|Lonzo Ball stuffed the stat sheet in Seattle with 22 points, six rebounds, five assists, four steals and one block. The freshman point guard went toe-to-toe against his Washington counterpart, Markelle Fultz, who had 25 points on 9-of-25 shooting. (Michael Zshornack/Assistant Photo editor)|
feb 4, 2017 | derek li | the daily bruin | ARTICLE LINK
The spotlight shined down on the point guard matchup of the season with more than 20 NBA scouts and executives eager to find the next star.
Freshmen guards Lonzo Ball from UCLA and Markelle Fultz from Washington both rose to the top of the 2017 NBA draft rankings this season behind dynamic offensive play.
They didn’t disappoint.
While the No. 11 Bruins (21-3, 8-3 Pac-12) ran away with a 107-66 win over the Huskies (9-14, 2-9), the two guards put on a show for the crowd and the NBA personnel.
The final stat line:
Markelle Fultz finished with 25 points, five 3s, five assists, six rebounds and three steals in 38 minutes. Lonzo Ball put22 points, four 3s, five assists, six rebounds, four steals and one block in 30 minutes and the win.
The game showcased each player’s elite offensive abilities and several sequences in which the two went head-to-head.
Early in the game, Ball blocked a Fultz 3-point attempt and took it to the other end for an easy layin.
Then in the second half, they displayed their shooting range in a back-to-back-to-back 3-play sequence. Ball hit a 3, then Fultz responded with one of his own before Ball capped it off from beyond NBA range.
Neither stood heads and shoulders above the other, so the difference in the game came down to the supporting class.
Freshman forward T.J. Leaf put up a 20-point and 10-rebound double-double. Senior guard Bryce Alford drained in five 3s for 21 points, and sophomore guard Aaron Holiday provided a 20-point spark off the bench.
UCLA shot 60.6 percent from the field and held Washington to just 38.5 percent. Outside of Fultz, no Husky scored more than 10 points. The Bruins also outrebounded the Huskies 41-29.
For all the NBA scouts taking notes, Ball and Fultz probably both held their spots on top of the draft board.
Perhaps they jotted down a note that Ball leads one of the top teams in the nation, while Fultz heads a squad on the other end of the spectrum.