Home owners: How No. 4 UCLA gained the nation’s longest active home winning streak

UCLA student section during a game last year against Washington. The Bruins have won 21 straight games at Pauley Pavilion.
The UCLA student section during a game last season against Washington. The Bruins have won 21 straight games at Pauley Pavilion.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

One of the most important moves Jaime Jaquez Jr. made this week might have been the step he took to his left inside UCLA’s basketball film room. In one fluid motion, he leaned over and knocked on a wood table.

Not wanting to upset the Fates, the basketball gods or whatever mystical forces might be protecting the Bruins on their home court, the star forward made the gesture as an homage to an epic run mentioned by a reporter.

The nation’s longest home winning streak does not reside inside Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium, Kansas’ Allen Fieldhouse or Gonzaga’s McCarthey Athletic Center, all bastions of college basketball greatness where the visiting team usually has no chance.


It’s all Pauley’s now.

The fourth-ranked Bruins (21-4, 12-2 Pac-12 Conference) have won 21 consecutive games inside Pauley Pavilion, where they will face Stanford (11-14, 5-9) on Thursday night while trying to extend a streak that’s lasted more than a year.

A few thank-yous are in order. Loyola Marymount ended Gonzaga’s 75-game winning streak on its home court last month before Texas A&M took down Auburn inside Neville Arena, ending the Tigers’ 28-game winning streak on their home court.

Cam Shelton banked in a go-ahead runner with 13 seconds left and LMU snapped No. 6 Gonzaga’s 75-game home winning streak with a 68-67 victory.

Jan. 19, 2023

UCLA has not lost at home since Oregon prevailed in overtime on Jan. 13, 2022, in front of a smattering of fans amid a coronavirus flareup.

Another Pauley Pavilion streak has endured considerably longer than that. Not counting the three games last season when attendance was limited by the pandemic and the entire 2020-21 season, when only cardboard cutouts were permitted, the Bruins have won 32 straight games in front of fans on their home court.

UCLA’s last home loss with no fan limitations was a 74-59 setback against Stanford on Jan. 15, 2020. Whoever writes the book on the Mick Cronin era will note it as a turning point for the program under its new coach. Cronin ripped his team and juggled his rotation, leading to a late-season surge in which the Bruins won 11 of their final 14 games.

This season, UCLA has gone 13-0 at home while trying to go unbeaten inside Pauley Pavilion for the first time since the 2006-07 season, when it advanced to the Final Four.


“In college basketball, you have to win at home or you’re not going to build what you want to build,” said Cronin, whose teams once won 39 consecutive home games when he coached at Cincinnati. “You have to find a way to do it. If you think you’re going to go out and make NCAA tournaments by going undefeated on the road, you’re in trouble.”

Perfect home records have often been a prelude to a championship at UCLA. In the 10 seasons the Bruins went unbeaten at Pauley Pavilion, they won seven national titles (including their most recent, in 1995) and advanced to two additional Final Fours, with the outlier being a second-place finish in the Pac-8 in 1966. (The unbeaten home record during the 1994-95 season comes with the asterisk of California forfeiting a 100-93 victory over the Bruins.)

All that stands between UCLA and another perfect home record are games against Sanford, Cal, Arizona State and Arizona. The Bruins will be heavy favorites in each one except the regular-season finale against the eighth-ranked Wildcats on March 4.

Jaime Jaquez Jr. had 24 points and a career-best 15 rebounds, and No. 9 UCLA shook off its recent doldrums and rolled past Washington State 76-52.

Feb. 4, 2023

As he stood before reporters this week, Jaquez made sure not to jinx his team before addressing a question about the Bruins’ home success. After rapping his knuckles on the tabletop three times and smiling as the reporters in the room laughed, Jaquez said the Bruins were buoyed by the energy they feel inside their home arena.

“We love playing in front of our fans, we enjoy defending our home court, we take it as an advantage for sure,” Jaquez said, “And we just — we’re excited.”

No one appears more pumped than freshman center Adem Bona, who routinely throws his arms into the air while breaking out in a wide smile whenever students call his name as part of the pregame roll call.


“I like when they’re doing their thing, gets me excited a little bit too,” Bona said. “You’re hyped, you’re excited — excited to kick ass too.”

UCLA’s average home attendance of 8,462 fans — including 10,010 for conference games, with one sellout against USC — is its highest since the 2017-18 season. Both attendance figures rank second in the Pac-12, trailing only Arizona, which has averaged 13,992 fans this season and 14,406 for conference games.

Some might say UCLA fans could do better. The athletic department sent an email earlier this month signed by Cronin imploring fans to come out for the final home games, noting the team was ranked in the top 10 and that “this senior class has left their mark in the UCLA history books and they are not done yet.”

Tickets remain for every game except the Arizona showdown, meaning fans have some work to do in addition to the Bruins.

“Would I like it to be sold out every game?” Cronin asked a reporter inquiring about the email. “Yes, it would help recruiting. Would our players like that? Do they deserve that? Yes.”

UCLA will set a record this season for the lowest average attendance at Pauley Pavilion. But the Bruins could be playing in front of sellout crowds this week.

Feb. 26, 2020