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Amari Bailey rescues Bruins exhausted by Jaylen Clark in return over Colorado

Life without Jaylen Clark is going to be hard. Amari Bailey made sure she wasn’t obnoxious.

In UCLA’s first game without their most relentless defender, they took a barrage of offense from their star freshman guard to avoid a big upset.

Bailey’s career-high 26 points lifted the second-ranked and highest-seeded Bruins to an 80-69 victory over ninth-seeded Colorado on Thursday afternoon in the tournament’s quarterfinals. Pac-12 at T-Mobile Arena.

UCLA could only exhale after a sequence in which Jaime Jaquez Jr. followed up a give-and-take steal with Tyger Campbell that ended in a layup by Jaquez on which he was fouled and made the free throw, extending the team’s lead. Bruins at 73.-65 with 1:21 to play.

Then the frustrations boiled over for Colorado Tad Boyle, who committed two technicals and was ejected with 54 seconds remaining.

Campbell finished with 18 points and seven assists and Jaquez had 16 points and nine rebounds for the Bruins (28-4), who extended their winning streak to 11 games.

UCLA guard Jaime Jaquez Jr., left, looks to get around Colorado guard Luke O’Brien during the first half Thursday. Jáquez finished with 16 points.

(David Becker / Associated Press)

Clark was out after suffering a lower leg injury against Arizona last weekend that could keep him out of the postseason. He did not travel with the team to Las Vegas.

Tristan da Silva scored 17 points for the Buffaloes, who were also shorthanded with point guard KJ Simpson sidelined for monkey duty.

The Bruins were in trouble early in the second half when UCLA coach Mick Cronin pulled Jaquez after the Pac-12 player of the year committed back-to-back turnovers. The Buffaloes had a fast break for every UCLA push and kept making shots, taking a 49-46 lead on a Luke O’Brien corner kick.

Da Silva gave Colorado a 61-60 lead with a 3-pointer on Jaquez before Jaquez responded with his own 3-pointer, sparking a 9-0 push for the Bruins that included a Campbell layup in transition and two free throws from Bailey.

UCLA trailed, 38-37, at halftime after Colorado got comfortable behind the three-point line, shooting 7-of-12 from long range.

The Bruins got an early boost from Bailey, who scored 12 points in the first 11 1/2 minutes before committing his second foul and going to the bench for the rest of the first half.