Friday, 12 January 2018 15:16

Bruins Roll Utes, 83-64

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Wilkes K UU011218UCLA (13-4, 4-1) came out fast playing the kind of basketball they do when things go well, and things did go very well, beating Utah (10-6, 2-3) very solidly, 83-64.

The Bruins took good, open shots and it showed on the stat sheet. UCLA shot 51.8 percent from the field, 52.2 percent from beyond the arc and was outstanding from the foul line hitting 86.7 percent from the charity stripe.

UCLA was dominating from the beginning of the game never looking back. GG Golomon hit his first, which was a three and then from that opening basket, UCLA never trailed. Utah made a good run to get within three points in the first-half, but the Bruins closed out strong to lead, 41-33 at the break

“Extremely pleased as I thought we played some really good basketball tonight,” UCLA coach Steve Alford said. “We had good effort as we played great to start the game, great start to end the half, great start to the second half and great start to end the game. Those are the things you have to do to win.

“Can you start both halves and end both halves? I thought those four four-minute segments were huge. How we start the half, how we closed the half and how we started the second half were going to make it really difficult for them. I thought we were active defensively. Offensively, we took care of the ball, took good shots and made them.”

Four Bruins scored in double-figures, led by the amazing Aaron Holiday, who had game highs in points (20) and a team-high in assists (6).

“There are not many players in the nation better than him [Holiday],” Alford said. “He’s controlling the game now. I think where he has really grown in his feel of the game, of how you can take over a game, other than just scoring. He’s doing that.

“Not only did he have 20 points and six assists, but he is guarding [Utah’s Justin] Bibbins. It’s not like we have to put him somewhere else to conserve energy or try to keep him out of foul trouble. He’s really smart and goes about his business. He started the season slow shooting the basketball and now they’re starting to go in like they were his first two years.

“Aaron does a lot of good things for us. He’s been extremely coachable over the years and he’s just grown and matured. He’s really helping our young guys a lot.”

Though Holiday is the straw that mixes the drink there are other ingredients that are helping this team win. Against Utah, Kris Wilkes scored 19 points and had a game-high, four steals. Prince Ali scored 13 points and had a game-high nine rebounds, which is also Ali’s career best. Jaylen Hands scored 12 points off the bench.

This UCLA team keeps getting better on both ends of the floor. Two of their losses this season, Michigan and Stanford were winnable games.

The Bruins will welcome the other team from the mountainsColorado (10-7, 2-3) this coming Saturday, Jan. 13. Tipoff in Pauley Pavilion is scheduled for 7:30 PM PST and will be televised by the Pac-12 Network.

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