Some Bruin fans may be getting a little worried with the way UCLA (19-1, 6-1 Pac 12) allows teams back into games, especially after creating large leads, but UCLA coach Steve Alford doesn’t appear too worried.
“I just don’t think you’re going to win games by 40 points in this league,” Alford said. “It’s just not going to happen. We were up by 25 points at one point and won the game by 22. I’m going to take that. We just won a league game by 20-plus points.”
“We didn’t play well during that stretch, but sometimes you have to credit your performance. They [ASU] made shots during that stretch. They drew fouls during that stretch. I think that stuff is going to happen. I’m just pleased with another double-digit win for our guys because in this league that isn’t easy to do.”
Except that cold stretch in the second half, the Bruins played outstanding basketball defeating ASU (9-10, 2-4 Pac 12), 102-80. UCLA did the things that have made them one of the best and most entertaining teams to watch.
The Bruins had 30 assists, scored 102 points and had five players scoring in double-figures, including a record tying performance by senior guard Isaac Hamilton.
Hot on the heels of his senior teammate, Bryce Alford, Hamilton joined Alford and Jason Kapono with nine threes in a game. Hamilton had a game high 33 points.
UCLA’s two outstanding freshmen point guard Lonzo Ball and forward TJ Leaf were also terrific. Ball had a double-double with a game high 12 assists and scored 10 points. Leaf fell just short of a double-double scoring 19 points, nine boards and dished out six assists in a well-rounded game.
Aaron Holiday was, once again, a spark plug off the bench scoring 13 points and dishing out eight assists. Center Thomas Welsh had 10 points and eight rebounds.
“Really proud of the guys,” Alford said of his team’s performance. “I thought we did some really good things tonight. We did a really good job on the backboard for most of the night. That’s how we share it with 30 assists on the offensive end. We made 16 3-pointers. We did a good job of getting to the free-throw line. I liked our pace offensively.”
“Other than a eight to nine minute stretch, three to four minutes to end the first half and three to four minutes to start the second half I though defensively we were pretty solid as well. This was a really good win…great effort tonight. Now we have a quick turnaround with a game here on Saturday.”
Quick indeed the Bruins have a touch contest against No. 14/13 Arizona (17-2, 6-0 Pac 12) on Saturday in Pauley Pavilion. Tipoff is scheduled for 1:00PM (PST). The game will be nationally televised on CBS.