last game. These guys took it personal. You saw how they came out tonight. Our defensive intensity and our deflections early in the game I think really rattled them. They could never really get comfortable.”
UCLA advanced to play seventh-seeded Northwestern in the second round of the West Region. The Wildcats beat Boise State 75-67 earlier in the day.
UCLA made sure this game was never in doubt, making its first five shots and taking a 14-0 lead on a 3-pointer by Singleton just 3:06 into the game.
On Friday, March 17; the NO.10 Seed USC Trojans were defeated by the Michigan State Spartans, 72-62.
UCLA faces Northwestern tomorrow at 5:40 pm.