LOS ANGELES — David Singleton pumped his fists within the air. Jaime Jaquez Jr. ran and embraced Chris Smith in a large hug as the group round them erupted in applause.

Smith scored a career-high 30 points and grabbed 9 rebounds as UCLA defeated No. 20 Colorado 72-68 on Thursday night time at Pauley Pavilion. The Bruins acquired a standing ovation on the remaining buzzer following their greatest victory of the season and Mick Cronin’s first victory over a ranked opponent as UCLA’s head coach.

“Oregon was a tough recreation,” Smith stated, referencing final weekend’s 96-75 blowout loss in Eugene. “Tonight was positively a confidence booster. It reveals us and everybody else that we will grasp with a number of the finest. We bought a extremely massive win.”

Smith, who shot Eight for 16 from the sphere, scored 13 of his 16 second-half points from the foul line as Colorado tried to gradual him down.

“He’s such an excellent free-throw shooter that we labored laborious with him in drawing fouls and that actually made a distinction on this recreation,” Cornin stated.

Jaime Jaquez Jr. added 13 points and 7 rebounds, and Prince Ali had 11 points and 5 rebounds for the Bruins (11-10, 4-4), who led by 15 points early within the second half and held off Colorado’s repeated runs that lower the Bruins’ result in two points.

On an evening once they had simply eight assists, Cronin was most impressed by his workforce’s capability to remain collectively.

“I assumed we did a significantly better job of our camaraderie and taking part in collectively,” he stated. “We’ve got good guys, nevertheless it’s laborious to play collectively whenever you haven’t been via powerful instances collectively. … We’ve been going via a bonding expertise all yr with these guys the place they notice their fates are on one another and that no person goes to really feel sorry for us.”

Cronin stated he was happy with Ali’s perspective in follow this week after being faraway from the beginning lineup final week and thought that made a distinction in his efficiency in opposition to Colorado.

“We had a chat,” Cronin stated after Ali made a trio of 3-pointers within the win. “Him and Alex (Olesinski) are nice youngsters, however we want them to assist us win some video games. I used to be simply actually completely satisfied that he made these pictures. Clearly, when the ball goes in it helps the coach’s blood stress.”

McKinley Wright IV scored 11 of his 14 points within the second half and Evan Battey added 14 points for the Buffaloes (16-5, 5-3), who noticed their two-game profitable streak finish. Wright scored seven of their remaining 11 points.

“UCLA simply out-toughed us,” Colorado coach Tad Boyle stated. “This workforce actually has coronary heart, however the final two video games we bought punked.”

Colorado ran off 12 straight points early within the second half to shut to 42-39. Smith got here up with essential baskets when the Buffs twice bought inside three points.

The Buffs used full-court stress within the final couple of minutes once they had been down 11. Wright bought fouled on two straight possessions and made 4 free throws to go away Colorado trailing by 5. With 50 seconds left, Wright stepped out of bounds on the baseline, turning the ball over.

UCLA’s Jalen Hill and Cody Riley each fouled out within the remaining three minutes of the sport. After making their first 20 free-throw makes an attempt, the Bruins missed 4 of their subsequent 5 within the recreation’s remaining minute.

“I simply knew I hadn’t missed a free throw, then I smoked two in a row,” Smith stated.

Wright’s 3-pointer lower UCLA’s result in 4 points.

However Smith restored order, making two free throws with 14 seconds left that stored the Bruins forward 70-64. Smith’s 9 rebounds helped the Bruins personal a 39-29 edge on the boards (20-10 within the first half), in opposition to the convention’s second-ranked rebounding workforce.

“This reveals that UCLA was more durable,” Boyle stated. “If you lose the rebounding recreation, it’s powerful to win.”

The Bruins managed the primary half once they shot 45 % from the ground and led 39-27, receiving their first standing ovation of the night time as they headed to the locker room for the intermission. They had been higher on the boards, within the paint and off the bench in placing collectively runs of 14-Zero and 9-0. The Buffs had been held with no discipline aim over the ultimate 4½ minutes of the primary half once they made simply 4 free throws, and UCLA pressured three shot-clock violation turnovers earlier than halftime.

The Bruins beat a ranked workforce for the primary time in three tries this season, which ought to bolster their confidence heading to the Arizona desert subsequent week. Along with the loss to No. 12 Oregon final week, they misplaced by 13 to then-No. Three Michigan State in November in Hawaii.

HONORING KOBE

There was a second of silence earlier than the sport to honor Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and the seven others who died in a helicopter crash final weekend. The general public tackle announcer famous that Bryant was a pal to the UCLA males’s and ladies’s basketball applications. He and Gianna had attended video games lately.

UP NEXT

UCLA hosts Utah (12-8, 3-5) on Sunday at midday within the first of 5 residence video games in February. The Utes misplaced to USC 56-52 on Thursday night time on the Galen Heart.

The Related Press contributed to this story.