With Washington (9-20, 2-15 Pac 12) down their best player in true freshman point guard, Markelle Fultz (6-4, 195) and the Pac 12â€™s leading scorer, you knew it had all the makings of a very long night for the Huskies. UCLA (27-3, 14-3 Pac 12) scored the gameâ€™s first 11 points and the Bruins never looked back, crushing UDub, 98-66.
â€śReally proud of the guys,â€ť UCLA Coach Steve Alford said. â€śWeâ€™ve practiced well all week since getting back from the Arizona trip. Weâ€™ve really tried to tell themâ€”itâ€™s one of the hardest things in sportâ€”you have to come back, and you have to play, whether itâ€™s home-road, home-home, road-road, you get a big win over a top-five team and then come back and get that next one. I think thatâ€™s one of the hardest things to do in basketball.â€ť
â€śWe were pretty impressive tonight. We were engaged right from the beginning, we really talked about concentration all week. I thought our guys really concentrated well.â€ť
â€śLopsided game, to only have eight turnovers. I thought we were just really good in a lot of areas. We took good shots, we made shots, we shared it. Twenty-three assists again. This team just continues, regardless of what the circumstance is, we play awfully hard and we play together. I thought we were really good at both ends tonight.â€ť
Though the scoreboard didnâ€™t show it this game was not without a huge challenge facing the Bruins. Five minutes into the game, true freshman, TJ Leaf left the game with an ankle sprain and did not return.
Bryce Alford, Lonzo Ball and Isaac Hamilton picked up the scoring slack while Ike Anigbogu and GG Golomon played solid minutes in Leafâ€™s absence.
Alford led all scorers, with 29 points. The senior guard added four assists, three rebounds and two steals. Ball was just as sensational scoring 19 points, game high eight assists, tied for a team high seven boards, four steals and one blocked shot. Hamilton shot 15 points, four assists and one steal.
Golomon in 26 minutes scored eight points, had six rebounds, three blocked shots, two assists and two steals. In 16 minutes, Anigbogu scored seven points and had seven boards.
With all that solid play losing Leaf would have adverse effects. It is not known how severe the injury is at this time.
â€śWell, we hope good,â€ť Alford said on the status of Leafâ€™s injury. â€śHeâ€™ll be crutches, boot, trying to get that thing rest and a lot of treatment.â€ť
â€śI told him five minutes, two points, one rebound and one assist, thatâ€™s not a bad line in five minutes. Weâ€™re having fun with him and thatâ€™s who he is.â€ť
â€śWe obviously have to get him back as soon as we can, but it was just a sprained ankle. Itâ€™s not a bad one. Weâ€™ll have to wait and see what the next 48 hours look like as far as his availability for Saturday.â€ť
The Bruins will put their eight game winning streak on the line in the regular season finale Saturday, March 4, against Washington State. UCLA will honor their three seniors [Bryce Alford, Isaac Hamilton and Jerrold Smith] before 7:15 tipoff time.
The game will be nationally televised on ESPN with Steve Quis and Sean Farnham behind the mic. Jill Montgomery will be court side.