Sunday, February 26, 2017

No. 5 UCLA Upends No. 4 Arizona, 77-72

from UCLA Athletics
TUCSON, Ariz. – Bryce Alford scored a team-high 15 points while Lonzo Ball recorded 11 points and eight assists as No. 5 UCLA earned a 77-72 road win at No. 4 Arizona in front of 14,644 at the McKale Center on Saturday night.
UCLA (26-13, 13-3 Pac-12) snapped Arizona's 21-game home winning streak, handing the host Wildcats with their second loss at the McKale Center in their last 72 games.
The Bruins used a balance scoring attack on Saturday night, as five players scored in double figures. Joining Alford and Ball in that category were Thomas Welsh (14 points, eight rebounds), TJ Leaf (12 points) and Aaron Holiday (12 points).
UCLA pushed its win streak to seven games and completed the month of February with a perfect 7-0 record, marking the first time since 1995 in which the Bruins had gone undefeated in February.

In addition, the Bruins registered their fourth consecutive win over a top-five ranked opponent, dating back to last season's home win over No. 1-ranked Kentucky. This marks UCLA's longest such streak versus top-five ranked teams since securing 13 consecutive wins from 1967-68 through 1973-74.

Allonzo Trier led Arizona (26-4, 15-2 Pac-12) with 28 points, connecting on 11 of 14 shots as one of three Wildcats to score in double figures.
"I thought we've been growing defensively," UCLA head coach Steve Alford said. "Everyone wants to keep talking about our defense, but bottom line is we are a really good basketball team."
UCLA trailed by four points at halftime, 43-39, but responded early in the second half. The Bruins took their first lead of the second half after back-to-back jump shots by Welsh with 12:52 to play. Welsh's basket with 12:52 remaining handed UCLA a 54-53 advantage. From that point in the game, the Bruins never trailed.
Leading 56-55 after a layup by Trier, the Bruins countered with a three-pointer by Holiday to push the margin to four points before Ball found Alford for a three-point basket with 9:10 to play.
After a three-pointer from Holiday with 7:56 to go and an ensuing layup by Holiday, UCLA led Arizona by a 67-57 margin with 6:51 remaining.
Arizona cut UCLA's cushion to three points – 75-72 – with 29 seconds to play after Lauri Markkanen made a pair of free throws. On the Bruins' next possession, Alford was fouled and made both of his free throw attempts with 1.5 seconds left.
UCLA finished the game with 17 assists and eight turnovers. Ball had a team-leading eight assists and registered five rebounds and two steals.
Alford made 3 of 7 attempts from three-point range, pushing his season total of made three-pointers to 94. That single-season total set a new school record, eclipsing Alford's sophomore season total of 93 three-pointers.
The Bruins have just two regular-season games remaining, with both to take place in Pauley Pavilion this week. UCLA hosts Washington (9-18, 2-13) on Wednesday evening at 8 p.m. (PT). That contest will be nationally televised on FOX Sports 1 (FS1).
UCLA will close its regular-season schedule on Saturday, March 4, against Washington State. That game will begin at 7:15 p.m. (PT) and will be nationally televised on ESPN.

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