Monday, January 2, 2017

No. 4 UCLA Returns Home to Host Cal on Thursday

UCLA (14-1, 1-1) will take on California (10-4, 1-1) in Pauley Pavilion this Thursday night.

jan 02, 2017 | ucla men's basketball page | ARTICLE LINK

LOS ANGELES – The Bruins will play California in Pauley Pavilion this Thursday (6 pm, PT) in a nationally-televised contest (ESPN). Last season, UCLA lost its only contest against California, 75-63, at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley, Calif. Both UCLA and California split their first two games of Pac-12 play last week. UCLA has won each of its last four games in Pauley Pavilion against California (2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015) and has posted a 7-2 record at home against the Golden Bears since the 2006-07 season (one of those two losses came at the L.A. Sports Arena in Feb. 2012).

Venue: Pauley Pavilion (13,800)
Tipoff Time: 6:05 p.m. (PT)
Television: ESPN
TV Talent: Dave Pasch (play-by-play), Bill Walton (analyst)
Radio: AM 570
Radio Talent: Josh Lewin (play-by-play), Tracy Murray (analyst)
SIRIUS/XM Radio Channels: Ch. 84/Ch. 84
SIRIUS App. Channel: Ch. 84

The Bruins withstood an early second-half run by Oregon State last Friday to secure a 76-63 win over the Beavers in Corvallis., Ore., at Gill Coliseum. Oregon State tied the game, 38-38, early in the second half, before UCLA used a 9-2 scoring run at the 10-minute mark to pull away for the road win. UCLA's win at OSU came two nights after the Bruins dropped their first game of the year, an 89-87 decision, at No. 21 Oregon. Dillon Brooks nailed a game-winning 3-pointer in the final second of regulation to help the Ducks erase an 82-74 deficit in the game's final four minutes.

Lonzo Ball scored a season-high 23 points and added seven assists and six rebounds in UCLA's 13-point win at Oregon State on Friday. Ball connected on 4 of 8 shots from 3-point range. TJ Leaf recorded his sixth double-double of the year, logging 21 points and 10 rebounds against the Beavers.

Bryce Alford and Thomas Welsh each scored 20 points for UCLA in the team's 89-87 loss at No. 21 Oregon on Dec. 28. The Bruins' season-opening 13-game win streak ended with the Wednesday night loss. That marked the Bruins' longest win streak to open a season since UCLA's 2006-07 started the year 14-0.

Through 15 games, the Bruins have six players who have averaged in double-figure scoring (Leaf, Hamilton, Alford, Holiday, Ball and Welsh). TJ Leaf (17.5), Bryce Alford (16.3), Isaac Hamilton (14.7) and Lonzo Ball (14.3) all rank among the top 20 in Pac-12 in scoring (through Dec. 31). 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 3.5 ratio leads all Pac-12 players).

Freshmen TJ Leaf (17.5 ppg 8.9 rpg) and Lonzo Ball (14.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 8.1 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), ranks first among all Pac-12 players in overall field goal percentage (65.7%) and fourth in scoring. 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. He has scored at least 20 points in two games and dished at least 10 assists in five games.

Senior Bryce Alford ranks No. 14, nationally, among all active players in career points (1,609), through Jan. 1. In fact, Alford is the only player on that list's "top 15" who competes in a Power 5 conference. Alford, who has scored at least 10 points in all but one game, ranks No. 18 on UCLA's career scoring list. As a senior in 2016-17, he has averaged 16.3 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game, shooting 84.5 percent from the free throw line and 47.2 percent from the field. He has averaged 17.8 points per game, shooting 48.4 percent, in the team's last five game.

Sophomore Aaron Holiday has established himself as the conference's premier "sixth man," having averaged 13.9 points, 2.9 rebounds and 4.6 assists in UCLA's 15 games. Holiday has scored in double figures in 12 of 15 games, scoring a career-high 20 points in consecutive wins over UC Santa Barbara (Dec. 14) and Ohio State (Dec. 17). No other player in the Pac-12 has averaged as many points as Holiday has, coming off the bench. He continues to lead the Pac-12 in three-point field goal percentage (50.0%, 29/58) and ranks fourth in assists per game (4.6 apg).

Lonzo Ball has totaled 121 assists in 15 games as a freshman, just 58 behind the school's single-season freshman assists record that was established by Pooh Richardson (179) in 1985-86. Last season, Aaron Holiday finished with 127 assists, which was the highest single-season total by a UCLA freshman since 2009, when Jrue Holiday finished with 129 assists. Ball ranks second, nationally, in assists per game (8.1) behind Creighton senior Maurice Watson Jr. (9.1 apg). Ball set UCLA's single-game freshman assists record (13) against UC Riverside on Nov. 30.

Bryce Alford ranks No. 18 on UCLA's all-time scoring list. He enters Thursday night's game having scored 1,609 career points in 120 games (13.4 ppg). He has scored in double figures in 14 of 15 games this season and ranks second on the team with 16.3 ppg. In addition, he is fifth in the Pac-12 in free throw percentage (84.5%, 49/58).
Isaac Hamilton has averaged at least 10 points per game in each of his three seasons on the court with UCLA. Currently averaging 14.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists, Hamilton has shot 46.5 percent from the field and is third on the team with 33 made 3-pointers. He has scored in double figures in 42 of the Bruins' last 47 games.
Lonzo Ball, who has emerged as a national player of the year candidate, ranks second in the nation in assists per game (8.1), averaging 14.3 ppg and 5.7 rpg. He ranks first in the Pac-12 in assists (121), assists per game (8.1) and assist-turnover ratio (3.5). Through games played Dec. 31, Ball was No. 14 in the country in assist-turnover ratio (3.5).
TJ Leaf has scored at least 20 points in a team-best six games and ranks first on the squad and fourth in the Pac-12 in scoring (17.5 ppg). The freshman has six double-doubles, including a 21-point, 10-rebound game at Oregon State last Friday night (Dec. 30). Leaf leads all Pac-12 players in field goal percentage (65.7%, 111/169).
Thomas Welsh has made 59.1 percent of his total shot attempts (52/88) and currently ranks eighth on UCLA's career blocks list (96). Welsh has registered six double-doubles this season and has made all 18 of his free throw attempts. He missed four games from Dec. 10-21 while recovering from a bruised right knee.
Aaron Holiday leads all Pac-12 players in 3-point field goal percentage (50.0, 28/56), through Dec. 31. He ranks fourth in assists per game (4.6) and has scored in double figures in 12 of 15 games. Last month, he became UCLA's first player since Jordan Adams (Nov. 2012) to score at least 20 or more points off the bench in back-to-back games.

- Through games played Jan. 1, UCLA ranked first in the nation in field goal percentage (54.2), total assists (347) and assists per game (23.1), second in points per game (93.9) and assist-turnover ratio (1.88) and third in total blocks (97). In addition, the Bruins were fourth in 3-point percentage (42.4) and seventh in scoring margin (19.6 ppg).
- With a 102-84 win over Michigan on Dec. 10, the Bruins 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, also picking up neutral site wins over Nebraska (Nov. 25) and Ohio State (Dec. 17).
- 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.

Midway through his third season as California's head coach, Cuonzo Martin has led the Golden Bears to a 10-4 overall record this season. Last weekend, Cal lost at home against Arizona, 67-62, before responding with an 81-65 victory against Arizona State on Sunday night. Cal freshman Charlie Moore (15.3 ppg) and sophomore Ivan Rabb (15.2 ppg, 10.3 rpg) rank 10th and 11th, respectively, in the Pac-12 in scoring. Rabb is second in the conference in rebounds per game and is currently tied for eighth among Pac-12 players in field goal percentage (56.3%, 67/119).

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.

Seniors Bryce Alford and Isaac Hamilton and sophomore Aaron Holiday have seen increases in their shoooting percentages. Alford has shot 47.2 percent this season, having shot 39 percent in his previous three seasons.  Hamilton is currently shooting 46.5 percent as a senior after having logged a 44.5 percentage over his first two years at UCLA. Holiday leads the trio and ranks second among UCLA's guards (51.5%), having made 39.4 percent of his total shots last season.

UCLA ranks second in the nation in scoring (93.9 ppg), through Jan. 1. The Bruins are averaging 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 has not averaged 90.0 or more points per game since 1990-91 (92.3 ppg). UCLA leads the nation in assists per game (23.1). The assist was not an official NCAA stat until 1983-84, but UCLA's school record (22.4 apg) came in 1973-74.

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