Lonzo, Isaac and Ike
Coach Steve Alford
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
from UCLA Athletics
Monday, November 28, 2016
Sunday, November 27, 2016
By Robert Morales, Long Beach Press-Telegram
FULLERTON - UCLA took a record of 5-0 into its game against Nebraska on Friday in the Wooden Legacy Tournament. To Bruins coach Steve Alford, the Cornhuskers figured to be their most difficult test to date in this young season.
He said just that following Thursday’s victory over Portland.
Alford was spot on, as the Cornhuskers gave the 14th-ranked Bruins all they could handle before UCLA came away with an 82-71 victory before about 3,278 at Titan Gym.
UCLA (6-0) will now play Texas A&M for the tournament title on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. at Honda Center. Texas A&M (4-1) defeated Virginia Tech 68-65.
UCLA led by 15 points at the outset of the second half, but Nebraska (4-1) was within 58-56 with 9:21 to play.
Bryce Alford led the Bruins with 18 points, including 10 big ones over the final 6:43; two were on a put-back in traffic, two more were on a tough drive to the basket.
“As a basketball player, those are the kind of moments that you live for,” Bryce Alford said. “That’s something I’ve always prided myself on is being a closer, being somebody who could make plays down the stretch, make smart plays.”
Isaac Hamilton scored 15 for the Bruins, freshman Lonzo Ball had 13 points and seven assists before he fouled out with 1:30 to play and freshman TJ Leaf and Thomas Welsh each scored 12, with Welsh also grabbing 11 rebounds.
Coach Alford was stoked that his team was tested.
“We needed this,” he said. “We hadn’t had a game like that this year yet to where adversity hit us. We played awfully well in the first half, especially defensively, and I thought we got comfortable and we became a little satisfied having a pretty decent team.”
His team did pass the test, though.
“It was a great lesson for us because Nebraska is well-coached and they guard you and I just liked how we handled adversity,” Steve Alford said.
Cornhuskers coach Tim Miles praised what he believes is a talented UCLA squad.
“UCLA is an excellent team,” he said. “Coach Alford’s got a lot of weapons on that team, a lot of different guys that can hurt you.”
One of them is Ball, who wasn’t thrilled that he fouled out, but very pleased the way his team came through.
“I think I did all right, but obviously I fouled out of the game, which I don’t want to have happen,” he said. “But Bryce stepped up and the rest of the team, they had my back. That’s the joy of this team. Everybody plays for each other, not for themselves.”
Glynn Watson Jr. led the Cornhuskers with 27 points and Tai Webster scored 19.
UCLA shot 51.6 percent from the field. Nebraska shot 38.7 percent, 28.6 in the first half.
The Bruins got off to a quick start and led 6-0 thanks to a couple of 3-pointers by Leaf. But UCLA then went cold, making just 2 of 11 shots. It wasn’t a big issue because the Cornhuskers weren’t making anything, either.
Nebraska did take a lead of 10-9 on a 3-point basket by Anton Gill with 12:23 left in the half. Ball responded with a 3-pointer of his own and UCLA had the lead back at 12-10.
Up 16-13, the Bruins made it 18-13 when Thomas Welsh took a lob pass from Aaron Holiday and threw down a dunk that brought the pro-UCLA crowd to its feet. Bryce Alford then hit a 16-footer and the Bruins were ahead 20-13.
Nebraska stayed close and trailed just 22-19 with 5:34 left before the break. Then the Bruins embarked on a 9-0 run that was culminated by a 3-pointer by Hamilton for a 31-19 cushion.
The UCLA faithful was getting louder by the moment.
A basket by the Cornhuskers’ Webster pulled Nebraska within 31-21, but Ball responded with a 3-point basket that went through the net as he was hitting the floor with his backside for a 34-21 lead.
Welsh had the final word when he sank an 18-footer just before halftime, giving the Bruins a 38-25 margin heading into the locker room.
Saturday, November 26, 2016
Friday, November 25, 2016
NOV 24, 2016 | tim tuttle | L.A. daily news | ARTICLE LINK
FULLERTON >> No. 14 UCLA rolled to a runaway first-round victory Thursday in the Wooden Legacy, blasting Portland, 99-77, Cal State Fullerton.
Star freshman Lonzo Ball scored 18 points and had 11 assists for the Bruins. He sat out the final 8:15.
The Bruins (5-0) play Nebraska (4-0), which held on to defeat Dayton, 80-78, in the second round tonight at 9 p.m. in Titan Gym. The Wooden Legacy’s championship game is Sunday at 5:30 p.m. at the Honda Center.
”We play a Big Ten team, an unbeaten team, tomorrow and it’s the best team we’ve played and our biggest test all year,” UCLA coach Steve Alford said. “Lonzo and TJ (Leaf) are learning as they go and they’ve doing a great job. “I think he (Ball) had a little slow starttonight, particularly defensively, but these guys feed off him, these guys trust him. When he gets rolling, he gets the team rolling.”
UCLA, primarily thanks for Ball’s passing, had six players score in double figures. Thomas Welch and Isaac Hamilton had 16 each, Leaf and Aaron Holiday 14 each and Bryce Alford 13.
Ball made 6-of-9 field goal attempts including 4-of-7 3 pointers, was 2-of-3 at the foul line and had 4 rebounds and 2 steals.
Welch, the 7-foot junior center from Redondo Beach and LA Loyola High, knocked down open medium range jumpers, making 8-of-10, en route to his season high. He also had a game-high 10 rebounds. The 6-foot-10 Leaf, a freshman from El Cajon, made 6-of-9 field goal attempts including one 3-pointer and added 9 rebounds.
Portland (3-1) held one possession leads on four occasions in the first half, the last time at 27-26, but the Bruins pulled way with an 11-5 spurt in the final four minutes for a 45-37 advantage at intermission.
Ball’s 3-pointer from the corner gave UCLA a 43-35 lead, its largest of the half.
UCLA opened the second half with a 17-4 run to take a 62-41 lead with 16 minutes to play.
Ball began the barrage with a 3-pointer from the corner and had a 3-pointer from the deep wing to end it. In between, Welch made a trio of 15-foot jumpers.
Thursday, November 24, 2016
The junior guard recorded just the sixth double-double in UCLA history this week while also scoring her 1,000th career point.
UCLA Women's Basketball | November 21, 2016 | Link
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NOV 23, 2016 | BEN BOLCH | THE L.A. TIMES | ARTICLE LINK
Steve Alford knows it’s coming despite the high-scoring romps, the nonstop ball movement, the feeling that UCLA’s early season euphoria might stretch all the way into late March.
There will be a time when the shots don’t fall so easily, the ball gets stuck in a few players’ hands, the scoreboard defies the Bruins. Only then will UCLA learn whether it has the resolve to go with its talent.
“Adversity hasn’t hit,” said Alford, whose team has defeated its four opponents by an average of 27.8 points, “and that sometimes can help build things or it can rip things apart. There’s going to be adversity hit at some point. How do we handle that? How do we handle a close game? Where does the ball go? Who takes the shot? How do we get the stop?
“These are all things that this team hasn’t endured yet that we will endure. I’m anxious to see how we respond to it because we’ve got a great group of guys that really care.”
The No. 14 Bruins (4-0) could find out during an upcoming stretch that will be their toughest in a young season. They will open the Wooden Legacy on Thursday night at Cal State Fullerton’s Titan Gym against Portland (3-0), the start of a three-games-in-four-days test that could include two bedtime starts.
The winner of UCLA’s first game will play either Dayton or Nebraska at 9 p.m. Friday, leading to a daylong wait.
“Those late games, sometimes you get caught sitting in a hotel room all day, so I’m sure the coaches will do a good job of letting us get out, letting us go on a walk, do something,” Bruins guard Bryce Alford said. “Usually we get out of the hotel room just so we’re not so anxious, because we’re so ready to play …. That’s a challenge, but I think we’ll handle it pretty well.”
UCLA will play its final game in the tournament Sunday at the Honda Center in Anaheim against either Virginia Tech, New Mexico, Texas A&M or CSUN. The Bruins already defeated CSUN, 102-87, earlier this month.
Steve Alford said he wasn’t thinking about a possible championship matchup because the three potential opponents on UCLA’s half of the bracket have a combined 8-1 record.
“The competition will bring the best out of us,” Bruins guard Isaac Hamilton said. “We just have to be a little nastier on defense to get more stops.”
This will be UCLA’s first appearance in the tournament formerly known as the 76 Classic since a 2009 performance at the Anaheim Convention Center that included an opening-round loss to Portland as part of an 0-3 weekend.
These Pilots have some similarities to the Bruins, at least stylistically. They like to push the pace and feature a star guard in senior Alec Wintering, a first-team All-West Coast Conference selection last season who leads the team with averages of 19.0 points and 8.0 assists per game. Portland also has a stretch power forward in junior Gabe Taylor, who has made 44.4% of his three-point attempts while leading the Pilots with 8.0 rebounds per game.
Like UCLA, Portland has also routed its early opponents, winning its games by an average of 25 points.
UCLA’s willingness to share the ball could gird the Bruins for the inevitable hardship that awaits this season. Freshmen Lonzo Ball and T.J. Leaf have been among the team’s best passers, winning the immediate respect of more veteran players and leading to cohesiveness. Six UCLA players are averaging double figures in scoring, led by Leaf’s 20.3 points per game.
“Whoever’s hot that night we’re going to continue to feed him,” Bryce Alford said, “and if we’re all hot then we’re just going to keep sharing.”
The unselfish approach has led to what could be UCLA’s early season mantra: The team that slays together stays together.
UCLA VS. PORTLAND
When: Thursday, 8 p.m. PST.
Where: Titan Gym at Cal State Fullerton.
On the air: TV: ESPN2; Radio: 570.
Update: UCLA (4-0) expects freshman forward-center Ike Anigbogu to make his season debut at some point during the three-game Wooden Legacy, possibly in the opener against Portland (3-0). Anigbogu has been sidelined since last month after undergoing surgery to repair torn meniscus in his right knee.
Bruins Coach Steve Alford is familiar with Portland counterpart Terry Porter, having faced him in the NBA when Porter was an All-Star point guard with the Portland Trail Blazers. Porter had stints as coach of the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns before the Pilots hired him in April.
Portland assistant coach Bob Cantu is a former assistant and interim head coach at USC.