Saturday, December 30, 2017

UCLA Opens Pac-12 Play With 96-82 Win Over WSU


LOS ANGELES – Aaron Holiday and Thomas Welsh each joined 1,000-point club and recorded double-doubles to lead UCLA to a 96-82 win over Washington State in the Pac-12 opener on Friday night.

Holiday, a 6-foot-1 guard from nearby Chatsworth, Calif., led all players with a career-high 33 points, including 23 in the first half. He also finished with a career-best 11 rebounds, four assists and zero turnovers in the Bruins' third straight.

"I thought we scored at a very high level and valued the basketball with only seven turnovers in our conference opener at home," UCLA head coach Steve Alford said. "We had some good growth tonight."

Holiday became the 55th UCLA player to record 1,000 career points, doing so on a three-pointer with 7:42 remaining in the first half to give UCLA a 27-22 lead.

With 33 points, including a career-high five three-pointers made, Holiday recorded his first double-double of the year and second of his career.

Welsh joined Holiday in the 1,000-point club in the second half, earning his 1,000th career point on a free throw to put UCLA up 81-71 with 3:16 to play. The senior center from nearby Redondo Beach, Calif., finished the game with 12 points and 14 rebounds for his ninth double-double of the year (the 28th double-double of his career).

"They've been playing well all year," Coach Alford said about Welsh and Holiday. "You just want them to be successful and keep growing. You look at their lines – Thomas had another double-double with three assists and no turnovers, while Aaron scores 33, has 11 rebounds with four assists and no turnovers."

With the win on Friday evening, UCLA improved to 43-5 against Washington State since the start of the 1993-94 season.

UCLA (10-3, 1-0 Pac-12) used a 6-0 run early in the second half to turn a three-point advantage into a quick nine-point lead, but Washington State (8-5, 0-1) stayed close thanks to three-point shooting by Carter Skaggs, who hit four three-pointers in four and a half minutes to close to within two, 64-62, with 9:38 to play.

The Bruins followed with a 13-2 scoring run that culminated with back-to-back three-pointers and a layup by Hands, extending UCLA's cushion to 77-64 with 5:07 to play.

UCLA led Washington State throughout the first half. The Bruins scored the game's first points before using a 6-0 run to lead, 14-5, after a layup by Holiday, a three-pointer from Holiday and a layup from Welsh.

Washington State got to within one, 29-28, with 5:33 to play in the half, but back-to-back three-pointers by Holiday and Kris Wilkes helped solidify UCLA's lead, and the Bruins went into the half up 42-37.

Joining Holiday and Welsh in double-figure scoring were Hands (19 points) and Wilkes (14 points).

Robert Franks led Washington State with 20 points and eight rebounds.

UCLA will close out its 2017 calendar year on Sunday evening, hosting Washington State on New Year's Eve. Game time in Pauley Pavilion is 5 p.m. (PT). UCLA's game against the Huskies (11-3, 1-0) will be televised by the Pac-12 Network. The radio broadcast will be available in the Los Angeles area on AM 1150. 

The Box

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