Monday, January 16, 2017

Daily Bruin: Men’s basketball escapes with one-point win over Utah

Freshman guard Lonzo Ball played all 40 minutes in Saturday afternoon's game and led No. 4 UCLA with 17 points in a 83-82 victory over Utah. (Courtesy of Chris Ayers/The Daily Utah Chronicle)

jan 14 2017 | the daily bruin | ARTICLE LINK

Freshman point guard Lonzo Ball led No. 4 UCLA men’s basketball to an 83-82 win over Utah Saturday to complete the Bruins’ first sweep of a road trip during coach Steve Alford’s tenure.
Ball played all 40 minutes, producing 17 points, eight assists, six rebounds and five steals to carry UCLA to victory in a tight contest that featured nine ties and 12 lead changes.
After heading into halftime leading 42-40, the Bruins let the Utes start the second half on an 11-0 run before Ball finally drilled a 3 on UCLA’s eighth shot of the period. UCLA would trail throughout much of the half, but closed the game on a 14-9 run to finish off Utah.
Sophomore guard Aaron Holiday’s 3-pointer gave the Bruins the lead for good with just under two minutes to go, and junior center Thomas Welsh’s free throws with one second left extended the lead to 83-80.
Utah then chucked the ball all the way downcourt, allowing forward Kyle Kuzma to make a two-point shot at the buzzer and bring the final deficit to just one point.
The Bruins, who lead the nation in offensive rating, were slightly off Saturday, shooting under 50 percent for just the sixth time this year, but they were able to hang on even as the Utes produced their third-best shooting performance of the season.
Welsh put up 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting and added eight rebounds, while freshman forward TJ Leaf recorded his ninth double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 boards.
Senior guard Isaac Hamilton, who seemed to break out of a recent shooting slump in Thursday’s win over Colorado, struggled again Saturday, notching just seven points on 3-for-10 shooting in a season-low 22 minutes.

OC Register/AP: Final: No. 4 UCLA holds on for narrow 83-82 win at Utah

UCLA guard Aaron Holiday (3) goes to the basket as Utah forward David Collette, right, defends don Saturday in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

jan 14, 2017 | kareem copeland | ap/o.c. register | ARTICLE LINK
UCLA has punished teams on the offensive end throughout the season, but the biggest sequence of the day for the No. 4 team in the country was a defensive stop that ended a near upset.
Lonzo Ball had 17 points, eight assists and six rebounds to help the Bruins edge Utah, 83-82, on Saturday.
UCLA (18-1, 5-1 Pac-12) overcame a nine-point deficit in the second half despite a poor defensive performance most of the night. Aaron Holiday hit a deep 3-pointer with 1:52 left to give UCLA an 81-80 lead, and Utah forward Kyle Kuzma missed a contested 3 in the final seconds.
“We’re known for our offensive end, so it’s great to finally win getting the stop,” Holiday said. “I feel we can play with anybody who can score at a fast pace. It’s just a matter of us getting stops and scoring at the offensive end.
“But, yeah, I guess you can call it the gutsiest (win) because we actually had to do it on the defensive end in this game.”
Thomas Welsh made two foul shots with one second left for the Bruins and Lorenzo Bonam scored in the waning moments for the Utes (12-5, 3-2), providing the final margin.
The back-and-forth game featured nine ties and 12 lead changes. Utah opened the second half with an 11-0 run, but the Bruins answered with a 17-6 stretch.
“They got great heart,” UCLA coach Steve Alford said. “They got great desire. And they don’t play differently if they’re up eight or down eight. They’re learning to make winning plays as we go along.
“It wasn’t perfect, but on little rest I’ll take it.”
Welsh had 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting for UCLA, which shot 48.5 percent from the field. Bryce Alford scored 15 points, and TJ Leaf finished with 12 and 10 rebounds.
Ball, who was 7 of 12 from the field, played all 40 minutes.
“He made a lot of winning plays on the defensive end tonight,” Steve Alford said about Ball. “He was very engaged defensively. Offensively he had eight assists and we missed a lot of shots tonight so he could have had even more.”
Bonam led the Utes with 19 points, and Kuzma finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Utah shot 54.5 percent (36 for 67) from the field.
Utah used an 8-1 run to take a 24-18 lead in the first half, but the Bruins responded with a 19-5 stretch of their own. A pair of Devon Daniels layups started an 8-0 run for Utah near the end of the half, but Alford buried a 3-pointer just before the buzzer to make it 42-40 UCLA at the break.
“We made mistakes down the stretch, that was the biggest part,” Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said. “We had two critical errors on defense. That’s a great offensive team. What makes them so unique is their ability to push the ball in transition and continue to move and guys share the basketball real well. And then you throw in some of those offensive boards, it’s kind of a juggernaut.”
UCLA: The Bruins allowed the Utes to shoot 54 percent (36 for 67) from the field, and they also were outrebounded 34-32 by Utah. While UCLA is one of the best offensive teams in the country, defense has been an issue.
Utah: The Utes showed they can hang with anyone when their offense is clicking. Utah is deep enough to survive an off night from center David Collette and the backcourt wasn’t overmatched in the least.
UCLA might be able to inch a little higher after No. 1 Baylor’s loss to West Virginia.
UCLA: Hosts Arizona State on Thursday.

L.A. Times: UCLA erases nine-point deficit in second half to edge Utah, 83-82

The team known for its offense couldn’t win with its better half Saturday afternoon. UCLA needed a stop.
First, the Bruins needed to disrupt.
Trailing by a point in the final seconds, Utah inbounded the ball three times. Three times, UCLA fouled because the Bruins weren’t in the bonus and wouldn’t send the Utes to the free-throw line.
By the time Utah finally put the ball in the hands of Kyle Kuzma, its best player, the Bruins had shaved seven seconds off the clock, leaving only five seconds left. Kuzma pulled up for a three-pointer over the outstretched arm of UCLA forward TJ Leaf, giving Bruins guard Bryce Alford a frightening flashback to his team’s loss against Oregon on a similar shot in the final seconds.
“I’m like, oh my goodness, don’t go in, don’t go in,” Alford would recall later of his thoughts while watching from the bench.
It didn’t and the fourth-ranked Bruins prevailed over the Utes, 83-82, at the Huntsman Center to complete their first two-game road sweep in Pac-12 Conference play during UCLA Coach Steve Alford’s four seasons with the team.
“That’s growth,” Bruins guard Lonzo Ball said after making four of his career-high five steals in the second half to go with 17 points, eight assists, six rebounds and only one turnover. “We’ve been talking about it all year and we finally pulled it out with a stop to win the game.”
The Bruins (18-1 overall, 5-1 Pac-12) won only after rallying from a nine-point deficit over the final 16 minutes. It required the plucky play of Ball, who played all 40 minutes for the first time in his career, and the persistence of guard Aaron Holiday, who didn’t care that he missed his first five three-pointers because his sixth went in to give the Bruins an 81-80 lead with 1:52 left.
“Lonzo, you’re selfish!” a Utah fan yelled at Ball as he conducted a postgame interview. “You should have sat on the bench for a few minutes.”
The Utes (12-5, 3-2) still had a longshot chance to tie the score after Kuzma missed his jumper. UCLA’s Thomas Welsh grabbed the rebound and made two free throws after getting fouled to give the Bruins an 83-80 cushion with one second left. Utah’s Lorenzo Bonam grabbed a full-court inbounds pass and made a jumper at the buzzer, triggering an eruption from Utes fans who thought the shot had tied the score.
But Bonam’s shot wasn’t close to the three-point line and the Bruins emerged with perhaps their most impressive win of the season considering the circumstances.
“Definitely our gutsiest,” Bryce Alford said after scoring 15 points on six-for-12 shooting in a followup to his career-high, 37-point outburst two days earlier against Colorado.
Alford had gone scoreless in his previous two games on this court and had gone cold in the second half Saturday before Ball found him for a corner three-pointer while being fouled that put the Bruins ahead, 78-77, with 2 1/2 minutes left even after Alford missed the free throw.
Guard Sedrick Barefield then gave Utah its final lead when he made a three-pointer, a prelude to Holiday’s counter. The Utes lost despite shooting 54.5% and scoring 50 points in the paint because they were largely foiled late in the game by UCLA’s zone defense.
“That did change the tempo,” Steve Alford said, “and they got to shooting more jump shots.”
Foul trouble on fellow guards Holiday and Isaac Hamilton forced Ball to play the entire game, which proved fortuitous for the Bruins. Ball lurked in the backcourt midway through the second half before poking away an outlet pass for a steal that led to a two-handed dunk.
“Coming in, we knew what he was going to bring for us,” Holiday said, “and he did it for the full 40 minutes this game.”
Said Ball: “I usually play 38 minutes, so an extra two minutes is not really going to do too much to me.”
The same could be said for the salty Utah fans, who mocked Bryce Alford with chants of “Daddy’s boy!” and chanted “Airball!” every time Holiday touched the ball after missing the rim on a jumper in the first half.
“The ‘Daddy’s boy’ chant, I’ve heard since I was in high school,” Alford said, “so I’d like to hear some people come up with some new stuff.”
UCLA tightening its defense qualified as a fresh development for a team that knows that’s what it will take to persevere in even more meaningful games.
“It’s great to finally win,” Holiday said, “getting a stop.”
Twitter: @latbbolch

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Salt Lake Tribune: Utes miss their shot at memorable win vs. UCLA

   By  connect
First Published     •    Updated 8 hours ago   Article Link

The No. 8 basketball team in the Pac-12's preseason media poll could have, and maybe should have, beaten the No. 4-ranked club in the country, leaving the Utah Utes to wonder what else they might have done Saturday. Utah's performance raised another question, to be answered only in the coming months: How much value is there in a loss?
Utah looked every bit like an NCAA Tournament team for most of 40 minutes in an 83-82 loss to UCLA at the Huntsman Center. The trouble is the Utes will never have another chance like this one to improve their postseason credentials, and it got away from them in the end.

The Utes (12-5) couldn't deliver what would have been the most memorable win of the program's Pac-12 history. So they'll have to live with a missed opportunity, amid everything they did so well for so long against a very good opponent.
"I'm pretty pissed that we lost," Ute coach Larry Krystkowiak said, if any clarification was necessary.
Even the last second of the game provided one of the biggest, if only temporary, thrills in a game that featured a bunch of them. Some percentage of the 15,027 fans cheered wildly when Lorenzo Bonam caught Kyle Kuzma's pass from the opposite baseline and tossed in a shot. The problem is Bonam's buzzer-beater, like most 8-footers, counted for only two points.
Krystkowiak is convinced Bonam was fouled on the play. Such a call may have extended an exhilarating, exhausting game marked by emotional swings, spectacular plays and clutch moments in a packed, loud arena. Asked about the greatest value of Pac-12 membership, former Utah coach Jim Boylen said, "UCLA in the Huntsman Center."
Boylen never got to coach in this conference, but Saturday's game clearly is what he had in mind. Ute fans were treated to what's likely their only look at UCLA freshman Lonzo Ball, who posted 17 points and eight assists.

Yet with five players scoring in double figures, the Utes almost overcame UCLA's best stuff. Utah lost the nine-point lead that came from an 11-0 run to start the second half, but answered most of the Bruins' baskets in the final few minutes.
Not even the Utah-Arizona battles of the previous two seasons could match the offensive artistry and overall intensity of a game ultimately decided by the Bruins' consecutive 3-pointers by Bryce Alford and Aaron Holiday and a defensive stand that stemmed from coach Steve Alford's shrewd strategy.
The absence of whistles, the element that made this game so much fun to watch, contributed to the weird finish. Because the Utes were not in the bonus, UCLA fouled them three times — twice more than NBA rules would allow, for the sake of discussion — in a sequence that began with 12.9 seconds left and the Bruins leading by one point. The ultimate result was Kuzma's having to launch a twisting 3-pointer from the right wing, with the Bruins' Thomas Welsh rebounding the ball and making two free throws with one second left.
The Utes then got a better look on a play that started 94 feet from the basket than they did on the previous play from the baseline under the UCLA basket. Imagine if Utah had trailed by anything less than three points, and Bonam had hit a tying or winning shot. As it is, anyone would wonder why he even was standing that close to the basket. But what if he had been fouled?
"As flukish as it was, I do think he got hit on the arm," Krystkowiak said. But "I don't want to have a headline that we got robbed, because we had plenty of opportunities."
The Utes probably should have saved Bonam's miraculous shot for another day, such as Oregon's visit Jan. 26. Utah clearly is a different team with transfers Sedrick Barefield and David Collette having become eligible in mid-December, but there's no replaying (or upgrading) the nonconference schedule at this point.
All anyone knows for sure is Utah is much better than the Pac-12's eighth-best team. "I'm going to be real: That's disrespectful," said Bonam, one of three returnees from the league's second-place team last season.
Bonam figures those voters are "starting to change their minds" about the Utes. Those who watched them play Saturday undoubtedly were left with the most favorable impression that any loss could create. But a win would have done Utah a lot more good.
Twitter: @tribkurt

Utah celebrates 1-point loss to No. 4 UCLA at the buzzer

from Today Sports

UCLA over Utah 83-82 Player highlights

Zo from Frankie Vision

No. 4 UCLA Outlasts Utah, 83-82

from UCLA Athletics


SALT LAKE CITY – Lonzo Ball scored a team-high 17 points with eight assists, while TJ Leaf recorded a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds as No. 4 UCLA earned a 83-82 victory at Utah on Saturday in a Pac-12 game from the Jon M. Huntsman Center. The Bruins extend their win streak to five games with the win.

UCLA (18-1, 5-1 Pac-12) finished with five player in double-figures led by Ball and followed by Thomas Welsh with 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting. Bryce Alford followed up his 37-point performance on Thursday with 15 on three 3-pointers, while Aaron Holiday added 14 points.

"I'm just proud of our guys' effort," said UCLA head coach Steve Alford. "We didn't shoot the ball particularly well but we found a way to win. I just can't say enough about this team.
We are almost at 20 games and this team continues to do things that breed winning and I'm appreciative of that."

Utah (12-5, 3-2 Pac-12) was led by Lorenzo Bonam with 19 points, while Devon Daniels and Kyle Kuzma added 15 points each.

Down by one with 2:54 to play, UCLA would hit 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions by Alford and Holiday to take a one-point advantage with under two minutes to play. The Bruins made a defensive stop in the final seconds and Welsh sealed the win by making two free throws with one second to play.

The Utes erased a two-point deficit at halftime by scoring 11-straight points to start the period behind four points each by Kuzma and Bonam. UCLA battled back and retook the lead with 10 minutes left in regulation after going on a 13-4 run capped off by four-straight points by Holiday.

UCLA led 42-40 at halftime as Alford, Leaf and Welsh all recorded 10 points. The Bruins led by as many as eight points in the opening period until Utah scored eight unanswered points to tie the game at 37-37 with 2:16 to play. Alford would give UCLA the two-point lead as he hit a 3-pointer with four seconds left in the opening half.

The Bruins return to the court on Thursday when they face Arizona State at 8 p.m. PT from Pauley Pavilion on Fox Sports 1.

The Box is here