UCLA 78, Colorado 75: Travis Wear scores career-high 23

For the second straight game, forward Travis Wear kept UCLA afloat against furious rallies. The Bruins (14-3, 4-0) couldn’t have extended their winning streak to nine games without his recent emergence, the 6-foot-10 junior becoming a frighteningly automatic weapon from 15 feet out.

He has now scored double digits in five straight games, something he also did last January. If his shot remains consistent, then UCLA is a very legitimate contender for the Pac-12 title. The win over Colorado (11-5, 1-3) is one of the Bruins’ most impressive this season, proving that the young team can survive on the road while diversifying its offense.

At the very least, Travis has clearly distinguished himself from his twin. David Wear ended the mountain trip with four field goal attempts, finishing with one make. He has yet to play more than 20 minutes in conference play after eclipsing the mark in the prior seven games.

There was a stretch within the game’s last six minutes that was essentially captured the Wears in microcosm. Colorado was in the midst of a 7-0 run, and — as UCLA double-teamed the perimeter — found Josh Scott alone in the post against David Wear. Scott couldn’t find the bucket, but Xavier Johnson streaked in for a rebound and drew the foul against David, who finished with two points.

Two possessions later, Travis Wear cut short the Buffs’ streak and scored UCLA’s next nine points, starting with three-point play helped by Jordan Adams’ heady pass in transition. Colorado fought back with key 3-pointers from Askia Booker and Spencer Dinwiddie — who combined for 12 points in the final 1:08 — but Booker’s attempt to tie at the buzzer drew iron.

The Bruins led by as much as 13 points, and unleashed a punishing 16-3 run midway through the second half. After Shabazz Muhammad turned a Kyle Anderson assist into an emphatic fast-break dunk, Jordan Adams capped that streak by converting a four-point play. Adams was second on the team with 18 points, but did miss a free throw when the Buffs began fouling to get back into the game.

UCLA was up 35-34 over Colorado after the first 20 minutes, the first time Buffs trailed at halftime since a blowout loss at Kansas. Shabazz had another uneven game, shooting 1 of 5 to start the game. He finished with 14 points on 6 of 16 shooting. That the Bruins can win without stellar outings from their best player is rather encouraging.

Notes:
— This is the first time UCLA has won its first two conference road games since 2008-09. The Bruins finished second in the Pac-10 that year, losing to Villanova in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
— Larry Drew II had a very lackluster statline with 0 points, five assists and two turnovers. The senior is averaging 6.0 assists away from Pauley Pavilion, compared to 9.18 at home. He turns the ball over 2.33 times in road/neutral games and 1.27 in Westwood. Might have some friendly statisticians in Los Angeles.
— Tony Parker played double-digit minutes for the first time since Dec. 15, when he scored nine points in 18 minutes against Prairie View A&M. The freshman had two points and two rebounds in 13 minutes against the Buffs.
— Kyle Anderson, on Twitter: “I hope i never have to play in colorado again this altitude or w.e is something serious!!”

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