WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – UCLA showed plenty of fight in its overtime win over Michigan State in a First Four game in the NCAA Tournament.
The Spartans showed some fight, too — among themselves.
After coach Tom Izzo and forward Gabe Brown carried a shouting match into halftime, the Spartans proceeded to blow an 11-point lead over the next 20 minutes. UCLA forced overtime on Jaime Jaquez Jr.'s three-point play with 3.3 seconds to go, then pulled away in the extra session for an 86-80 victory at Mackey Arena on Thursday night.
“The kids really needed this,” said Bruins coach Mick Cronin, whose team had lost four straight. “They've been battling hard. I was really concerned with their confidence being shook with what we've been through the last few weeks.”
The Bruins scored the first four points in overtime and led 83-80 when Cody Riley hit a foul shot with 26 seconds left. The Spartans' Josh Langford missed at the other end, and Jaylen Clark hit two more free throws to send the Bruins into a first-round game against No. 6 seed BYU on Saturday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Jaquez finished with a career-high 27 points, Johnny Juzang added 23, and Riley and Jules Bernard scored 11 apiece for the Bruins (20-7), who had lost to the Spartans (15-13) each of the past two seasons.
"My determination coming into this game," Jaquez said, “was just to do whatever it took to win.”
Aaron Henry led the Michigan State with 18 points, five rebounds and seven assists. Langford added 12 points and seven rebounds, though he missed a free throw in overtime and another shot in the final seconds.