Jones key to UCLA’s recent success

Much was has been written about Joshua Smiths’ play in Oregon and Malcolm Lee and Tyler Honeycutt’s last weekend, but UCLA junior point guard Lazeric Jones is going a bit under the radar.

Jones leads the conference in free-throw shooting at 84.1 percent, and he’s slowly becoming the clutch finisher that Darren Collison was for UCLA during its big run, when he was one of the top free-throw shooters in the country.

I chatted extensively with Jones about his success at the line this season – particularly striking compared to the rest of his team, which is shooting 63 percent on free throws – and he has a great anecdote about one of his big games last season in junior college (and I’ll have the video up later today) and how it prepared him for this year.

Jones came up big against Cal and Stanford, hitting 20-of-23 free throws on his way to a combined 41-point effort in the two wins. He still needs to improve on his passing and decision-making – he has no more than three assists in any of the last six games, after his 11-assist outburst against Washington State.

But it’s clear to see that a major reason for the Bruins’ 13-6 record has been Jones in the clutch.

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