dec 15, 2016 | ucla men's basketball page | ARTICLE LINK
LAS VEGAS – No. 2 UCLA (11-0) will take on Ohio State (8-2) in the CBS Sports Classic in Las Vegas on Saturday (12 pm PT). The Bruins and Buckeyes will square off at T-Mobile Arena before a nationally-televised audience (CBS). North Carolina is set to face Kentucky in the second game of the CBS Sports Classic doubleheader (2:30 p.m. PT). The radio broadcast of UCLA's game in the Los Angeles area will be on AM 570.
Venue: T-Mobile Arena (18,800)
Game Time: 12 p.m. (PT)
TV Talent: Brad Nessler (play-by-play), Bill Raftery (analyst), John Schriffen (sideline)
Radio: AM 570
Radio Talent: Josh Lewin (play-by-play), Tracy Murray (analyst)
SIRIUS/XM Radio Channels: Ch. 81/Ch. 81
SIRIUS App. Channel: Ch. 81
UCLA takes on Ohio State this Saturday at 12 p.m. at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas in the third year of the CBS Sports Classic. Kentucky will face North Carolina in the second game of the doubleheader at 2:30 p.m. The Bruins have compiled a 5-4 all-time record against Ohio State, having won each of the last four contests against the Buckeyes. In five of the last six meetings, including the game this season, one of the teams has been ranked No. 1 or 2, nationally. The Bruins enter this year's contest ranked No. 2 and were ranked No. 1 in games played in 1965, 1968 and 1971.
THREE MORE YEARS
UCLA will participate in the CBS Sports Classic when the event is renewed next season. The Bruins, Kentucky, North Carolina and Ohio State will comprise the field for the next three years. UCLA will face Kentucky on Dec. 23, 2017 in New Orleans (Smoothie King Center), marking the fourth straight year in which the Bruins will play the Wildcats. Dates and locations for the 2018 and 2019 games have not been determined.
LAST TIME OUT
- Freshmen TJ Leaf (25 pts, 10 rbs, 8 ast) and Lonzo Ball (13 pts, 10 rbs, 7 ast) each came close to registering triple-doubles in UCLA's 102-62 win against UC Santa Barbara in Pauley Pavilion on Wednesday. Leaf had 17 points, eight rebounds and six assists by halftime, scoring 14 of his 17 first-half point during UCLA's 17-0 scoring run.
- UCLA reached the 100-point mark for the fifth time in 11 games on Wednesday. Aaron Holiday scored a career-high 20 points and dished a season-best six assists in the Bruins' 40-point win. UCLA had 27 assists, 10 blocks and just eight turnovers, logging at least 21 assists for the ninth time in 11 contests this season.
UCLA SURGES PAST MICHIGAN
- The Bruins outscored Michigan 52-34 in the second half of last Saturday's 102-84 win in Pauley Pavilion. With the game tied 50-50 at the break, UCLA shot 74 percent in the second half (20/27) and made 15 of 17 two-point shots to secure its 10th straight win. TJ Leaf scored 21 points as five UCLA players scored in double figures.
- UCLA improved its all-time record against Michigan to 12-5, becoming the first team since Duke on Dec. 8, 2001, to have eclipsed the 100-point mark against the Wolverines. Last weekend's victory helped UCLA improve to 2-0 against the Big Ten Conference this season (UCLA also defeated Nebraska at Cal State Fullerton, 82-71, on Nov. 25).
- The Bruins shot 67.2 percent against Michigan (39/58), the highest mark by any UCLA team since Dec. 23, 2005 – when UCLA shot 67.3% (37/55) against Sacramento State. UCLA's 62.5 three-point percentage last Saturday was its highest since Nov. 29, 2013 – when the Bruins shot 76.5% from downtown (13/17) against Northwestern.
- After defeating Kentucky (then ranked No. 1) on Dec. 3, the Bruins climbed to the No. 2 spot in each of last week's AP and USA Today Coaches polls. UCLA hadn't been ranked as high as No. 2 since Nov. 26, 2007, when the Bruins were tabbed No. 2 in the AP poll and No. 1 in the USA Today Coaches poll.
- UCLA has opened 11-0 for the first time since 2006-07, when the Bruins began the season with 14 consecutive wins. UCLA's 2006-07 team advanced to the Final Four. With a victory on Saturday afternoon, the Bruins can extend their win streak to 12 games, UCLA's longest such streak since taking 14 straight in February and March of 2008.
- This marks the second consecutive year in which UCLA has defeated Kentucky when the Wildcats were ranked No. 1. UCLA downed Kentucky in Pauley Pavilion, 87-77, on Dec. 3, 2015. One year to the day (Dec. 3, 2016), the Bruins earned a 97-92 win at Kentucky's Rupp Arena, UCLA's first-ever game in that venue.
- UCLA has played the nation's No. 1-ranked team (AP poll) five times during head coach Steve Alford's four seasons in Westwood. The Bruins have played Kentucky each of the last three years (each time in December), with the Wildcats having been ranked No. 1 in both major polls at the time of all three games.
- The Bruins' 97-92 win at Kentucky on Dec. 3 marked UCLA's first win on the road at the nation's No. 1-ranked team since defeating Stanford, 79-73, at Maples Pavilion on Feb. 3, 2001. In fact, UCLA had not played a true road game at the country's No. 1-ranked team since Feb. 13, 2003 (lost at No. 1 Arizona, 106-70).
- UCLA's victory at Kentucky snapped the Wildcats' 42-game win streak in Rupp Arena. Kentucky had not lost at home since a 71-67 overtime setback to Arkansas on Feb. 27, 2014. In addition, the Bruins' 97 points were the most surrendered by any Kentucky team under eighth-year head coach John Calipari (his first season at UK was 2009-10).
- Through Dec. 14, UCLA ranked first in the nation in field goal percentage (56.0), 3-point percentage (45.3), total assists (266) and assists per game (24.2). The Bruins were second in points per game (97.9), assist-turnover ratio (2.03), fifth in defensive rebounds per game (32.18) and seventh in blocks per game (6.6).
- Freshman guard Lonzo Ball ranks second, nationally, in assists per game (8.6), behind Creighton's Maurice Watson Jr. (9.1 apg). Ball has five double-doubles in 11 games, four of the point-assist variety. He finished two rebounds shy of a triple-double in the season opener (Nov. 11) and was three assists away from a triple-double on Wednesday night.
- Freshman Lonzo Ball set UCLA's single-game freshman assists record (13) against UC Riverside on Nov. 30, surpassing Pooh Richardson's 12-assist total set on Jan. 11, 1986, in a double-overtime win at Washington State.
- Ball has nearly as many assists (95) as he does shot attempts (105). He is the only player in the nation to be averaging at least 14.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 8.0 assists per game.
- Ball and Oregon guard Payton Pritchard are the only freshmen in the nation with at least 13 assists in one game this season. Ball had 13 against UC Riverside (Nov. 30) and Pritchard had 13 versus Savannah State (Dec. 3).
- Ball is currently averaging 8.6 assists per game. No other player in the Pac-12 has averaged as many as 6.5 assists per game. Pooh Richardson owns the school's single-season assists per game record (7.6 apg as a senior, 1988-89).
The Bruins (11-0) are off to their best start since opening the 2006-07 campaign with 14 consecutive wins. This marks the 14th time in school history in which UCLA has opened with at least 11 consecutive wins (nine of those previous 13 seasons culminated with a national title). Since head coach John Wooden retired following the 1974-75 season, the Bruins have been 11-0 (or better) four times – 2016-17, 2006-07, 1993-94 and 1991-92.
STARTING FIVE, PLUS ONE
- Bryce Alford ranks No. 20 on UCLA's all-time scoring list. He enters the weekend having scored 1,535 points in 116 career games (13.2 career ppg). Alford has scored in double figures in 10 of 11 games this season and ranks third on the team with 15.5 points per game. He ranks first in the Pac-12 in free throw percentage (89.1, 41/46).
- Isaac Hamilton ranks fifth in the Pac-12 in scoring (17.3 ppg) and ninth in assists per game (3.4). Hamilton has scored at least 12 points in all 11 games this season. Dating back to the start of 2015-16, he has scored in double figures in 40 of UCLA's last 43 contests. He crossed the school's career 1,100-point plateau on Wednesday.
- Lonzo Ball, regarded as a prolific passer, ranks first in the Pac-12 in assists per game (8.6) and assist-turnover ratio (3.4), fifth in three-point field goal percentage (45.8), sixth in made three-pointers per game 2.5) and 10th in field goal percentage (55.4). Ball ranks No. 25, nationally, in assist-turnover ratio (3.4).
- TJ Leaf has scored at least 20 points in a team-best five games and ranks first on the squad and second in the Pac-12 in scoring (18.3 ppg). The freshman has five double-doubles, including a 17-point, 13-rebound game against Kentucky (Dec. 3) and, most recently, a 25-point, 10-rebound effort against UC Santa Barbara (Dec. 14).
- Thomas Welsh ranks seventh in the Pac-12 in field goal percentage (57.3) and is just one block shy of cracking UCLA's top-10 career blocks list (currently at 91 blocked shots). Welsh has registered five double-doubles this season and has made all 14 free throw attempts. He missed UCLA's last two games nursing a bruised right knee.
- Aaron Holiday leads all Pac-12 players in three-point field goal percentage (56.4, 22/39) and ranks fourth in assists per game (4.4). Holiday has come off the bench in each of UCLA's 11 games, most recently scoring a career-high 20 points in the win over UC Santa Barbara (Dec. 14). Holiday has scored in double figures in nine of 11 games.
Seven UCLA players scored in double figures against Pacific (Nov. 11). In addition, six Bruins scored in double figures against San Diego (Nov. 17), Long Beach State (Nov. 20), Portland (Nov. 24) and Kentucky (Dec. 3). Prior to this season, UCLA had not seen seven of its players score in double figures in the same game since Dec. 19, 1998 (UCLA def. CSUN, 114-97). UCLA's previous games with at least six double-figure scorers took place in wins over Montana State (Nov. 14, 2014 – Pauley Pavilion) and against Stanford in overtime (March 4, 2000 – Maples Pavilion, at Stanford).
SHARING THE BALL
UCLA has recorded a season-high 29 assists in three games this year (vs. Pacific on Nov. 11, vs. Portland on Nov. 24 and vs. UC Riverside on Nov. 30). Previously, UCLA had not had as many as 29 assists since Dec. 31, 2006 (vs. Washington). UCLA last reached the 30-assist total in a game on Feb. 23, 1995, recording 32 assists at California (UCLA won, 104-88). The Bruins also had 32 assists on Nov. 27, 1993 (against Loyola Marymount) and on Feb. 23, 1989 (versus Washington). UCLA totaled 38 assists on Dec. 2, 1990 in the team's 149-98 win over Loyola Marymount.
ABOUT OHIO STATE
Under 14th-year head coach Thad Matta, Ohio State enters the weekend with an 8-2 record. Most recently, the Buckeyes defeated Connecticut, 64-60, on Saturday, Dec. 10. Junior forward Jae'Sean Tate has averaged a team-leading 13.9 points per game (and has grabbed 7.3 rebounds per game). Junior center Trevor Thompson has averaged a team-leading 8.6 rebounds per game and is scoring 11.0 points per game (had 17 points, 17 rebounds last Saturday against UConn).
NOW THAT'S IMPROVEMENT
UCLA's top three returning guards – senior Bryce Alford, senior Isaac Hamilton and sophomore Aaron Holiday – have all seen legitimate spikes in their shooting percentages. Alford has shot 46 percent this season (51/111) after entering his senior campaign having shot 39 percent in three seasons. Hamilton is currently shooting 50 percent as a senior (73/145) after having shot 44.5 percent his first two years at UCLA. Holiday leads the trio in field goal percentage (56.2 percent) after having made 39.4 percent of his total shots during his freshman season (2015-16).
LAST TIME SINCE?
Currently averaging 97.9 points per game (the second-best average in the country), UCLA has averaged well above its league-record 92.3 points per game average that was set in 1967-68. The Bruins have not averaged as many as 85.0 points per game since 1994-95 (87.5 ppg) and haven't logged 90.0 or more points per game since 1990-91 (92.3 ppg). In addition, the Bruins are averaging a nation-leading 24.2 assists per game. While the assist was not a formally recorded NCAA statistic until 1983-84, UCLA did set a school record with 22.4 assists per game in 1973-74.
With three wins in four days at the 2016 Wooden Legacy in Orange County, UCLA captured its first outright in-season tournament title since winning the 2007 O'Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic (St. Louis, Mo.). This marked UCLA's first Wooden Legacy championship in two trips to the eight-team tournament. UCLA also played in the event in Nov. 2009 when it was named the 76 Classic. Lonzo Ball had 16 points and 10 assists in UCLA's title victory over Texas A&M.