Saturday, September 10, 2016

UCLA Outlasts Brisbane Bullets in Australia, 94-91

game highlights c/o baller vision 2

for complete game go to link 


box score

photo gallery

Aaron Holiday scored 17 points as the Bruins rallied from a double-digit deficit in the second half.

BRISBANE, Australia – Aaron Holiday totaled a team-high 17 points to help the UCLA men's basketball team earn a 94-91 win over the Brisbane Bullets before a capacity crowd at the Logan Metro Indoor Sports Centre on Monday night.

Holiday, who made nine of 10 free throws, was one of four Bruins to score in double figures. Bryce Alford and Isaac Hamilton each had 16 points, while Ike Anigbogu registered 13 points and 10 rebounds, including seven offensive boards.

Thomas Welsh finished two points shy of a double-double, logging eight points and a team-leading 11 rebounds.

Brisbane's Daniel Kickert registered a team-high 17 points for the National Basketball League squad that was playing its first preseason game since resurrecting its organization. The Bullets left the NBL in 2008 and will rejoin the league this season.

UCLA's win came after some an interesting final sequence.

The Bruins led 94-91 after Holiday made a pair of free throws with five seconds to play. Brisbane inbounded the ball and raced down the court before guard Ryan Vines heaved a wild desperation three-point shot, but UCLA's Bryce Alford was whistled for the foul. That sent Vines to the free throw line with a chance to even the score.

Vines missed each of his first two free throw attempts and appeared to intentionally miss the final shot before UCLA'sIke Anigbogu grabbed the rebound to seal the victory.

With Monday night's win, UCLA closed its three-game trip to Australia with two wins and one loss.

"This is what we really needed and wanted in a foreign trip," UCLA head coach Steve Alford said. "Our guys were tested. I'm really glad that we won this last game. Even had we lost, it would have been a really good trip for us. But obviously, I'm glad that our guys got some momentum with this win tonight."

Earlier in their overseas trip, the Bruins earned a 123-76 win at Sydney University on Aug. 23 before dropping an 89-84 decision to the Melbourne United of the NBL on Aug. 27. UCLA's three games in Australia will help the team prepare for its preseason practices in October.

"We're further ahead with what we want to do offensively and with the basis of what we'd like to do on defense," Coach Alford said. "We'll come home with three games of really good film, particularly with those last two games against Melbourne and Brisbane. Between those two games against pro teams, we will have 80 minutes of really good film to show our guys and break down with one month before our preseason gets started."

Monday's victory didn't come easy for UCLA. The host Bullets led throughout much of the first half and entered halftime with a 51-49 cushion, only after Alford nailed a 3-pointer with one second left in the second quarter to trim the gap to two points.

In fact, the Bruins trailed by as many as 11 points with 4:18 to pay in the second quarter. The first quarter featured three lead changes before Brisbane claimed a 19-17 lead with 4:46 remaining. The Bullets never trailed until early in the third quarter.

Down by a 52-51 margin just 25 seconds into the third quarter, Brisbane used a 6-0 scoring run to lead 57-52 and pushed its cushion to as many as 10 points – 66-56 – with five minutes left in the frame.

Anigbogu converted an old-fashioned 3-point play at the 1:07 mark, making the score 71-66 in Brisbane's favor. A basket by Hamilton with one second left in the third followed by another score from Hamilton to open the fourth quarter reduced Brisbane's advantage to 75-73.

But the most notable sequence to lift the Bruins came from Bryce Alford and Lonzo Ball. Alford pulled the trigger on a sensational step-back 3-pointer to tie the game, 79-79, with 7:26 remaining and Ball immediately followed with a deep ball of his own, giving UCLA an 82-79 lead. The Bruins never trailed from that point.

Brisbane twice tied the contest – at 82-82 and 84-84 – before Anigbogu scored with 4:26 remaining to push UCLA ahead, 86-84.

"We didn't play too well in the beginning," Holiday said. "But we started to really dig in during that second half, started to play tougher on defense, and we got going. It's great that we got the win."

Holiday's tenacity on both sides of the ball was critical for the Bruins. The sophomore guard stuffed the stat sheet for UCLA, totaling four rebounds, three blocks, two steals and two assists.

"I thought that he was a pitbull," Coach Alford said. "He really competed. With Isaac in some foul trouble there in the second half, I thought that Aaron really fought through, having to play some extended minutes. He did some great things for us at both ends of the floor."

Monday's win helped the Bruins cap the basketball portion of their 10-day trip abroad. As for Tuesday, the team's final full day in Australia, the surf and sand is on the team's itinerary.

Staying at a hotel adjacent to the shores of the Gold Coast, members of the Bruins' travel party will have opportunities to partake in surfing lessons on Tuesday afternoon.

As for the chance of a "surf-off" contest between any coaches or players?

"Spending the day at Surfer's Paradise, some of us are trying to get a surf-off going between Alec Wulff and Coach Broussard," Coach Alford joked. "And I can't wait to see that."

For the latest updates about the team's trip in Australia, follow the Bruins' official social media accounts in addition to Updates will are being provided on Twitter (@UCLAMBB), Instagram (UCLAMBB), Facebook ( and Snapchat (uclambb).

For all the reports from Australia 2016 go to link. 

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