No. 2 UCLA defeats Bellarmine in tuneup before Final Four rematch with Gonzaga
It didn’t console coach Mick Cronin that his second-ranked Bruins persevered for a 75-62 victory over Bellarmine on Monday night at T-Mobile Arena in the Good Sam Empire Classic given their across-the-board deficiencies.
“To me, this is a loss,” said Cronin, whose Bruins (5-0) will face top-ranked Gonzaga on Tuesday. “The things that I care about — hustle, attitude, effort, execution, things that will get you wins when they really count — to me Bellarmine won in every category.”
Cronin benched starters Johnny Juzang and Jules Bernard to start the second half in favor of Peyton Watson and David Singleton, who carried the team for much of the game. Watson, the freshman guard who entered the game with 13 points in his career, scored 19 points on nine-for-12 shooting in only 19 minutes, showcasing the talent that’s expected to make him an NBA lottery pick while continuing to get more comfortable at the college level.
Battling cancer, Dick Vitale is back for UCLA-Gonzaga, and it’s awesome, baby!
LAS VEGAS — As the cadence of his voice careens through T-Mobile Arena and into the homes of millions of television viewers, Dick Vitale gushing about diaper dandies and PTPers as only he can, the veteran college basketball analyst will energize someone new after all these years.
It’s gonna be awesome, baby, when the 82-year-old known for a thick glossary of catchphrases gets to push aside his recent cancer diagnosis for several hours to call what might be the biggest game of the regular season. Only a few days after having a fourth round of drugs pumped into his body to fight lymphoma, Vitale will be courtside Tuesday night in Las Vegas for the ESPN broadcast of No. 1 Gonzaga versus No. 2 UCLA, providing the sort of jolt no treatment center can match.
“It’s great medicine, right?” Vitale said earlier this week during a telephone interview. “And that’s how the doctors feel too. They told me, ‘All the tests about how you are — your EKG, your heart, your organs, they’re all great, so there’s no reason why you cannot go on and live your life, be active and let us worry about chemo and let us worry about the cancer. You do what you normally do at 82 — enjoy yourself.’ ”
Eight decades of Bruins standouts look back at UCLA-Gonzaga Final Four thriller
At the end of its pulsating NCAA tournament run last spring, UCLA remained unrelenting, pushing unbeaten Gonzaga so hard in the Final Four that 40 minutes of basketball weren’t enough to decide which team was moving on to the national championship game.
It took a miracle shot to deny the underdog Bruins another magical finish, Jalen Suggs’ 40-footer banking through the net in overtime to end a season that felt like the rebirth of a proud brand.
On the eve of the rematch between the top-ranked Bulldogs and second-ranked Bruins on Tuesday night at T-Mobile Arena, The Los Angeles Times spoke with one prominent UCLA player from each of the last eight decades to assess how the iconic game from last April galvanized the program and what the alumni expect to happen when the teams meet for the second time in seven months.