No. 4 UCLA riding country’s best home winning streak with no transfers

The UCLA men’s basketball team has won 21 straight home games, which is the longest home winning streak in the nation after Auburn’s 28-gamer was recently snapped.

Bruins coach Mick Cronin has been clear about protecting home court. He believes going unbeaten at home (or at least close to it), is a strong resumé piece for a high seed in the NCAA tournament come March. UCLA is 13-0 at Pauley Pavilion this season, a record that players, fans and the coaching staff can be proud of.

However, Cronin added an extra dash of reasoning to why he thinks it’s even more special.

“All you gotta do is turn on the TV. Most teams are constructed of multiple transfers – this team is special,” Cronin said. “We don’t have (a transfer), because we didn’t need one. Because our guys didn’t transfer. Our guys didn’t go to free agency.”

Fourth-ranked UCLA (21-4, 12-2 Pac-12) will have a chance to extend its home winning streak when it hosts Stanford (11-14, 5-9) on Thursday at 8 p.m. at Pauley Pavilion. The game will be televised on ESPN2. The last time the Bruins lost on their home floor was Jan. 13, 2022, in an 84-81 loss to Oregon.

When it comes to home winning streaks, UCLA has a long way to go when it comes to all-time homestands. The most recent streak to fall was on Jan. 19 when LMU beat Gonzaga in Spokane, Wash., to end a 75-game winning streak. Cronin said he was part of a 43-game win streak at Cincinnati. UCLA holds the NCAA Division I record with 98 consecutive home wins between 1970 and 1976.

“We reap the benefits of Jaime Jaquez, Tyger Campbell, David Singleton, David Nwuba, Jaylen Clark, and even Russel Stong,” said Cronin, noting Stong, a senior walk-on. “He does a great job for us in practice. It’s continuity.”

A mind-boggling winning streak at home isn’t at the forefront of Cronin’s mind, of course. But the hunt for his first Pac-12 Conference regular season title with program-grown players is something he’s proud of.

“Our guys on our team have been extremely loyal to the school and program,” Cronin said. “It gives you a chance to build something. In this day and age, loyalty is a thing of the past. But we’re fortunate to have great kids.”

UCLA, which currently sits in first place in the Pac-12 at 12-2, has won at least 20 games for the third consecutive season and hit the 20-win mark for the eighth time in the last 12 seasons.

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Jaquez was named the Pac-12 Conference Player of the Week and teammate Amari Bailey was named the Freshman of the Week after the Bruins’ sweep of the Oregon schools on the road last week. It’s Jaquez’s second time this season (and third time in his career) receiving the honor and it’s Bailey’s third time being hailed the conference’s best freshman this year.

Jaquez averaged 16.0 points and 12.0 rebounds in the two games, including a 25-point, 12-rebound performance to give UCLA coach Mick Cronin his first win in Eugene on Saturday, 70-63. Jaquez is up to six double-doubles this season.

Bailey recorded a season-high 24 points in the Bruins’ 62-47 win at Oregon State last Thursday night, connecting on 10 of 16 shots. The highly-touted freshman finished the two-game road trip averaging 16 points and 2 rebounds. Since returning from a left foot injury, Bailey has averaged 13.2 points and 2.4 rebounds and is shooting 57.1% from the field.

Stanford (11-14, 5-9) at No. 4 UCLA (21-4, 12-2)

Where: Pauley Pavilion

When: Thursday, 8 p.m.

TV/radio: ESPN2/570 AM

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