|Sophomore guard Aaron Holiday added 10 points and four steals for the Bruins off the bench, including back-to-back 3s to give them the lead over the Buckeyes. (Miriam Bribiesca/Photo editor)|
Men’s basketball leads Ohio State 40-37 at halftime despite turnovers
dec 17, 2016 | derrek li | the daily bruin | ARTICLE LINK
LAS VEGAS – No. 2 UCLA (11-0) has made a name for itself this season for its fast offense featuring well-orchestrated ball movement.
At least for one half against the Ohio State Buckeyes (8-2) on Saturday, it’s a completely different Bruin team on the court.
While UCLA leads 40-37 at halftime, the identity of the team is nowhere to be found.
With 12 first-half turnovers, the Bruins are on pace for the most turnovers given away all season – the current season-high is 20. And with just nine assists, the men’s basketball team is also on its way to tying its lowest assist total of the year – 18.
Coach Steve Alford can’t be happy in the locker room. The assist-to-turnover ratio is something he often points to after games as a measure of how well the offense flowed. If the current pace holds, this will also be UCLA’s first game with more turnovers than assists.
Fresh off a near triple-double effort Wednesday night, freshman forward TJ Leaf is the main culprit with four turnovers off errant passes and relentless Ohio State defense. The Buckeyes had nine steals at the half and a 15-10 advantage in points off turnovers.
While sophomore guard Aaron Holiday provided an instant spark off the bench with 10 points and four steals, he turned the ball over three times himself.
Outside of turnovers, the Bruins shot the ball well – 51.7 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from 3 – but couldn’t stop the Buckeyes’ 48.5 clip from the field.
UCLA turned around a turnover-ridden first half to put away Ohio State down the stretch. Freshman point guard Lonzo Ball flirted with a triple-double before finishing with eight points, nine assists and nine rebounds. (Miriam Bribiesca/Photo editor)
Offense gains pace in second half, UCLA wins against Ohio State 86-73
DEC 17, 2016 | DERREK LI | THE DAILY BRUIN | ARTICLE LINK
LAS VEGAS – Once No. 2 UCLA tightened up its dribbles, stopped throwing errant passes and started moving around, the offense started humming again.
The Bruins turned the ball over 12 times in the first half, but quickly cleaned it up after halftime. With just three more turnovers in the second half, UCLA (12-0) kept Ohio State (8-3) at arms-length en route to a 86-73 win to stay perfect on the season.
“In the first half, we were standing around too much, coach told us at halftime,” said freshman guard Lonzo Ball. “We came back out there with some movement, picked up the pace and things fell into place.”
The four-guard rotation of Ball, sophomore Aaron Holiday, senior Bryce Alford and senior Isaac Hamilton combined for 65 points. For the second straight game, Ball crept near triple-double territory with eight points, nine assists and nine rebounds.
With freshman forward/center Ike Anigbogu in foul trouble late in the second half, coach Steve Alford turned to his trusted four-guard lineup to close out the game.
“We got four elite guards and you have to prepare at a high level for all four of those guards,” Alford said. “Very very smart, outstanding ball handlers, outstanding decision makers. All four of them are tough – not afraid to make a play, take a shot. All four of them can make shots, all four of them make free throws so when you got a lead, that’s what you want to have.”
Holiday and Bryce Alford tied for game-high honors with 20 points a piece while freshman forward TJ Leaf finished with 13 points and 8 rebounds.
Often considered the sixth-starter of the team, Holiday usually brings with him a pace and hustle that has come to define this UCLA team as the first player off the bench.
Against the Buckeyes, he finished with five steals and 10 free throw attempts in just 25 minutes.
“It’s better to get the ball moving and just be quicker out there,” Holiday said. “Most guys can’t really guard us.”
After taking just a 3-point lead into halftime, the Bruins outpaced the Buckeyes in the second half 46 to 36 despite shooting just 45.7 percent from the field and 23.5 percent from the 3s.
Of course, not turning the ball over 12 times in 20 minutes helped. In fact, UCLA turned the tables around and forced 10 Ohio State turnovers in the second half.
Senior Isaac Hamilton had 17 points, eight rebounds and three assists in UCLA's win over Ohio State. The guard lobbed a ball up to freshman Lonzo Ball late in the second half for a dunk that put the game out of reach for the Buckeyes. (Miriam Bribiesca/Photo editor)
Four-guard teamwork propels UCLA to victory against Ohio State
DEC 17, 2016 | tuanh dam | THE DAILY BRUIN | ARTICLE LINK
LAS VEGAS – It wasn’t just the Lonzo Ball show against Ohio State.
Ball, who flirted with a triple-double for the second straight game, was relatively quiet by his lofty standards – eight points, nine rebounds and nine assists.
Instead, it was the play of the other three UCLA guards – sophomore Aaron Holiday, senior Bryce Alford and senior Isaac Hamilton – that helped catapult the No. 2 Bruins (12-0) to their 12th straight win.
Freshman forward/center Ike Anigbogu picked up his fourth foul with eight minutes to go in the second half and with junior center Thomas Welsh still out with a bruised knee, coach Steve Alford turned to old-reliable: his four-guard lineup.
“That’s the beauty of this team,” Ball said. “We’ve got a lot of different things we can go with, and it’s just another way we can get five on the court and play together.”
The four guards combined for 65, including the team’s last 21 points of the game, in the 86-73 win over the bigger Ohio State (8-3) team.
Powered by Holiday, who had 20 points, four rebounds and a game-high five steals off the bench, the Bruins used scrappy plays and nifty steals down the stretch to pull away from the Buckeyes.
In the second half, Ohio State’s Junior center Trevor Thompson snagged a defensive rebound with eight minutes left in the game, giving the Buckeyes a chance to cut into UCLA’s six-point lead.
But Hamilton stole the ball before Thompson could clear it from under the basket, grabbed an offensive rebound off his missed jumper and dished it out to Holiday who drew the foul and sunk a pair of free throws to push the lead back up to eight.
Although they shot 48.4 percent from the field, the Bruins ultimately grabbed momentum and cemented their lead by cleaning up the turnovers – just three in the second half compared with 12 in the first – with the guards’ crisper ball movement.
“It’s obviously better to get the ball moving and just be quicker out there, so most guys like them, big guards can’t really guard us,” Holiday said.
The smaller, quicker guards went head-to-head with Ohio State’s post players, keeping them off-balance with drives to the basket for easy layups and then stretching the floor for the long-range three-point shot.
The Bruins finished with a 34-32 edge in points in the paint as well as a 41-31 rebounding advantage leading to 13 second chance points.
They also made five more 3s than the Buckeyes who shot just 20 percent from beyond the arc.
“The three defense has been a lot better in the last two games and we really came into this game worried about the backboard, because this is a big, physical, rebounding team,” Steve Alford said. “We come in and out-rebound them by 10, and I think that was a key.”
Yes, Ball led the team in rebounds with a game-high nine rebounds.
But his fellow guards chipped in 14 more and added seven assists, including a Holiday to Hamilton to Ball alley-oop sequence to put the game out of reach.
And with just one game to go before Pac-12 play, Steve Alford likes his chances with the guards he has.
“We have four elite guards and you have to prepare at a high level for all four of those guards,” Steve Alford said. “If we can get leads, I like our chances at the end.”