Wednesday, January 25, 2017

No. 7 UCLA Set to Play at USC on Wednesday

The Bruins (19-2, 6-2) are back in action on Wednesday at crosstown rival USC (17-4, 4-4).

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LOS ANGELES – No. 7 UCLA (19-2, 6-2) returns to action at USC (17-4, 4-4) on Wednesday evening. Game time at the Galen Center is 8 p.m. (PT). The crosstown showdown featuring UCLA and USC will be nationally televised on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) with Joe Davis and Jim Jackson calling the action.

Venue: Galen Center (10,258)
Tipoff Time: 8:01 p.m. (PT)
Television: FOX Sports 1 (FS1)
TV Talent: Joe Davis (play-by-play), Jim Jackson (analyst)
Radio: AM 570
Radio Talent: Josh Lewin (play-by-play), Tracy Murray (analyst)
SIRIUS/XM Radio Channel: Ch. 84/Ch. 84
SIRIUS App. Channel: Ch. 84

UCLA has been ranked No. 7 in this week's USA Today Coaches poll and No. 8 in the Associated Press (AP) poll.

The Bruins have won 10 of their last 14 meetings against USC, who swept all three games against the Bruins in 2015-16. UCLA has compiled a 7-3 record against the Trojans at the Galen Center since the Trojans' home arena opened in October 2006. A victory by UCLA at USC can help the Bruins secure their 20th victory of the season, allowing UCLA to reach the 20-win plateau for the 42nd time in its last 51 seasons (1967-2017).

Lonzo Ball scored a season-high 24 points, adding eight assists and six rebounds, as UCLA dropped a 96-85 decision at home to No. 14 Arizona on Saturday afternoon. The loss snapped UCLA's 11-game home win streak and marked the team's second loss in 21 games this season. UCLA had not opened any season with 19 wins in 20 games since beginning its 1991-92 campaign with a 21-2 overall record. Ball finished the week having registered 17.0 points, 10.0 assists and 6.5 rebounds in a pair of games against Arizona State (Jan. 19) and Arizona (Jan. 21).

Senior guards Bryce Alford and Isaac Hamilton have each reached the 30-point plateau in a Pac-12 game this month. Alford scored a career-high 37 points at Colorado (Jan. 12), making 9 of 14 three-pointers. Hamilton recorded a season-high 33 points in UCLA's 102-80 win over Arizona State (Jan. 19) in Pauley Pavilion, connecting on 9 of 14 three-point shots. Both players tied the school record for most made three-pointers in a game (9), previous accomplished by Alford versus SMU in March 2015 and by Jason Kapono at Washington State in January 2003.

Two weeks ago, the Bruins recorded their first Pac-12 "road sweep" since Jan. 2013, earning wins at Colorado (Jan. 12) and Utah (Jan. 19). In six seasons that the Pac-12 has included Colorado and Utah, the Rocky Mountain road sweep has only been accomplished four times – by UCLA in 2013 and 2017 and by Arizona in 2014 and 2015. Against Utah that Saturday, the Bruins overcame a nine-point deficit (51-42) with 16:13 to play in the second half. Aaron Holiday's three-pointer with 1:52 to play gave UCLA an 81-80 cushion (the Bruins never trailed after that point).

Freshmen TJ Leaf (16.8 ppg, 8.9 rpg, 2.7 apg) and Lonzo Ball (14.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 8.0 apg) rank among the top 10 in multiple categories in the Pac-12. Leaf, who was named Pac-12 player of the Week on Dec. 5 and Dec. 19, ranks second in the Pac-12 in field goal percentage (63.6%) and three-point percentage (48.8%). Ball, named Pac-12 Player of the Week on Nov. 28, is the nation's only player averaging at least 10 points, four rebounds and seven assists per game. Through the last four games, he has averaged 15.5 points, 9.0 assists, 5.3 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game.

Lonzo Ball is currently averaging 8.2 assists per game, the highest single-season average in UCLA history. His 172 assists are the most in one season since Kyle Anderson had 233 in 2013-14 (sophomore). In addition, Ball's 172 assists this season rank as the second-highest total ever by a UCLA freshman. Pooh Richardson dished a school-record 179 assists in 29 games as a freshman in 1985-86.

Sophomore Aaron Holiday has established himself as the conference's premier "sixth man," having averaged 13.0 points, 3.1 rebounds and 4.5 assists in 21 games. He has scored in double figures in 16 of 21 games, totaling 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. Through Jan. 22, Holiday ranked fourth in the Pac-12 in three-point percentage (45.7%, 37/81) and in assists per game (4.5 apg).

Bryce Alford ranks No. 13 on UCLA's all-time scoring list (1,726 career points). He scored a career-high 37 points, connecting on nine three-pointers, in UCLA's win at Colorado (Jan. 12). The senior guard has scored in double figures in 19 of 21 games and has registered at least 20 points in five of UCLA's last 10 contests.
Isaac Hamilton scored a season-high 33 points, connecting on 9 of 14 three-pointers, in UCLA's 102-80 win over Arizona State (Jan. 19). Hamilton had 25 points in the first half in that victory. He has averaged 15.0 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. Hamilton ranks third on the team with 50 three-pointers.
Lonzo Ball, who has emerged as a national player of the year candidate, ranks second in the nation in assists per game (8.2). He has shot 54.2 percent overall from the field and has averaged 14.9 points, 5.6 rebounds and 8.2 assists per game. His total of 172 assists is just two shy of the single-season mark (174) at UCLA for any freshman.
TJ Leaf has scored at least 20 points in six games. He ranks second on the team and sixth in the Pac-12 in scoring (16.7 ppg). The freshman has nine double-doubles, including four in Pac-12 action. Through games played Sunday, Jan. 22, Leaf was one of three players in the Pac-12 to rank in the top 10 in scoring and rebounding.
Thomas Welsh (10.2 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 1.8 bpg) has made all 28 of his free throw attempts this season. Most recently, Travis Wear made his first 22 free throw attempts to start the 2013-14 (Wear's senior season). Welsh has recorded 101 career blocks, currently tied for fifth place on UCLA's all-time list with Ryan Hollins (2003-06).
Aaron Holiday has averaged 13.0 points and 4.5 assists, appearing in all 21 games off the bench. Holiday ranks fourth in the Pac-12 in three-point percentage (45.7%, 37/81), through Sunday, Jan. 22. Holiday also ranks fourth in the conference in assists per game (4.5) and is ninth in assist-turnover ratio (1.8).
Ike Anigbogu, a 6-foot-10 forward/center from Corona, Calif., has averaged 4.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 13.1 minutes per game off the bench. Anigbogu has twice scored a season-high nine points and has twice registered a season-high four blocks. He has shot 61.5 percent from the field midway through his freshman season.
- G.G. Goloman has registered 3.8 points and 2.9 rebounds per game, averaging 11.5 minutes off the bench for the Bruins. A 6-foot-10 forward from Körmend, Hungary, Goloman has totaled 16 blocks in 20 games (0.8 bpg). He has shot 60.8 percent from the field and scored a career-high 12 points in UCLA's win over CSUN on Nov. 13.

Through games played on Jan. 21, UCLA led the nation in assists per game (22.3), total assists (468), field goal percentage (53.1), three-point field goal percentage (43.4) and assist-turnover ratio (1.9). In addition, UCLA ranked second in scoring (93.0 ppg) and was fifth in scoring margin (16.4), three-pointers made per game (11.0) and defensive rebounds per game (29.9). UCLA's 102 points against Michigan (Dec. 10), 81 versus California (Jan. 5) and 104 at Colorado (Jan. 12) were the most scored by any team against those respective programs this season.

Midway through his fourth season as USC's head coach, Andy Enfield has helped USC post a 17-4 record this season, including a 4-4 mark in Pac-12 play. Junior Jordan McLaughlin and Elijah Stewart have each averaged 14.1 points per game. Stewart scored 29 points on Sunday in USC's win over Arizona State, connecting on 7 of 13 shots from three-point range. Sophomore Chimezie Metu has registered 13.6 points and a team-leading 7.5 rebounds per game. Metu has averaged a team-high 14.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in the Trojans' eight Pac-12 contests.

UCLA has gone 11-1 in Pauley Pavilion this season. The Bruins' 11-game home win streak was snapped last Saturday with a 96-85 loss to No. 14 Arizona. That had been the Bruins' longest home win streak since securing 15 consecutive home wins in 2013-14, head coach Steve Alford's first season in Westwood. UCLA last had an undefeated home record in 2006-07, going 16-0 in Pauley Pavilion. The Bruins have compiled a 69-13 overall record in Pauley Pavilion since the arena reopened the evening of Nov. 9, 2012, after an 18-month renovation.

UCLA totaled 30 assists in last Thursday's 102-80 win against Arizona State. That marked the Bruins' first game with at least 30 assists since Feb. 23, 1995, when UCLA totaled 32 assists in a 104-88 win over California. The Bruins have also recorded 29 assists in three games this season. Prior to the game against California in 1995, 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.

Bryce Alford ranks first in school history in single-season 3-pointers made and is second in career three-pointers. He made a school-record 93 treys in 2014-15 (sophomore) and has now made 284 career three-pointers, second-most at UCLA behind Jason Kapono (317, played from 2000-03). Alford has made at least 70 three-pointers in three consecutive seasons, only the second player in school history (along with Jason Kapono), to have accomplished that feat.

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