UCLA No.4 beats Marquette after seven-hour delayed whistleblower
About 90 minutes after the UCLA charter flight here, an announcement came over the speakers.
The plane needed to be diverted. No reason was given. Everyone has been asked to put on their seat belts.
TJ Wolf, the team’s director of player personnel, rushed down the aisle, repeating the request and making sure everyone had their seat belts on.
The players looked at each other, wondering what was to come next. Turbulence struck as the plane approached Denver airport.
âWe don’t know what’s going to happen, if we’re going to live or if we’re going to die,â Bruins goaltender Jaime Jaquez Jr. recalled a day later, âwe’re just, you know what, at least, we are with our teammates and make jokes, see what we can do.
After all the drama and delays, the hijacked flight leading to an unscheduled overnight stopover in Denver and pushing back the announcement of the Bruins’ game against Marquette by seven hours, the gratuity arrived early Saturday night.
UCLA, fourth, built such a massive cushion in the first half that some Marquette fans headed for the fairways. They were probably going to eat something or stop in the bathroom, but might as well have continued to the Fiserv Forum. Their Golden Eagles were already down 23 points and the commotion inside the arena was palpable.
There were boos. The students who chanted âoverdoneâ in the first few minutes were silenced. Marquette coach Shaka Smart was running out of time out.
UCLA couldn’t keep up the lightning pace but had already forged more than enough advantage on the way to a 67-56 victory that calmed a nervous start to the trip.
“I was just hoping our guys could focus on the game instead of emergency touchdowns,” Bruins coach Mick Cronin said after his team won comfortably despite shooting 36.4%. , as she held Marquette at 33.3 percent and outscored the Golden Eagles by 11 while committing just two second-half turnovers. âI’ll just say it was real. We had to land as quickly as possible so we were able to do that and we all know how lucky we are. “
The team’s flight was hijacked after pilots discovered a cracked windshield in the cockpit. The plane landed without incident, and the team spent the night at a hotel near the Denver airport while searching for a flight with Midwestern storms canceling a multitude of flights.
Marquette officials have agreed to postpone the originally scheduled game from 1:30 p.m. local time to 8:30 p.m. so that UCLA can fly on another plane to Milwaukee on Saturday morning.
The Bruins (9-1) returned home to a more relaxed atmosphere after Jaquez scored 24 points, a season-high, on his return after hitting his head on the ground and being forced out of his Last match. Johnny Juzang and Tyger Campbell added 12 points each for UCLA.
Applause was then heard outside the Bruins’ locker room, as the players finally exhaled after their heartbreaking experience in the air. They were not informed of the cracked windshield until the flight landed.
âA lot of people were like, ‘Oh, we’re going to fall, we’re all going to die,’ jokingly, not really knowing it could have happened,â Jaquez said. “I think that’s the irony of it.”
Everyone handled stress differently in the last 30 minutes of the flight after the announcement. Some players were nervous, Jaquez said, and others slept.
âI thought of a way to get messages across, which is kinda crazy to think, how I would get the messages across,â Juzang said, âbut luckily it was okay. We are blessed.
The only drama of the game came when Marquette (8-3) finally hit nine points, the only problem being that there were only 47 seconds left. Greg Elliott led the Golden Eagles with 22 points.
UCLA continued to play without senior striker Cody Riley, who warmed up before the game but did not recover from the sprained medial collateral ligament in his left knee that sidelined him ever since. the first half of the first game of the season. He could return as early as Wednesday, when the Bruins face Alabama State at the Pauley Pavilion.
After what they’ve been through the last few days, it will be good to be home.
âI don’t even think what happened hit us,â Jaquez said, âbut it’s over now. It’s just one of those stories you can tell later in life. .