Thursday, February 2, 2017

No. 8 UCLA Earns 95-79 Win at Washington State


PULLMAN, Wash. – TJ Leaf scored a career-high 32 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to lead No. 8 UCLA past Washington State, 95-79, in Beasley Coliseum on Wednesday night.

Leaf connected on 14 of 18 shots from the field, recording the second highest single-game point total of any UCLA freshman in program history. He became the first Bruins' freshman with at least 30 points in a game since Bryce Alford scored 31 against Oregon on Feb. 27, 2014.

Thomas Welsh finished with 17 points, Lonzo Ball scored 14 and Aaron Holiday had 13 to help UCLA (20-3, 7-3) snap a two-game skid in what was the Bruins' first game in seven days.

Ball totaled seven assists, pushing his season total to 183 and setting a new UCLA single-season freshman assists record. His fourth assist of the game, to Leaf early in the second half, helped him break past Pooh Richardson's record of 179 assists (from the 1985-86 season).

Welsh made 8 of 10 shots and finished Wednesday night's win with six rebounds.

Ike Iroegbu scored a team-leading 20 points for Washington State (11-11, 4-6 Pac-12). The host Cougars also received 16 points from Conor Clifford and 15 from Josh Hawkinson.

UCLA led 44-34 at halftime, but Washington State closed the gap to 46-43 with a 7-2 scoring run within the first two minutes of the second half. The Cougars made each of their first five three-point attempts after halftime to close the gap.

Washington State never got closer than three points, trailing 58-55 with 12:28 to play, before UCLA used an 8-2 run over the game's next two minutes to secure a 66-57 cushion. After a jump shot from Iroegbu, the Bruins countered with a layup from G.G. Goloman and a pair of free throws from Bryce Alford to push their advantage to 11 points (70-59) at the 8:31 mark.

Leaf's impressive performance came on a night in which freshman Ike Anigbogu (day-to-day) was unavailable to play, nursing minor discomfort in his right knee. Leaf scored 16 points in the first half and had nine rebounds by halftime.

In the first half, UCLA used a 14-4 scoring run over a 5-minute, 46-second span to claim a 33-23 lead at the 5:59 mark. The scoring run began with a steal and dunk from Ball and was capped by a three-pointer from Holiday.

UCLA shot 58 percent from the field (38-for-66) and tallied 21 assists. The Bruins' defense forced 14 turnovers, including eight steals (five by Ball).

The Bruins will continue their two-game road swing on Saturday, Feb. 4, when they face Washington. Game time in Seattle is slated for 7:30 p.m. (PT). UCLA's game will be televised on Pac-12 Network.

Game Notes: Lonzo Ball recorded five steals for the second time this season … Ball also had five steals in a road victory at Utah on Jan. 14 … TJ Leaf's 32 points were the most by any UCLA freshman since Bryce Alford scored 31 points in a double-overtime loss to Oregon on Feb. 27, 2014 in Pauley Pavilion … UCLA's single-game record for points in a game by a freshman is 41, set by Don MacLean against North Texas (Dec. 30, 1988) … Leaf has scored in double figures in 22 of the Bruins' 23 games … Leaf's 14 field goals made on Wednesday are the most by any UCLA player since Jan. 4, 2003, when Jason Kapono made 14 shots in a victory at Washington State.

Lastly...The Box

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