Monday, November 28, 2016

No. 14 UCLA Defeats Texas A&M, Wins Wooden Legacy

NOV 27, 2016 | ucla men's basketball website | ARTICLE LINK

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Lonzo Ball totaled 16 points and a game-high 10 assists to lead No. 14 UCLA (7-0) past Texas A&M in the championship game of the Wooden Legacy on Sunday night at the Honda Center.

Isaac Hamilton scored a team-leading 17 points – all in the first half – and grabbed seven rebounds to help the Bruins secure their first outright in-season tournament title since winning the CBE Classic in Nov. 2007. Ball was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player and was joined by Hamilton on the five-player All-Tournament Team.

Trailing by one point, Ball buried a three-pointer to give UCLA a 65-63 cushion with 2:40 to play, and the Bruins never trailed from that point. After Texas A&M tied the game, 65-65, TJ Leaf hit a go-ahead jump shot to make it 67-65 before Bryce Alford drained a three-point shot that pushed UCLA's margin to five points with 55 seconds left.

"With five minutes left in the game, these guys learned how to go take the win," UCLA head coach Steve Alford said. "That is exciting, when you're coaching a new group like that because we are still a new team. Down the stretch they were terrific, and these two [Lonzo Ball and Isaac Hamilton] were a big part of that."

Alford and Leaf each finished with 13 points. Leaf also grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.

UCLA led throughout the majority of Sunday night's title game, extending its cushion to as many as nine points – 43-34 – early in the second half. Trailing 34-30 with 90 seconds left before halftime, the Bruins used a 5-0 scoring run to enter the locker room at the break with a 35-34 lead.

A layup by Alford and back-to-back three-pointers from Leaf and Alford to open the second half pushed UCLA ahead, 43-34.

Texas A&M clawed back, reducing UCLA's cushion to 45-43 on a layup by DJ Hogg at the 13:59 mark. The Aggies later took the lead, 51-50, with 10:45 to play on a three-pointer from Tonny Trocha-Morelos.

The see-saw affair continued late in the second half, as UCLA built a seven-point cushion – 60-53 – with fewer than seven minutes to go, before Texas A&M used a 10-2 scoring run over the game's next 2:56 to secure a 63-62 advantage.

Sunday's win pushed UCLA's record to 7-0, the program's best start since 2013-14 when the Bruins opened Steve Alford's first season in Westwood with an 8-0 mark.

Joining Ball and Hamilton on the All-Tournament Team included New Mexico's Tim Williams, Virginia Tech's Zach LeDay and Texas A&M's Tyler Davis.

UCLA returns to action against UC Riverside (2-3) in Pauley Pavilion on Wednesday, Nov. 30. Game time is 8 p.m. UCLA's game against the Highlanders will be televised by Pac-12 Network.

The Box

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