DEC 15, 2015 | MEN'S BASKETBALL
By: UCLA Athletics
LOS ANGELES - Bryce Alford scored a season-high 27 points to lead the No. 22 UCLA basketball team past Louisiana-Lafayette, 89-80, in Pauley Pavilion on Tuesday night.
The Bruins (8-3) registered their fifth consecutive win just three days after taking down No. 20 Gonzaga on the road, 71-66. Isaac Hamilton scored 19 points and grabbed seven rebounds, while Tony Parker finished with 19 points and a team-leading nine rebounds.
“I thought we started really well,” UCLA head coach Steve Alford said. “I think what happened was that we haven’t been up by 20 points in a while, and we got up by 19 or 20 and we relaxed.”
Louisiana-Lafayette (3-5) entered Tuesday night’s non-conference affair ranking third, nationally, in points per game (90.0). The Ragin’ Cajuns were led by Shawn Long’s 26 points and 16 rebounds.
The Bruins opened the game with an 8-0 scoring run, playing without the services of sophomore centerThomas Welsh (stomach virus) and freshman guard Prince Ali (bone bruise, left knee). UCLA pushed its early advantage to as many as 19 points with 6:57 to play before halftime and entered the locker room at the break with a 47-35 cushion.
Bryce Alford scored 17 points in the first half, connecting on 7 of 9 shots and 3 of 4 attempts from 3-point range. He finished with 27 points, making 10 of 15 field goals, and also registered a team-leading seven assists.
Louisiana-Lafayette (3-5) reduced UCLA’s advantage to as few as four points midway through the second half. After a layup by Parker gave the Bruins a 63-56 cushion, Hayward Register nailed a 3-pointer to reduce the margin to 63-59 at the 10:13 mark. UCLA immediately responded with an 11-2 scoring run to push its lead back to 13 points with 7:18 remaining.
Leading 79-73, UCLA received a 3-pointer from Alford to extend its cushion to 82-73 with just 1:55 to play in regulation.
“We got tested, but without Thomas [Welsh] and Prince [Ali], two guys who have been in our rotation, we had some guys step up,” Coach Alford said. “I thought Bryce, Isaac and Tony were really good. Bryce made some huge plays for us and Isaac, before he got in foul trouble, was doing a lot of good things.”
The Bruins will return to action against No. 11 North Carolina (7-2) in the CBS Sports Classic on Saturday, Dec. 19. The game will be played at the Barclays Center (Brooklyn, N.Y.). Game time is 10 a.m. (PT). UCLA’s contest will be nationally televised by CBS.