UCLA’s Mick Cronin ‘bailed out’ after foul error in Sweet 16 win vs. Alabama


INDIANAPOLIS — Twitter waits for nobody, and nothing, not even the 5 minutes of a basketball time beyond regulation. And that explains why UCLA coach Mick Cronin was as fiercely criticized for probably the most consequential victory of his two-decade profession as any of the video games he misplaced alongside the best way.

There have been 4.1 seconds left when Bruins junior reserve David Singleton, who had scored solely 10 factors mixed in three NCAA Tournament video games, made consecutive free throws to place his staff forward of Alabama by three factors in the NCAA East Region semifinals. The solely factor that might hold the Bruins from the Elite Eight can be a buzzer-beating 3-pointer and a calamitous time beyond regulation.

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The apparent transfer, proper there, is to instruct the Bruins to foul on objective and forestall any of the Alabama gamers from trying a 3-point shot.

Right, of us?

Here’s the actually bizarre factor about what occurred late Sunday night at Hinkle Fieldhouse: Cronin agrees.

“I’m a foul guy,” he instructed reporters after the Bruins had dominated time beyond regulation to flee into the subsequent spherical of March Madness — their first Elite Eight since 2008 — with an 88-78 victory over the Crimson Tide.

What he meant was he prefers to instruct his gamers, in that scenario, to commit the purposeful foul and ship the opposing staff to the free throw line to keep away from an opponent’s makes an attempt at a tying 3-pointer.

In this occasion, nevertheless, he knew Alabama coach Nate Oats had seen him telling his gamers to foul. And when Oats subsequently known as timeout, he started to worry Oats would use that break to name for his gamers to right away fireplace the ball towards the objective if a Bruin approached to foul, which might result in three free throws for a foul in the act of taking pictures a 3.

“The NBA, they don’t foul for that reason,” Cronin mentioned. “The pro guys are really crafty. So we thought with four seconds . . . if we just make one rotation and choke that side of the floor off, we steal that pass and they don’t even get that shot off.

“Obviously, the youngsters bailed me out. They performed nice in time beyond regulation.”

Cronin later said the Bruins played as well as a team could play in OT, and though it sounds hyperbolic, it’s difficult to dispute. They scored 23 points in five minutes. Taken to its absurd but mathematically correct conclusion, that’s a 184-point pace for a regulation college basketball game.

And yet it primarily was defense that won the game. This has not been a prototypical Mick Cronin D. At Cincinnati, he coached six consecutive top-20 defenses. This UCLA squad is ranked 56th. But that’s a massive improvement over the years before he arrived, when four consecutive Bruins squads ranked 85th or worse.

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“I believe that is an enormous a part of who he’s,” UCLA wing Jaime Jacquez told reporters. “He impacts us all in that method. He brings the very best out in all of us. So once we go on the market and play, he is yelling and screaming with us. He’s been by way of the whole lot with us. I could not ask for a greater coach in faculty basketball.”

Toughness has become an integral part of the UCLA culture. This was non-negotiable for Cronin, and this game would have been unwinnable without it. Especially without wing Chris Smith, who injured his knee in December, and forward Jalen Hill, who left for personal reasons, this is not a dynamic bunch. There still was an insistence among the Bruins that Alabama, never mind its electric quickness, could not gain comfort in its attack, especially along the 3-point line. The Tide get a greater percentage of their points on 3-pointers than all but 15 other Division I teams. On this night, they were 7 of 28.

“You can game-plan to defend the three,” Cronin said, “however when that ball comes off the rim and it is in the air and on the ground, you may’t let the opposite staff need to win greater than you. And our guys did it.”

Gifted Alabama point guard Jahvon Quinerly scored 20 points, but he needed 22 shots to get there. Especially late in the game, UCLA center Cody Riley excelled at handling Quinerly on switches and blocking his shot as he attempted to sweep into left-handed layups. Jacquez stood firmly against All-America forward Herbert Jones, who got off only a half-dozen shots for eight points and was just 2 of 7 on free throws.

“We weren’t ok to beat them tonight. They have been higher,” Oats said. “They hit some powerful photographs . . . They stepped to the road and made their free throws and acquired stops after they wanted to. They might have positively — we had all of the momentum going in time beyond regulation. They might have folded. They did not, type of punched us in the mouth to begin time beyond regulation.”

That was Singleton’s right hand the Tide tasted. He had tried very hard to win the game for the Bruins in regulation, but when that didn’t fly, he went ahead and got them started in OT. He nailed a 3-pointer just 18 seconds into the extra period and nearly two minutes later his baseline jumper made it a seven-point lead. Singleton is a 17-minute player but shoots 47 percent on 3-pointers. With high-scoring wing Johnny Juzang disqualified on fouls, Singleton played 20 minutes and tied his career high with 15 points.

“Dave works so exhausting daily in observe,” Jacquez told Sporting News. “We know what he is able to, and when his identify was known as in the present day, he confirmed everyone what he is all about, and that is a big-time participant.”

This was UCLA’s third time beyond regulation recreation in the previous six, however this was not just like the others. Cronin instructed SN that even after the choice to not foul the Tide had backfired, there was a distinction in the huddle from what he noticed after Jules Bernard missed a free throw that might have sealed the staff’s Pac-12 Tournament opener in opposition to Oregon State.

“This was tough. When you’re in this situation, man, and that happens to you at the buzzer, you’ve got every reason to fold. Every reason to fold,” Cronin mentioned. “These guys just refused to give in.

“You know me. You understand how a lot I’ve been making an attempt to instill that can in them, the place you simply refuse to offer in. Somebody may beat you, however you by no means let up, and also you by no means give in. So I give the youngsters all of the credit score, man.”

He mustn’t anticipate March Madness Twitter to dispute this, however he’ll certainly not examine. he has lots to do making ready for the Elite Eight.

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