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No. 7 UCLA men’s basketball unfazed by winning streak

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LOS ANGELES — UCLA basketball coach Mick Cronin isn’t thinking much about the team’s 12-game winning streak as the Bruins welcome Colorado to Pauley Pavilion on Saturday.

As his father – who is in town – would describe a winning streak in January: “That and a few bucks will get you a cup of coffee at Starbucks.” And that’s a $4 coffee – not what Cronin calls a “California” coffee order that includes extra foam or soy.

“See, my dad is from the Midwest,” Cronin said. “He just wants a coffee.”

Cronin will probably be happy with another cup of how the Bruins have played since late November. With a 13th consecutive win, No. 7 UCLA can match the program’s longest successful run since the 2016-17 season, improve to 6-0 in Pac-12 play and repeat last year’s 16-2 start.

The Bruins are coming off a dominant 68-49 victory over Utah on Thursday. Tyger Campbell led the scoring with 17 points and received praise from Cronin after the game for his aggression. Freshman Adem Bona continued to make an impact in the paint, with 15 points and eight rebounds.

UCLA, the only Pac-12  team undefeated in conference play, has alternated blowout wins with close nailbiters the past four games. The Bruins beat crosstown rival USC by two last week. The previous weekend, UCLA won by a point at Washington State before routing Washington.

Jaime Jaquez Jr. said the team knows its formula to winning, no matter how it pulls out the victory: Share the ball and play as hard as they can.

“Once you do that every single game, it’s really just the mental part,” Jaquez said. “We’ve just got to bring that every single day when you play your game. Once you do that, good things happen.”

Starting guard Amari Bailey has missed the past four games with an ankle injury, with David Singleton starting in his place.

Colorado lost to USC, 68-61, on Thursday, but has won seven of its past nine games. West Hill’s KJ Simpson, a Chaminade High alum and the Pac-12’s second-leading scorer at 17.8 points per game, led the Buffaloes with 17 points in the loss.

UCLA has won five of its past six matchups against Colorado and swept last season’s home and home.

Colorado has won both its games against ranked teams this season, beating both No. 11 Tennessee and No. 24 Texas A&M in November by double digits. The Buffaloes also have not had a winless road trip since the 2019-20 season.

Saturday’s game will be UCLA’s last at Pauley Pavilion for the month of January, with the Bruins playing their next three games on the road with tough tests at Arizona State, Arizona and USC.

Campbell, like Cronin, is not playing too much into the winning streak hype.

“We’re just taking it one game at a time,” he said.

Colorado (11-7, 3-4) at No. 7 UCLA (15-2, 6-0)

When: Saturday, 5 p.m.

Where: Pauley Pavilion

TV/Radio: Fox (Ch. 11)/570 AM

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