Friday, 29 December 2017 14:50

Bruins Open Pac-12 Play Against Cougars

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Hands J SCSUUCLA (9-3, 0-0) is entering Pac-12 play coming off their biggest victory of the season by beating highly ranked Kentucky, 83-75. The Bruins hope the momentum will continue when they welcome Washington State (8-4, 0-0) to Pauley Pavilion. This will be the first time UCLA has opened conference play since Steve Alford’s first-year on the job during the 2013-14 season.

The Bruins showcased solid defensive play against Kentucky and rebounded well. On offense, UCLA shared the basketball. That is the main reason five Bruins ended up scoring in double-figures.

Aaron Holiday and Kris Wilkes tied for a game-high in points with 20. For Wilkes, his scoring output tied his career-high. Holiday also a game-high eight assists. Thomas Welsh notched his ninth double-double of the season, scoring 13 points and coming down with a game-high 11 boards. He also had three steals. Jaylen Hands added 14 points off the bench and Prince Ali chipped in 12 points.

Both Welsh and Holiday are nearing 1,000 point mark for their careers. Welsh currently has 989 points and Holiday 983. There is a very good chance that both players will reach that 1,000 point milestone during this homestand.

The Cougars also will enter Pauley with momentum. Last time out, the Wazzu beat Bethune-Cookman, 86-58. Washington State took control of the game in the second-half outscoring Bethune-Cookman 48-16.

Washington State were victors of the Wooden Legacy earlier in the season with consecutive victories against Saint Joseph's (75-71), Saint Mary's (84-79) and San Diego State (93-86).

The Cougars are led by junior forward Robert Franks who averages a team-leading 18.1 points per game. Sophomore guard Malachi Flynn has registered 15.8 points a team-best 4.4 assists per game.

Tipoff is scheduled for 8:00 PM PST and will be televised on ESPN2 with Roxy Bernstein handling the play-by-play, and Bruin great Bill Walton analyzing the action.

UCLA Sports Network from IMG broadcast the contest locally on AM 1150 with Josh Lewin and another UCLA great, Tracy Murray performing their usual roles.

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