Monday, February 12, 2018

UCLA cannot hang with ASU. Loses in Tempe 88-79.


TEMPE, Ariz. – Aaron Holiday scored 20 points and Thomas Welsh added 14 as UCLA dropped an 88-79 decision at Arizona State before 14,025 at Wells Fargo Arena on Saturday.

UCLA (17-8, 8-5 Pac-12) had a four-game winning streak snapped and trailed the Sun Devils (19-6, 7-6) at halftime by a 40-32 margin. The Bruins never were able to tie the game or take the lead in the second half.

Gyorgy Goloman and Kris Wilkes rounded out the Bruins' list of double-figure scorers, recording 11 points each.

Arizona State's three starting guards – Tra Holder (22 points), Shannon Evans II (23 points) and Kodi Justice (17 points) – accounted for 62 of the Sun Devils' 88 total points.

"Those three [ASU] guards got away from us," UCLA head coach Steve Alford said. "Those three are very talented guards and they had it going. There was a stretch in the first half where we had a pretty good rhythm, and we then had a bad stretch in the first half, offensively. We took some quick shots instead of working on getting the ball inside."

Holiday recorded his ninth 20-point performance in 13 Pac-12 contests. The junior guard from Chatsworth, Calif., scored just three points in the first half before totaling 17 points after halftime. Holiday shot 6-for-15 from the field and 4-for-10 from three-point range.

UCLA never got any closer than eight points in the second half despite shooting 50 percent against Arizona State (17-for-34) after the intermission.

ASU led by as many as 16 points late in the second half (75-59, 3:54) before the Bruins used a 9-2 scoring run and consecutive three-point baskets by Holiday with roughly two minutes to play in the contest.

Arizona State withstood the Bruins' late run by making 11 free throws in the final two minutes. In all, ASU shot 89.3 percent from the free throw line (25-for-28).

The host Sun Devils led 40-32 at halftime after using an 11-0 scoring run on three consecutive three-pointers during a two-minute span, securing a 29-22 advantage with 7:33 to play. Evans II and Justice combined to score 22 first-half points, leading the way for Arizona State.

UCLA shot the ball well in the opening minutes of the first half, sinking seven of 10 field goal attempts. Welsh had seven of his 14 points in the game's first six minutes, helping the Bruins secure a 12-7 cushion with 15:39 to play before halftime.

The Bruins shot 45 percent from the field on Saturday (30-for-66), but made just 31 percent (8-for-26) of their three-point shots.

UCLA will return home next week to play its final two regular-season home games, before embarking upon a three-game road trip. The Bruins host Oregon State on Thursday in Pauley Pavilion, before taking on Oregon on Saturday, Feb. 17.

UCLA's game against Oregon State will begin on Thursday at 8 p.m. That game will be nationally televised by FS1.

The Bruins' final regular-season home game on Saturday, Feb. 17, will begin at 7:15 p.m. (TV: ESPN).

The Box

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