LOS ANGELES — The sand out of their toes and some of the egg washed from their face, UCLA returned home from the Hawaiian Islands to clean up on San Jose State on Sunday.
Freshman Jaime Jaquez Jr. scored a career-high 18 points in his second start as the Bruins returned home from a disappointing trip to Maui to earn a 93-64 victory Sunday night over the Spartans.
Jalen Hill also scored 18 points and grabbed 11 rebounds and Chris Smith added 14 points as the Bruins shot 52% from the field, including 63% percent in the first half as they began to distance themselves from a 1-2 showing at the Maui Invitational last week.
Yet for all the positives that came from a victory over a Mountain West Conference team Sunday, there is still more work to be done for the Bruins to become the kind of defensive team new head coach Mick Cronin is looking for.
“I think we’re really far,” Smith said when asked if the defense is close to a finished product. “We’re not even playing the defense that he’s known for at the moment. The biggest thing is talking on defense (and) we don’t do much of that at the moment. We just gotta get in a groove, get more comfortable and we gotta talk more and then I think we’ll start progressing towards what he wants.”
Zach Chappell scored 12 points for San Jose State (3-5), which lost its third consecutive game. The Spartans shot just 35% from the field and committed 20 turnovers. Yet, the Bruins did see flashes of what they are looking for when they didn’t have the ball.
“I think (forcing turnovers) gave us a little bit of a boost, you know, knowing we could get up into passing lanes and run the floor and get out and get dunks and layups,” Jaquez said.
UCLA opened an 18-7 lead just five minutes into the game and was never threatened. The Bruins scored 18 of the final 25 first-half points to take a 46-29 lead into the break.
The easy victory gave the Bruins the chance to use 14 players, with 12 of them scoring at least one point. Prince Ali finished 10 points.
Jaquez went 7 of 10 from the field with all three misses coming from 3-point range. He continues to get rave reviews for bringing the kind of energy to the floor that Cronin requires.
“(Maui) helped my comfort level a lot, you know, being able to play on such a big stage against really high-level teams and it made me feel a lot more comfortable,” Jaquez said. “Obviously these guys are helping me through it all. So it’s just a process of getting better every single day.”
UCLA had a 42-33 rebounding advantage and held San Jose State to nine second-chance points.
“They were just more athletic,” San Jose State head coach Jean Prioleau said. “We just couldn’t make some of those short shots. After we drove and kicked and made the pass, we had the ball in the right position but just couldn’t make it. I thought we made some plays.”
Omari Moore and Seneca Knight each had 11 points and Richard Washington scored 10 for San Jose State, which shot just 31% in the second half and went 2 of 9 from 3-point range over the final 20 minutes.
“As a team we turned the ball over too much,” Chappell said. “What we did do well is once we made the pass and concentrated on coming to the pass I thought we did a good job as a team. But 20 turnovers … we have to correct that.”
It was UCLA’s largest margin of victory this season, ahead of their 25-point victory over Chaminade on Tuesday.
“We’ve got to become a team that can stop somebody because we’re not going to get 93 (every game),” Cronin said. “It would be nice to get 93 every night, I’d be all for it, (but) I don’t know how realistic that is."
STANFORD 72, UNC WILMINGTON 54
STANFORD, Calif. — An errant elbow to the head forced Stanford's Oscar da Silva out of the game for a few minutes in the second half. It was about the only thing that slowed down the Cardinal's playmaking big man.
Da Silva scored a career-high 26 points, and Stanford bounced back from its only loss this season and beat UNC Wilmington on Sunday.
"Our game plan offensively is to play with pace, get to multiple sides of the floor and then attack them from the inside out. One of the best ways we have at our disposal is throwing it to Oscar," Stanford coach Jerod Haase said. "He's making a lot of good decisons in there. As long as he’s not turning the ball over, good things are going to tend to happen."
Da Silva shot 11 of 14 and had five rebounds despite getting hurt early in the second half. He played the rest of the game with a thick, white bandage covered by a headband wrapped around his head after getting hit in the head by UNC Wilmington’s Shykeim Phillips in the key while attempting a shot.
“I was just in the paint and did the pump fake and somebody hit me with an elbow maybe or something,” da Silva said. “I got a little bump. Didn’t really hurt so I came back in.”
Spencer Jones added 17 points and set a career high with five 3-pointers for Stanford (8-1). The Cardinal is off to its best start since 2011 when they won 10 of their first 11.
Da Silva has been at the center of Stanford’s success and credits the team’s perimeter shooting for opening things up on the inside.
“I love that mid-post area and then we have great shooters,” da Silva said. “It’s a very good combination of different styles of individual skills that come together really nicely for us.”
Marten Linssen and Jaylen Sims scored 12 points apiece for UNC Wilmington (5-5). The Seahawks haven’t beaten a Pac-12 team since 2006.
Stanford led by 25 and never trailed.
“We were trying to double da Silva, but sometimes he makes too quick a move,” Seahawks coach C.B. McGrath said. “When we did double him a couple times, they did a nice job of being unselfish, making an extra pass and getting a wide-open look. You've got to pick your poison. We knew he'd be a tough matchup; we tried to adjust, but it just didn't work out for us.”
The Cardinal bounced back after losing to Butler, 68-67, in the championship game of the Hall of Fame Classic on Tuesday.
Stanford led by 19 in the first half behind da Silva’s work on the interior and Jones’ perimeter shooting. Jones made four of his 3s before halftime as the Cardinal went up 38-19.
It was the second game in two seasons between the two teams. The Cardinal beat the Seahawks 72-59 in Wilmington last year.
OREGON STATE 81, PORTLAND STATE 76
CORVALLIS, Ore. — Oregon State extended its winning streak to five games with a victory over Portland State on Sunday, but the victory did not come easy.
The Beavers (7-1) squandered most of a 19-point second-half lead before holding on against upset-minded Portland State (3-5) from the Big Sky Conference.
Tres Tinkle had 26 points, nine rebounds and seven assists to lead Oregon State. Ethan Thompson had 18 points and Zach Reichle scored a career-high 16 for the Beavers, who have defeated Portland State in all 14 matchups between the schools.
“Give them a ton of credit, they played their tails off,” Oregon State coach Wayne Tinkle said of Portland State. “And then shame on us for not being tougher mentally and physically.”
Holland Woods, who was limited in the first half with foul trouble, scored 18 of his 23 points in the second half for Portland State.
Oregon State scored the first seven points of the second half — a 3-pointer by Tinkle and two Reichle layups — to take its biggest lead at 48-34.
The lead grew to as many as 19 points after Thompson’s field goal at the 12:32 mark, but Portland State rallied and made things interesting down the stretch. Oregon State struggled against the Vikings’ full-court pressure.
Portland State closed to 80-76 on Woods’ jumper with 20 seconds left, but Oregon State’s Gianni Hunt made the first of two free throws with 13 seconds remaining to close the scoring. Matt Hauser and Woods missed 3-pointers in the final seconds for the Vikings.
“We’re talented as well. We’re not about moral victories,” said Woods, an all-Big Sky selection last season who is averaging 19.5 points per game. “But we definitely showed what we can do."
Kylor Kelley, the Beavers’ 7-foot senior post, scored just two points, but blocked six shots. He is third nationally in blocked shots.
Despite giving up considerable size, the Vikings had a 39-32 rebounding edge and a glaring 17-5 advantage in offensive boards.
“We were able to pull together enough to pull out the win,” said Tres Tinkle, an all-Pac-12 selection last season who made 5-of-7 3-pointers. “I think it’s gonna be a good thing for us looking back, making sure we take care of the ball and finishing plays. Doing all those little things in crunch time that’s gonna help us win games.”
Oregon State shot 55.6 percent from the field compared to 40 percent for Portland State.
The Beavers led 41-34 at the break.
Oregon State and Portland State played the same teams in their previous three games: UC Santa Barbara, Grambling State and San Jose State.
Several former Oregon State hoop standouts were in attendance including 1981 consensus All-American Steve Johnson, who is the second-leading scorer in school history behind Gary Payton.
USC 77, HARVARD 62
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Onyeka Okongwu had 27 points and 14 rebounds as Southern Cal defeated Harvard for third place Sunday night at the Orlando Invitational.
The freshman forward, who shot 12 of 14, had 21 first-half points to help the Trojans go up 52-43. He scored 53 points and grabbed 28 rebounds during the three-game event.
Jonah Mathews and Quinton Adlesh both added 12 points for USC (7-2), which used its size to take control during a second half where the Trojans took a 25-point advantage with nine minutes left.
Noah Kirkwood had 12 points for Harvard (5-4). Bryce Aiken, who averaged 22.5 points over the first two games of the tournament, had 10.
USC shot 49.2% (30 of 61) and outscored Harvard 36-20 in the paint.
Harvard was 21-57 (36.8%) from the floor and was outrebounded 42-28.