Thursday, 08 February 2018 15:37

UCLA Heads To The Desert For Key Matchup

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Holiday A USC030916UCLA (16-7, 7-4) is coming off their most important homestand of the season and they went 3-0. Once again are in the conversation for an invite for NCAA Tournament. Before we get ahead of ourselves there is still much work to be done.

Now the Bruins have tough road trips ahead. UCLA will play five of their last seven games on the road. One thing that is certain wins on the road in the Pac-12 is hard to come by.

Harder still, is wins against Arizona (19-5, 9-2) in the McKale Center where the Bruins will open this road stand.

The Bruins are coming off a huge, hard-fought, grinding, emotional win over their arch-rivals, USC, 82-79. The Wildcats lost a heartbreaker in Seattle, to the Huskies, 78-75.

How each team will respond lies the keys to the game. Will Bruins take the lessons learned from previous road trips and have the grit they displayed during their homestand?

Will Arizona come out flat like many teams do, suffering from a hangover over such a disappointing loss?

UCLA Coach Steve Alford told the media that the Bruins could ill-afford not to bring their A-game. Anything less and this game could get out of hand in front of a rowdy and loud Wildcat fan base.

Bruin veterans Aaron Holiday and Thomas Welsh need to lead the way. Both Holiday and Welsh are coming off outstanding games against USC. Holiday played the entire 40 minutes while garnering game highs for points (23) and assists (nine). Welsh scored 21 points against the Trojans including the last five to seal the game for UCLA.

The Wildcats are long, talented and have experience. Alford has said from the beginning that Arizona is the team to beat in the Pac-12. They are led by junior guard, Allonzo Trier, who seems to always be on fire when he plays the Bruins. Senior center Dusan Ristic (7-0, 245), who is playing the best basketball of his career and true freshman forward, Deandre Ayton (7-1, 250), who was a member of the prestigious McDonald’s All-American team.

Tipoff is scheduled for 7:00 PM PST and will be televised nationally on ESPN with Dave Pasch doing the play-by-play and UCLA all-time great, Bill Walton analyzing the action.

UCLA Sports Network from IMG will broadcast the game locally on AM 570 Josh Lewin handling the play-by-play and another Bruin great Tracy Murray in the analyst chair.

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