Wednesday, March 9, 2016

HERE WE GO, HERE WE GO!!! 3X's a charm?

Senior forward/center Tony Parker (photo by Greg Turk)
UCLA Athletics

UCLA Hoops to Face USC in Las Vegas
By: UCLA Athletics
LAS VEGAS – No. 10-seed UCLA (15-16) will face No. 7-seed USC (20-11) in a first-round game of the Pac-12 Tournament on Wednesday, March 9. Game time is 6:10 p.m. (PT). The Bruins’ game against USC will be televised by Pac-12 Networks, with Ted Robinson and Bill Walton on the call and Lewis Johnson serving as the sideline reporter.
Matchup: No. 10-seed UCLA (15-16) vs. No. 7-seed USC (20-11)
Venue: MGM Grand Garden Arena (13,151)
Date: Wednesday, March 9
Game Time: 6:10 p.m. (PT)
Television: Pac-12 Network
TV Talent: Ted Robinson (play-by-play), Bill Walton (analyst)
Radio: AM 570
Radio Talent: Bill Roth (play-by-play), Darrick Martin (analyst)
- The Bruins have gone 15-16 this season and will face No. 7-seed USC in a first-round game of the Pac-12 Tournament on Wednesday at 6:10 p.m. (PT) ... UCLA has compiled a 3-4 record against teams ranked in the Associated Press top-25 poll, including wins over No. 1 Kentucky (Dec. 3), No. 20 Gonzaga (Dec. 12) and No. 7 Arizona (Jan. 7).
- Isaac Hamilton scored a team-leading 21 points last Saturday afternoon in an 86-82 loss to Oregon State in Pauley Pavilion (UCLA’s regular-season finale) ... Hamilton has tallied at least 20 points in a team-best 11 games this season ... he has scored in double figures in 29 of UCLA’s 31 games ... he ranks third in the Pac-12 in scoring (17.1 ppg) and is second among all Pac-12 players in scoring in league games only (18.3 ppg).
- UCLA has five players who have each averaged 10.0 or more points per game – Isaac Hamilton (17.1), Bryce Alford (16.3), Tony Parker (12.8), Thomas Welsh (11.2) and Aaron Holiday (10.3) ... Alford ranks second among all Pac-12 players in assists per game (5.3), assist-turnover ratio (2.9) and free throw percentage (82.6, 123-for-149).
- The Bruins are the only Pac-12 team with at least two scorers in the conference’s top 10 (Isaac Hamilton is third with 17.1 ppg, Bryce Alford ranks sixth with 16.2 ppg) ... UCLA and Colorado are the only Pac-12 teams with two players among the league’s top 10 rebounders (Thomas Welsh is fifth with 8.6, Tony Parker is tied for sixth with 8.4).
UCLA has gone 21-13 all-time in the conference tournament, having won five of six games in the tournament the past two seasons (including the 2014 title). Since the tournament resumed in 2002 (after having gone on hiatus following the 1989-90 season), the Bruins have compiled a 15-10 record. UCLA has reached the Pac-12 Tournament’s championship game six times, securing four tournament titles (1987, 2006, 2008 and 2014). The Bruins have advanced to the semifinal round 11 times, including in each of the previous three seasons (in those 11 games, UCLA has gone 6-5).
Since the Pac-12 Tournament relocated to Las Vegas in 2013, UCLA has gone 6-2, including a tournament title in 2014 and a runner-up finish in 2013. The Bruins have won at least one game in the conference tournament in each of the past four seasons.
For the second consecutive season, UCLA will face USC in the Bruins’ opening game of the Pac-12 Tournament. UCLA lost both regular-season contests against USC this year – the Trojans won in Pauley Pavilion (89-75) on Jan. 13 and defeated UCLA at the Galen Center (80-61) on Feb. 4. Last March, UCLA secured a 96-70 win over USC in a quarterfinal matchup at the Pac-12 Tournament after having won both regular-season meetings against its crosstown rival.
The winner of Wednesday night’s first-round game between UCLA and USC will advance to play No. 2-seed Utah (24-7, 13-5) in a quarterfinal contest on Thursday at 6:15 p.m. (PT).
Junior guard Isaac Hamilton has earned second-team All-Pac-12 Conference honors, one of five players selected to the second team (the Pac-12 designates 10 players on its first team). Hamilton ranks third in the league in scoring (17.1 ppg) and enters the Pac-12 Tournament having made more field goals (203) than any other Pac-12 player. Junior guard Bryce Alford (16.3 ppg, 5.3 apg) has secured honorable mention All-Pac-12 accolades for the second straight year.
Tony Parker, UCLA’s lone senior, has averaged 12.8 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. Currently tied for sixth in the league in rebounding this season (8.4 rpg), Parker has totaled 1,123 career points and 691 career rebounds. He’s one of just 16 players in UCLA basketball history to have logged at least 1,000 career points and over 670 career rebounds. Parker finished with 14 points and nine rebounds last Saturday in his final regular-season game in Pauley Pavilion.
Isaac Hamilton has scored in double figures in 27 consecutive games, the longest such streak at UCLA since Kevin Love scored at least 10 points in all 39 games during his freshman season (2007-08). Hamilton was the Pac-12’s only player to have scored in double figures in each of his team’s 18 league games. Prior to his streak of 27 straight games, then-freshman Shabazz Muhammad scored in double figures in each of UCLA’s final 19 games in 2012-13.
Bryce Alford ranks second on the team and sixth in the Pac-12 in scoring (16.3 ppg). He ranks second in the Pac-12 in assists per game (5.3) and assist-turnover ratio (2.7). He has not committed more than three turnovers in any of the team’s last 17 games (92 assists, 23 turnovers, 4.0 assist-turnover ratio in the span). Alford has become UCLA’s first player since Earl Watson (1998-2001) to have dished at least 100 assists in each of his first three seasons.
Aaron Holiday has started all 31 games during his freshman campaign, having averaged 10.3 points, 3.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. The former standout at Campbell Hall High School has scored in double figures in 19 games. Holiday ranks eighth in the Pac-12 in assists per game (4.0) and seventh in steals per game (1.4). His 124 assists are the most by a UCLA freshman since his older brother, Jrue Holiday, had 129 in 2008-09.
Sophomore center Thomas Welsh significantly improved his production in 2015-16, having averaged 11.2 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game (30 games, 25 starts). Last summer, he helped the USA Basketball U-19 men’s team win the gold medal at the FIBA World Championships on the island of Crete in Greece. As a freshman at UCLA last season, he averaged 3.8 points and 3.8 rebounds per game as a key contributor off the bench. This year, Welsh ranks third among Pac-12 players in field goal percentage (59.7), having made 151 of 253 shot attempts.
UCLA enters the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas as the conference’s only program to have at least three players who have each dished 100 or more assists. Junior guard Bryce Alford has totaled a league-leading 164 assists, while freshman Aaron Holiday ranks seventh in the Pac-12 in total assists (124). Junior Isaac Hamilton enters the conference tournament having compiled 100 assists. This marks the first season since 2009-10 in which at least three Bruins have totaled 100 assists (prior to 2009-10, that statistical feat had not been accomplished at UCLA since 1997-98).
Junior guard Bryce Alford ranks second in the Pac-12 in free throw percentage (82.6). He entered the season having shot 82.4 percent from the free throw line and currently ranks seventh on UCLA’s all-time free throw percentage list (82.4 pct), behind former teammate Jordan Adams (fourth place), Reggie Miller (fifth) and Jason Kapono (sixth). Also of note, Alford has moved into sole possession of second place on the school’s all-time 3-point field goals made list (211).
Bryce Alford has become UCLA’s first player since Arron Afflalo (in 2005-06, 2006-07) to have made at least 70 three-pointers in consecutive seasons. Alford has made 71 attempts this year after having set the school’s single-season record last year (93). In addition, Alford has made at least one 3-pointer in the team’s last 25 games. In fact, UCLA has made at least one 3-pointer in its previous 552 games. The Bruins’ most recent game without a made 3-pointer took place Feb. 3, 2000 – UCLA went 0-for-13 from 3-point range in a 78-63 home loss to No. 2 Stanford.
When UCLA faced USC in last season’s Pac-12 Tournament, then-sophomore Isaac Hamilton scored a career-high 36 points in the Bruins’ 96-70 victory. He made 13 of 17 total shots and finished with the highest single-game point total by any UCLA player since Dijon Thompson netted 39 points on Feb. 10, 2005, in the Bruins’ 95-76 victory over Arizona State. Hamilton made 7 of 9 attempts from 3-point range to help UCLA advance to the Pac-12 Tournament semifinals.
UCLA has compiled a 138-106 record in the all-time series against USC (reflects one win vacated by USC in 2008). The Bruins had won six consecutive games and 10 of 11 contests versus the Trojans prior to dropping a pair of regular-season games this year. This Wednesday night’s game will mark the fifth time in the conference tournament in which UCLA has faced USC. In four previous tournament meetings, the Bruins have gone 3-1 versus the Trojans.

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