His teammates were waiting for him behind a closed door, crowding around the entrance grabbing bottles of water.
The moment Jake Kyman entered the locker room, he began his baptism.
“It was amazing,” Kyman said several minutes later, UCLA’s freshman guard hair was still soaked long after completing post-game interviews and a round of hugs with assistant coaches and sports director Dan Guerrero. “I went in and everyone was splashing water and I was very happy about that.”
The spontaneous rain was triggered by an avalanche of Bruin triples that went from being a player to the protagonist in Washington’s 66-64 triumph of his team on Thursday night at the Alaska Airlines Arena in his first game of the Pacific Conference. 12.
Kyman made seven triples, including one that led UCLA to a two-point lead with eight seconds remaining, as the Bruins (8-6 overall) completed a surprising fortune investment just five days after a home loss to Cal State Fullerton provoked Coach Mick Cronin apologizes for the defensive effort of his team and questions the humility of his players.
The Bruins had a necessary stop in the last seconds after Jules Bernard left the bench to deflect a ball that ended up in the hands of teammate Chris Smith in the middle of a pile of bodies on the floor. Smith had no idea that UCLA had possession with 1.1 seconds remaining until he heard the public announcer say it was the Bruins ball.
“The coach said the game would be reduced to a loose ball,” Smith said, “and he was right.”
Smith only had to cross the ball with his teammate, Prince Ali, before the Bruins could begin celebrating the end of their three-game losing streak after beating the Pac-12 defending champions on their local court. before a shrill crowd of 9,027.
Kyman finished with 21 points in his career, beating his total from the previous season of 18. He made seven of 12 shots, all from a range of three points, having previously made only four of 13 triples this season.
The highlights of UCLA’s victory over Washington on Thursday.
Part of Jake’s plan was that he could enter as a freshman, he couldn’t, [so] defer to other people, ”Cronin said after his first victory at UCLA over an important conference team. “I told him we didn’t have that luxury. We have to make someone shoot the ball in the basket.”
Kyman continuously shot without hesitation, making five of his triples in the second half. Smith added 17 points in shots from eight to 13 to go with 12 rebounds for the Bruins, who countered Washington’s 2-3 zone with a four-guard lineup that improved their space and ball movement.
UCLA also resisted 24 points and 11 rebounds from Washington’s first-year forward Isaiah Stewart, as well as Nahziah Carter’s triple with 24 seconds left, which gave the Huskies (10-4) a 64- lead 63.
The Bruins showed poise and precision in their next possession, and Tyger Campbell finally found Kyman for his triple winner.
“The boys kept trying to probe the area, probe the area,” Cronin said, “and we finally got to where we could get one more pass to make it look great.”
Cronin had removed the UCLA logo from the sleeveless shirts and shorts of the players and coaches in practice this week since the loss to Cal State Fullerton, sending a message that the Bruins needed to earn the right to use the cards from school.
They found someone worthy in Kyman, whose mother, Michelle, won a national championship at UCLA in 1991 while playing for the women’s volleyball team.
Kyman was a zone destroyer at the beginning of the game after his two triples from the bank gave UCLA a 21-16 lead, the Bruins finally extended up to 11 points. UCLA moved the ball with relative ease against the Huskies and gathered perhaps their toughest defense of the season on the road to a 34-24 lead at halftime.
“That last loss was embarrassing, but we really have to learn from this,” Kyman said. “We all had a pact in the locker room, we were all talking to each other, as if this could no longer happen. It’s time for this to end, we have to solve something and we really stick to that. “