Friday, January 6, 2017

In The Battle of the Cali Bears, No. 4 UCLA Outlasts California, 81-71

jan 05, 2017 | ucla men's basketball page | ARTICLE LINK

LOS ANGELES – Bryce Alford scored a game-high 24 points and TJ Leaf finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds as No. 4 UCLA outlasted California, 81-71, before a sellout crowd of 13,659 in Pauley Pavilion on Thursday.

Alford made 5 of 7 shots from three-point range and 8 of 13 total shots to help UCLA (15-1, 2-1 Pac-12) secure the victory in its first Pac-12 home game of the season.

California's Ivan Rabb registered 17 points and a game-high 20 rebounds, as one of four Golden Bears to score in double figures. Grant Mullins connected on 5 of 8 three-pointers and finished with a team-leading 19 points.

Lonzo Ball had 14 points and seven assists for UCLA, and Thomas Welsh totaled 10 points, rounding out the Bruins' list of four double-digit scorers.

Alford scored 16 of his 24 points before halftime, having made each of his first four three-point attempts.

After the Bruins raced to a 44-24 lead by halftime against California (10-5, 1-2), UCLA pushed its margin to as many as 24 points with less than 14 minutes to go. The visiting Golden Bears cut their deficit to five points – 76-71 – with 43 seconds to go, but the Bruins held on for the 10-point win.

"There were a lot of lessons in this game that I'm excited about," UCLA head coach Steve Alford said. "This is a team that has to continue to learn things. We probably shot the ball and scored close to the fewest points in a half, but that's probably our worst shooting second half. This is a very good defensive team. They hang their hat defensively, and I think that we learned a valuable lesson."

UCLA shot nearly 52 percent in the first half, making 17 of 33 shots, to secure a 20-point halftime cushion.

Leading 10-9 with 14:56 to play in the opening half, the Bruins used a 16-3 lead to create some separation. UCLA's first-half scoring run included a highlight-reel dunk over a defender by Leaf at the 12:26 mark.

In the second half, a pair of free throws from Leaf before a steal and fastbreak layup from Ball at the 13:43 mark put UCLA ahead by a 56-32 margin, the team's largest lead of the night.

The Bruins finished Thursday night's game having shot 43.5 percent from the field, recording 18 assists, seven steals and six blocked shots.

UCLA will return to action against Stanford (8-7, 0-3 Pac-12) on Sunday, Jan. 8. Game time in Pauley Pavilion is 5 p.m. (PT). The Bruins' game will be nationally televised by Fox Sports 1 with Aaron Goldsmith and Steve Lavin calling the action.

And here's The Box

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