It was apparent that only a few fans would be allowed inside the Pauley Pavilion on Saturday night, with UCLA continuing to double down on security even as nearly every other team across the country played in packed arenas.

The question then was who would show up for the Bruins in third place two nights after an almost universal absence.

Would Jaime Jaquez Jr. shake off perhaps the most lethargic performance of his career? Could Jules Bernard recover from a protracted shooting slump? Could Johnny Juzang support smart play? Was Cody Riley going to grab more than one rebound?

The first response came before the whistleblower, and it wasn’t one that would help UCLA’s bid bounce back quickly from its surprising home loss to Oregon. While his teammates warmed up, Jaquez sat on the bench in a blue tracksuit due to a troublesome left ankle.

Jaquez rose from his seat to dwell on the outskirts of a few groups of teams and clapped in encouragement, but his absence against Oregon State took more than his averages of 13.3 points and 5.7 rebounds off the board. This deprived the Bruins of their most spirited player.

Luckily for UCLA, he found a capable replacement.

UCLA guard Johnny Juzang, right, runs past Oregon State guard Dexter Akanno during the second half.

(Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press)

In his first career start, sophomore goaltender Jaylen Clark made a compelling case for more playing time in the Bruins’ 81-65 win over the Beavers. Clark contributed his usual active defense and recorded all of his career-high 11 points at halftime, also finishing with four rebounds, two assists and a steal.

“Jaime better hurry back or he’s in trouble,” Cronin said after explaining that Jaquez woke up with a swollen left ankle. The swelling subsided with playing time, but Cronin held off his second leading scorer as a precaution to protect him with so many games to play.

Clark replaced more than Jaquez. Giving up several inches to his 6-foot-5 counterpart, Clark even played a center as part of a small-ball formation that helped UCLA (11-2, 3-1 Pac-12) get a split before the half time. Clark had made all five of his shots so far, helping his team shoot 69.6 percent from the field in the first half.

“People know I can defend the ball,” Clark said. “Today I was put in places where I can score where I normally wouldn’t, so I just tried to make the most of it.”

Juzang added spirited defense in the opening minutes after half-time, taking one of his side’s four charges and stealing a pass before feeding Tyger Campbell for a lay-up. On the Bruins’ next possession, Juzang buried a three-pointer on the way to scoring 19 of his team-high 24 points in the second half.

There was also a rebounding effort from Jules Bernard, whose 16 points included a nice quick layup in which Juzang passed to Clark before Clark found an open Bernard for an easy field goal. Cronin praised his team for winning easily on a night when he made just two three-pointers, blowing them away with a 61.7% overall shot and outscoring the Beavers (3-13 , 1-5) 18 points in the paint and nine points. sales figures.

UCLA coach Mick Cronin shouts instructions to his players during the first half of the Bruins' win over Oregon State.

UCLA coach Mick Cronin shouts instructions to his players during the first half of the Bruins’ win over Oregon State.

(Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press)

An energetic Campbell had 13 points, three assists and four of his team’s nine steals. Riley had nine points and three rebounds, but Cronin noted he wanted more rebounds from the forward, who has grabbed just 11 in four games since returning from a knee injury.

Clark had already gained more playing time by making two interceptions in the final 33 seconds of regulation time Thursday to force overtime against Oregon before oddly going to the bench except for the final nine seconds of extra time. . His 32 minutes against the Beavers easily eclipsed his previous high of 24.

“I told him he needed to be in better shape,” Cronin said, hinting that Clark was about to take on a bigger role.

Freshman guard Peyton Watson also continued his recent emergence with four points, five rebounds, two blocks and a steal, modest stats that didn’t sufficiently capture his impact.

“Stats mean nothing to me,” Cronin said. “I watch Peyton’s ground game defensively, blocked shots, rebounding activity, his attitude – he and Jaylen continue to improve; it’s huge for us.

Jarod Lucas and Dashawn Davis each scored 12 points for the Beavers, whose bid for their first road victory against a top-five team fizzled when they shot 38.7% in the second half after realizing half of their baskets in first.

Two nights after calling his players “arrogant without cause”, Cronin returned to cracking jokes and lavishing praise on his team. The Bruins looked alike once again.