dec 24, 2016 | ucla men's basketball page | ARTICLE LINK
LOS ANGELES – No. 2 UCLA (13-0) opens its Pac-12 schedule at No. 20 Oregon (11-2) on Wednesday, Dec. 28, in a game that will be nationally televised by ESPN2. The Bruins lead the all-time series against Oregon by an 86-34 margin and have lost their previous two games at Matthew Knight Arena (Jan. 24, 2015 and Jan. 23, 2016). UCLA has compiled a 5-0 mark away from home this season, including one win at then-No. 1 Kentucky and four neutral-site victories.
Venue: Matthew Knight Arena (12,346)
Game Time: 6 p.m. PT
TV Talent: Roxy Bernstein (play-by-play), Bill Walton (analyst)
Radio: AM 1150
Radio Talent: Josh Lewin (play-by-play), Tracy Murray (analyst)
Last season's Pac-12 regular season and tournament champion, Oregon entered 2016-17 as the favorite to win the Pac-12 (as voted in the Pac-12's preseason media poll). Winners of their last nine consecutive games, Oregon was selected No. 5 in each of the preseason AP and USA Today Coaches polls.
The Bruins (13-0) are off to their best start since opening the 2006-07 campaign with 14 consecutive wins. UCLA has opened the season with at least 13 straight victories 12 times, with nine of those campaigns ending with the Bruins winning the NCAA title – and four of those nine championship teams going undefeated (1964, 1967, 1972 and 1973). Since head coach John Wooden retired at the conclusion of the 1974-75 season, UCLA has posted win streaks of 10 games or longer 14 times (including this season's 13-game win streak).
DID YOU KNOW?
UCLA has opened its season with a record of 13-0 or better just four times since Coach Wooden retired after the 1974-75 season – 2016-17, 2006-07, 1993-94 and 1991-92.
Through their 13 non-conference games, the Bruins have six players who have averaged in double-figure scoring (Leaf, Hamilton, Alford, Holiday, Ball and Welsh). TJ Leaf (17.5), Isaac Hamilton (16.8) and Bryce Alford (16.4) all rank among the top seven in the Pac-12 in scoring (through Dec. 23). Seven of UCLA's eight regular contributors have recorded more assists than turnovers, with the only exception being freshman forward/center Ike Anigbogu. Six of those eight Bruins have assist-turnover ratios of 1.6 or higher (Lonzo Ball's 3.4 ratio leads all Pac-12 players).
NO ORDINARY FRESHMEN
Freshmen TJ Leaf (17.5 ppg 9.2 rpg) and Lonzo Ball (13.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 8.3 apg) rank among the top 10 in multiple categories in the Pac-12. Leaf has twice been named the conference's player of the Week (Dec. 5, Dec. 19) and ranks first among all Pac-12 players in overall field goal percentage (65.5%). Ball, named Pac-12 Player of the Week on Nov. 28, is the nation's only player averaging at least 10 points, five rebounds and eight assists per game. Ball and Oregon guard Payton Pritchard are the nation's only freshmen to have recorded at least 13 assists in one game this season.
Senior Bryce Alford ranks No. 13, nationally, among all active players in career points (1,577), through Dec. 23. In fact, Alford is the only player on that list's "top 20" who competes in a Power 5 conference. Alford, who has scored at least 20 points in the Bruins' last two games, ranks No. 18 on UCLA's career scoring list. As a senior in 2016-17, he has averaged 16.4 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game, shooting 87.0 percent from the free throw line and 45.8 percent from the field. He has scored in double figures in 12 of UCLA's 13 games this season.
Senior Isaac Hamilton is one of 99 active players who has scored at least 1,100 career points. The former standout at nearby St. John Bosco High School (Bellflower, Calif.), Hamilton has scored at least 11 points in each of the Bruins' 13 games this season. In fact, Hamilton has scored in double figures in 42 of UCLA's last 45 games, dating to the start of the 2015-16 campaign. He has registered five or more assists in five games and five or more rebounds in five contests. He finished with 17 points and eight rebounds in UCLA's 86-73 win over Ohio State in Las Vegas (Dec. 21).
Freshman Lonzo Ball has nearly as many assists (108) as he does shot attempts (116). Ball ranks second in the nation in assists per game (8.3), trailing Creighton senior guard Maurice Watson Jr. (9.0 apg). Ball, a 6-foot-6 guard from Chino Hills, Calif., set UCLA's single-game freshman assists record (13) against UC Riverside on Nov. 30, surpassing Pooh Richardson's 12-assist total from Jan. 11, 1986 in a double-overtime win at Washington State. Richardson owns the school's single-season assists per game record (7.6 apg as a senior in 1988-89).
STARTING FIVE, PLUS TWO
- Bryce Alford ranks No. 18 on UCLA's all-time scoring list. He enters this Wednesday's game having scored 1,577 points in 118 career games (13.4 ppg). Alford has scored in double figures in 12 of 13 games this season and ranks third on the team with 16.4 points per game. He ranks second in the Pac-12 in free throw percentage (87.0, 47/54).
- Isaac Hamilton is tied for fifth in the Pac-12 in scoring (16.8 ppg) and is tied for eighth in assists per game (3.5). He has scored at least 11 points in all 13 games this year. Dating back to the start of 2015-16, he has scored in double figures in 42 of UCLA's last 45 contests. He crossed the school's career 1,100-point plateau earlier this month.
- Lonzo Ball, regarded as a prolific passer, ranks first in the Pac-12 in assists per game (8.3) and assist-turnover ratio (3.4), ninth in three-point field goal percentage (43.3), seventh in made three-pointers per game (2.2) and 12th in field goal percentage (53.3). Ball ranks No. 16, 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 fourth in the Pac-12 in scoring (17.5 ppg). The freshman has five double-doubles, including a 17-point, 13-rebound game against Kentucky (Dec. 3) and, more recently, a 25-point, 10-rebound effort against UC Santa Barbara (Dec. 14).
- Thomas Welsh has made 57.3 percent of his total shot attempts (43/5) 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 four games nursing a bruised right knee.
- G.G. Goloman has started UCLA's last four games in place of Thomas Welsh (injury) and has played in all but one game for the Bruins during his junior campaign. Goloman, who had six points, six rebounds and three assists in UCLA's most recent game (vs. Western Michigan, Dec. 21), has averaged 5.2 points and 4.0 rebounds per game this year.
- Aaron Holiday leads all Pac-12 players in three-point field goal percentage (51.0, 25/49) and ranks fifth in assists per game (4.3). Holiday, who has scored in double figures in 11 of 13 games, has become UCLA's first player since Jordan Adams in Nov. 2012 to score at least 20 or more points off the bench in back-to-back games.
HIGH MARKS ...
- Through games played Dec. 23, UCLA ranked first in the nation in field goal percentage (55.0), total assists (307) and assists per game (23.6) and second in points per game (95.8) and assist-turnover ratio (1.9). In addition, the Bruins were fourth in the nation in 3-point percentage (42.0) and fifth in scoring margin (21.8 ppg).
- With a 102-84 win over Michigan on Dec. 10, the Bruins improved their all-time record against the Wolverines to 12-5. In fact, UCLA became the first team since Duke on Dec. 8, 2001, to have eclipsed the 100-point mark against the Wolverines. UCLA has compiled a 3-0 record this season against teams from the Big Ten Conference.
- The Bruins shot 67.2 percent against Michigan (39/58), the highest mark by any UCLA team since Dec. 23, 2005, when the team shot 67.3% (37/55) against Sacramento State. UCLA's 62.5 three-point percentage against Michigan was its highest since Nov. 29, 2013, when the team shot 76.5% from downtown (13/17) against Northwestern.
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 THE OREGON DUCKS
Currently in his seventh season as head coach, Dana Altman has led the Ducks to an 11-2 record through non-conference action. Senior Chris Boucher has averaged a team-leading 14.1 points per game (also second on the team with 7.8 rebounds per game), while sophomore Tyler Dorsey has registered 13.5 points per game in all 13 contests. Junior Jordan Bell, among five Ducks scoring in double figures, has grabbed a team-best 8.3 rebounds per game.
Seniors Bryce Alford and Isaac Hamilton and sophomore Aaron Holiday have all seen increases in their shooting percentages. Alford has shot 45.8 percent this season, having shot 39 percent in his previous three seasons. Hamilton is currently shooting 50.3 percent this season after having logged a 44.5 percentage over his first two years at UCLA. Holiday leads the trio this season (55.4 percent) after having made 39.4 percent of his total shots last season.
LAST TIME SINCE?
UCLA ranks second in the nation in scoring (95.8 ppg), through Dec. 23. The Bruins are averaging well above their league-record of 92.3 ppg, set in 1967-68. UCLA has not registered 85.0 ppg since 1994-95 (87.5 ppg) and have not averaged 90.0 or more points per game since 1990-91 (92.3 ppg). UCLA leads the nation in assists per game (23.6). The assist was not an official NCAA stat until 1983-84, but UCLA's school record (22.4 apg) came in 1973-74.