Tuesday, March 7, 2017

No. 3 UCLA Set for Pac-12 Tournament

The Bruins (28-3) will open Pac-12 Tournament play in Las Vegas on Thursday.
from Yahoo Sports link

LOS ANGELES – No. 3 UCLA (28-3, 15-3) will open its Pac-12 Tournament schedule on Thursday evening against the winner of Wednesday's first-round meeting between No. 6-seed USC and No. 11-seed Washington. UCLA, the tournament's No. 3 seed, will play on Thursday at 8:30 pm (PT) before a nationally-televised audience (ESPN) at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The Bruins are seeking their first Pac-12 Tournament title since 2014. Last week, UCLA closed its regular season with consecutive home wins against Washington (98-66, March 1) and Washington State (77-68, March 4).
- Entering the Pac-12 Tournament this week with a 28-3 overall record, UCLA has tied its school record for most regular-season wins (28), previously accomplished by the Bruins' 2007-08 team. This year's team has won its last nine straight games after dropping back-to-back contests against Arizona (Jan. 21) and at USC (Jan. 25).
- The Bruins have defeated every team on their schedule, having avenged losses to Oregon, Arizona and USC with wins over those respective Pac-12 teams in February rematches. During the team's nine-game win streak, UCLA has averaged 89.2 points per game while limiting the opposition to just 70.6 points per game.
- UCLA has gone 12-2 away from home this season, including a 4-0 record in neutral site games. The Bruins became the only team to have ever won games in the same season against Kentucky at Rupp Arena (Lexington, Ky.) and versus Arizona in the McKale Center (Tucson, Ariz.). Kentucky was ranked No. 1 in the nation, while Arizona was ranked No. 4.
- The Bruins secured three Pac-12 "road sweeps," picking up road wins at Colorado and Utah (Jan. 12, 14), at Washington State and Washington (Feb. 1, 4) and at Arizona State and Arizona (Feb. 23, 25). UCLA is the only Pac-12 school to have ever swept road series at Colorado/Utah and Arizona State/Arizona in the same season.
- Currently ranked No. 3 in the AP and USA Today Coaches polls, UCLA has been ranked in the top 10 in both of the major polls in 13 of 17 weeks this season (does not include preseason poll). The Bruins have been ranked in the top 5 in one of the major polls in 11 of 17 weeks, ascending to as high as No. 2 in both polls for four weeks in December.
- The Bruins went 7-0 through the month of February and were the Pac-12's only program to have logged a perfect record that month. No UCLA team had gone undefeated in February since the 1994-95 squad went 9-0. UCLA's 1995 team finished the season with six consecutive NCAA Tournament wins to secure the NCAA Championship.
- UCLA (3-2) is one of three schools, along with Kansas (3-0) and Virginia (3-2), to have won at least three games against top-10 RPI opponents. The Bruins earned wins against Kentucky (RPI, No. 7), Oregon (RPI, No. 8) and Arizona (RPI, No. 9), as of March 5. In addition, UCLA did not lose to any teams with an RPI above 40 (25-0 record).
- The Bruins lead the nation in points per game (91.3), overall field goal percentage (52.6%), assists per game (21.7), total assists (674) and assist-turnover ratio (1.90). UCLA has registered the nation's fourth-best scoring margin (16.3 ppg) and ranks third in three-point percentage (41.5%) and sixth in defensive boards per game (29.5).
- The Bruins have averaged a nation-leading 21.7 assists per game, the highest per-game average of any NCAA Division I team since 1996, when Kentucky captured the NCAA Championship while tallying 21.8 assists per game. UCLA has logged at least 20 assists in 20 of 31 games, including a season-high 30 against Arizona State (Jan. 19).
- Through the Pac-12 Conference season, UCLA ranked third in the Pac-12 (league games only) in field goal percentage defense (42.7%) and fifth in three-point percentage defense (36.1%). During UCLA's nine-game win streak, opponents have shot 41.5% from the field against UCLA and 34.2% from beyond the three-point arc.
- UCLA has gone 21-14 all-time in the conference tournament, including a four-year span from 1987 through 1990. Since the tournament resumed in 2002, UCLA has gone 15-11 (spanning 15 tournament appearances). The Bruins have reached the tournament's championship game six times, capturing four titles (1987, 2006, 2008, 2014).
- UCLA has advanced to the tournament's semifinal round 11 times, including consecutive appearances in 2013, 2014 and 2015. In those 11 games, the Bruins have posted a 6-5 record. Since the tournament moved to Las Vegas in 2013, UCLA has gone 6-3. That includes one tournament title in 2014 and one runner-up finish in 2013.
- Senior Bryce Alford and freshmen Lonzo Ball and TJ Leaf have earned first-team All-Pac-12 honors. Ball was named the conference's Freshman of the Year and joined Leaf on the Pac-12's five-person All-Freshmen Team.
Bryce Alford (team-high 16.5 ppg) has moved into the No. 5 slot on UCLA's all-time scoring list (1,874 points) and is tied with Jason Kapono for the No. 1 spot on UCLA's career three-pointers list (317).
- With multiple year-end awards and All-America selections anticipate for release this week, Lonzo Ball has already captured first-team All-America honors from USA Today, The Sporting News and NBC Sports.
Lonzo Ball (14.9 ppg, 6.2 rpg, 7.8 apg) is one of 15 finalists to the national ballot for this season's John R. Wooden Award. He's also among 10 semifinalists for the Naismith Trophy (selected by the Atlanta Tipoff Club).
TJ Leaf (16.3 ppg, 8.7 rpg) is one of just three players in the Pac-12 – along with Stanford's Reid Travis and Utah's Kyle Kuzma – to rank among the league's top 10 leaders in both scoring and rebounding.
Lonzo Ball and TJ Leaf are UCLA's first freshmen to earn first-team All-Pac-12 acclaim since Shabazz Muhammad in 2013. Other UCLA freshmen in the 2000s to accomplish that feat are Kevin Love (2008) and Jason Kapono (2000).
- Senior guards Bryce Alford (16.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.6 apg) and Isaac Hamilton (13.7 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.9 apg) have both started in each of UCLA's last 99 games – that's every game since the start of UCLA's 2014-15 campaign.
- Named the nation's "Best Sixth Man" this week by BleacherReport.com, sophomore Aaron Holiday (13.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 4.3 apg) has scored in double figures in 23 games, coming off the bench in all 31 contests.
- One of six UCLA players who has averaged in double-figure scoring, junior Thomas Welsh (10.6 ppg, 8.7 rpg) has recorded eight double-doubles (three in Pac-12 play) and ranks seventh in the Pac-12 in FG percentage (57.5%).
Bryce AlfordIsaac Hamilton and TJ Leaf have each scored at least 32 points this season, with all three performances taking place in Pac-12 play. Alford had a career-high 37 points at Colorado (Jan. 12), Hamilton recorded a season-high 33 points versus Arizona State (Jan. 19) and Leaf had 32 points at Washington State (Feb. 1). In all, six Bruins – including Lonzo BallThomas Welsh and Aaron Holiday – have scored at least 20 points in a game this season.
Lonzo Ball has established new single-season freshman assist records, both in the Pac-12 and UCLA. With a season-high 14 assists last Saturday night in UCLA's 77-68 victory against Washington State, Ball moved past Gary Payton's previous record of 229 assists (set during the 1986-87 season at Oregon State). Ball has averaged a nation-bets 7.8 assists per game, which currently stands as the best single-season average in school history. Pooh Richardson registered 7.61 assists per game as a senior at UCLA in 1988-89 (236 assists in 31 games).
Bryce Alford ranks No. 5 on UCLA's all-time scoring list (1,874 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 26 of 31 games and shot 49.3 percent from three-point range in UCLA's 18 Pac-12 games (68/138).
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). He totaled 25 points in the first half in that victory. He has averaged 13.7 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. Hamilton is one of four Bruins to have made at least 50 three-pointers this year.
Lonzo Ball, a National Player of the Year Candidate, leads the nation in assists per game (7.8) and total assists (241). Averaging 14.9 ppg and 6.2 rpg, Ball's 241 assists are the most in one season by a Pac-12 freshman. He ranks second on UCLA's single-season assists list (Larry Drew II set the school record with 256 assists in 2012-13).
TJ Leaf has scored at least 20 points in nine games. He ranks seventh in the Pac-12 in scoring (16.3 ppg) and eighth in rebounding (8.4 rpg), through March 5. Leaf scored a season-high 32 points and had 14 rebounds in the win at Washington State (Feb. 1), making 14 of 18 field goal attempts. He has totaled a team-leading 11 double-doubles.
Thomas Welsh (10.6 ppg, 8.7 rpg, 1.4 bpg) has made 30 of 32 free throw attempts. Welsh made 7 of 10 shots, totaling 14 points and eight rebounds, in UCLA's 77-72 win at No. 4 Arizona on Saturday, Feb. 25. He has scored in double figures in 17 of 27 games played, logging a career-high-tying 16 rebounds against USC on Saturday, Feb. 18.
Aaron Holiday has averaged 13.0 points, 4.3 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game, appearing in all 31 games off the bench. He ranks third in the Pac-12 in three-point percentage (43.1%, 50/116) and fifth in assists per game (4.3) through March 4. Holiday's 42.6 career three-point percentage (177/479) ranks fifth on UCLA's all-time list.
Ike Anigbogu, (pronounced EE-kay ahn-ee-BOH-goo) a 6-foot-10 forward/center from Corona, Calif., has averaged 4.9 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 13.2 minutes per game off the bench. He scored a career-high 12 points in the win at Arizona State (Feb. 23) and has twice recorded a career-high four blocks.
- G.G. Goloman has averaged 3.8 points and 2.6 rebounds per game, averaging 11.7 minutes off the bench for the Bruins. A 6-foot-10 forward from Körmend, Hungary, Goloman has totaled 25 blocks in 30 games (0.83 bpg). Goloman, who has shot 55.3 percent from the field, scored a career-high 12 points in a win over CSUN (Nov. 13).
Bryce Alford ranks first (and second) in school history in single-season three-pointers and is tied for first in career three-pointers with Jason Kapono (317). This season, Alford has made a school-record 104 treys, breaking the single-season record of 93 that he set as a sophomore in 2014-15. He has tallied at least 70 three-pointers in three consecutive seasons, becoming just the second player in school history (along with Jason Kapono), to have accomplished that feat.
The Bruins have made at least one 3-point attempt in each of their previous 683 games. The last game UCLA played in which it didn't make a 3-pointer was against Stanford on Feb. 3, 2000. UCLA has made a school-record 314 three-pointers this season, needing just 36 more to tie the Pac-12 Conference team record of 350, set by Oregon during the 2006-07 season.
UCLA went 16-1 at home this season, equaling its record in Pauley Pavilion during the 2014-15 season. The Bruins opened their home schedule with 11 consecutive wins before losing to Arizona on Jan. 21. That had been the Bruins' longest home win streak since winning 15 straight in 2013-14. UCLA last had an undefeated home record during its 2006-07 season, going a perfect 16-0 in Pauley Pavilion. The Bruins have gone 74-13 in Pauley Pavilion since the arena reopened on Nov. 9, 2012, after having been closed for an extensive 18-month renovation.
Head coach Steve Alford has led UCLA to at least 20 victories for the third time in his four seasons at UCLA. Over his last 10 years as a collegiate head coach, Alford's teams have won at least 22 games in nine of those 10 seasons (including the 2016-17 campaign). This marks the second time in four years at UCLA in which Alford has led the Bruins to at least 23 regular-season victories. UCLA went 23-8 during the 2013-14 regular season before posting a 5-1 record in postseason play, culminating in the 2014 NCAA Tournament's Sweet 16.
This marks the 42nd season in the last 51 years in which the Bruins have won at least 20 games (spanning 1966-67 through 2016-17). The Bruins tied the school record this season for most regular-season victories (28), a feat previously accomplished by the UCLA team in 2007-08.
UCLA totaled 15 victories in league play for the first time since finishing the 2007-08 conference schedule with a 16-2 record. The Bruins have not won as many as seven Pac-12 road games since closing the 2007-08 regular season with an 8-1 mark away from home in conference action. UCLA is seeking its 29th win on Thursday night in Las Vegas. No UCLA team has won as many as 29 games since the 2007-08 team posted a 35-4 overall record.
UCLA totaled 30 assists in its 102-80 win over Arizona State on Thursday, Jan. 19. 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.

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