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UCLA Basketball News Roundup: How Far Can Hands “Propel” the Bruins?

Jaylen Hands last-minute three leads UCLA to a 93-88 Overtime Win over Southern Cal

NCAA Basketball: Southern California at UCLA
UCLA has another dramatic win, this time in OT over Southern Cal
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The beat writers all agree that Jaylen Hands “propelled” the UCLA Bruins to win in overtime over the Southern Cal Trojans . Ben Bolch, Thuc Nhi Ngyuen and the Associated Press all use the world “propel” in their headlines. First, let’s let Murry Bartow describe the play that lead to the Jaylen Hand’s shot that won the game in overtime:

on play call with five seconds left on shot clock in overtime

“Well, it wasn’t that. It looked good, though, going in. It was something I drew up at the timeout. First look was going to be Moses (Brown) around the rim and then we had Kris Wilkes coming to the ball, side wing. And then the third option out of that was Hands popping to the top. Again, ball went to Kris Wilkes, fortunately went to Jaylen Hands and that spot right there’s been pretty darn good to him the last two games. He made seven 3s the other night, five 3s tonight.

Bolch spends almost his entire story talking about the Hands’ shot:

Hands, the third choice, initially looked like he was not going to be involved in the play. Wilkes took the inbounds pass and looked to drive as Hands retreated well beyond the three-point line.

But as Wilkes took three dribbles on the perimeter, he found himself sandwiched between two Trojans defenders. He fired a pass to Hands, who caught the ball above his head and immediately launched it toward the basket from about 30 feet out over the outstretched arms of a leaping Jonah Mathews.

As the ball fell through the net, the Bruins’ plans had gone perfectly awry. . . .

Hands hopped in glee as he celebrated the three-pointer with 21 seconds left that secured UCLA’s 93-88 victory before its first sellout crowd of the season, having become the most unlikely of heroes.

While I can’t say I feel for a “trogan”, I will quote Jonah Matthews:

on Jaylen Hands’ 3-point shot

“I just said to myself, ‘Are you serious?’, but that happens.”

On the actual game, the Daily Bruin’s Ryan Smith points out it was a game of runs:

In a game that saw the lead change hands 15 times and the score tied on 12 different occasions, the Bruins managed to fend off each and every one of the Trojans’ attempts to steal the game. . . .

UCLA recovered from a 10-point first-half deficit to take a three-point lead into the half thanks to a 12-0 run midway through the period fueled by sophomore guard Kris Wilkes. However, after they had built up a nine-point advantage eight minutes into the second half, USC made a push of its own.

The Trojans scored 17 of the game’s next 25 points to retake the lead with six and a half minutes remaining. The two teams traded baskets for the rest of regulation, but the contest ended up in overtime after USC forward Bennie Boatwright missed a 3-point attempt at the buzzer.

The Bruins struck for the first five points of the extra period, but didn’t ice the game until sophomore guard Jaylen Hands knocked down a 3-pointer from NBA range as the shot clock expired with 21 seconds remaining in overtime.

Thuc Nhi Nyguen puts Hands’ shot in perspective for Southern Cal and UCLA:

UCLA (16-13, 9-7 Pac-12) has won three straight, including four of the past five while the Trojans (15-14, 8-8 Pac-12) dropped their second straight.

Of UCLA’s past four wins, three have been decided in overtime or by one point. The other required a 19-point comeback.

While the Bruins have thrived in tight games late in the season, the last three losses for USC have each been by five points or fewer. . . .

The rivals entered the game in a tie for fifth place in the conference. The Bruins, who outscored the Trojans 11-6 in overtime when UCLA never trailed, moved within a half-game of fourth place in the Pac-12 standings with just two regular-season games remaining. They trail Utah for the final first-round bye position in the Pac-12 Tournament. UCLA will face the Utes in the regular-season finale on March 9 in Salt Lake City.

Can this team keep their close winning ways going? Can this deep UCLA team win the Pac-12 tournament? Murry Bartow gets the last word:

There’s been a lot of questions about leadership, there’s been a lot of questions about resilience, there’s been a lot of questions about toughness, there’s been a lot of questions about a lot of different areas. I don’t know what more these guys can do to respond to all that. We go to Cal and we win in overtime. We’re down 19 the other night (against Oregon), we come back and win. Down tonight, kind of looks cloudy there and we win in overtime. There is a connection with this team. We don’t have maybe that one true guy, but there is a real—I see it at timeouts, I see it in the locker room—they’re pretty connected right now. Right now, we’ve won three in a row, four of our last five.

Go Bruins! Thanks for beating Southern Cal, again.