Lonzo Ball on Isaac Hamilton: ‘Obviously, he’s back.’


None of the three UCLA players who had postgame press conferences after Thursday’s 102-80 win over Arizona State had any idea Isaac Hamilton tied a significant school record.

It’s hard to blame them. Bryce Alford tied the same record with nine 3-pointers in a game a week earlier. It’s probably just understood at this point that No. 3 UCLA is so special offensively, breaking records just comes with the territory.

Hamilton wasn’t one of the three players made available to the media after the game because the senior guard was getting stitches after suffering a lacerated tongue. But making 9 of 14 attempts from 3-point range and scoring a season-high 33 points had to mean a great deal to him after a recent shooting slump during which he made 4 of 34 attempts from beyond the arc range over a seven-game stretch.

Hamilton made 4 of 5 3-pointers a week ago, seemingly pulling out of the slump during a win at Colorado, where UCLA set a school record with 19 3-pointers. But Hamilton followed that with a 1-for-7 performance from beyond the arc in Saturday’s 83-82 win at Utah. He made 7 of 8 from 3-point range in Thursday’s first half alone, outscoring Arizona by himself, 25-21, by the time he made his seventh with 6:08 left in the first half.

“Obviously, he’s back,” Lonzo Ball said. “I like playing with him when he’s like that.”

Links to our coverage of the 102-80 win over Arizona State:

  • Game story: Hamilton leads UCLA to best start since 1992
  • Notebook: UCLA to honor Kareem at halftime of Arizona game
  • Video: Lonzo Ball ready for UCLA’s offense to get even better
  • Video: TJ Leaf takes it personally when teams try to run with UCLA
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  • Expect fireworks show from UCLA, Arizona State tonight

    UCLA is one of just 26 teams with more 3-pointers than Arizona State this season

    UCLA is one of just 26 teams with more 3-pointers than Arizona State this season

    A lot of offense. A lot less defense.

    That’s what fans can expect tonight at Pauley Pavilion when Arizona pays a visit to No. 3 UCLA. The numbers are crystal clear in this respect.

    Both UCLA and Arizona State rank in the top 40 in offensive efficiency, according to kenpom.com. That doesn’t quite to justice to UCLA, which is No. 1 in the country by a wide margin, scoring 124.9 points per 100 possessions.

    The Bruins’ defensive efficiency is 101st, according to Ken Pomroy’s statistical analysis, and Arizona State’s is 284th out of 351 Division I college basketball teams. The obvious conclusion is that there will be many, many points scored tonight.

    Consider that UCLA just scored 104 points and made a school-record 19 3-pointers last week against a Colorado team that ranks 75th in defensive efficiency. UCLA has twice broken its school record for 3-pointers this season alone. The Bruins are averaging 92.9 points per game, the third-highest in program history behind a pair of teams that won national championships.

    An Arizona State team with a potent enough offense to put up a sizeable number on UCLA could create the formula for the Bruins’ best offensive display of the season. Read the complete preview for UCLA versus Arizona State here.

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    UCLA recruits to face off in McDonald’s All-American game

    Following in the footsteps of UCLA freshmen Lonzo Ball and TJ Leaf, two of the Bruins’ 2017 recruits will play in the prestigious McDonald’s All-American basketball game March 29.

    Point guard Jaylen Hands, Leaf’s teammate at Foothills Christian (El Cajon, Calif.) High School, will play for the West Team. Kris Wilkes, a 6-foot-8 guard from Indianapolis, will be a member of the East Team.

    The two are part of a five-man UCLA recruiting class ranked second in the country by rivals.com, scout.com and espn.com. UCLA coach Steve Alford casually mentioned this week that UCLA may add to the 2017 recruiting class. Continue reading

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    UCLA flips CB Morrell Osling from Colorado

    After pulling in only nine commits during 2016 for this year’s recruiting class, UCLA is gearing up for a big comeback in January.

    The Bruins picked up their second commit of the day Wednesday, successfully flipping Antelope Valley cornerback Morrell Osling from Colorado.

    Osling, a 6-foot-3, 170-pound, three-star prospect, committed to Colorado in July. He was also a quarterback in high school, but is projected to play defense in college.

    Osling’s teammate Moses Robinson-Carr, once an Oregon pledge, committed to UCLA earlier this week.

    Osling announced his commitment to UCLA on Twitter a few hours after defensive end Odua Isibor. The Bruins have 16 commits for the class of 2017 with two weeks left until National Signing Day (Feb. 1). UCLA has picked up seven commits in the month of January, including five-star defensive back Darnay Holmes, who committed at the U.S. Army All-American Game. UCLA jumped up 11 spots in ESPN’s national recruiting rankings Wednesday to No. 20.

    UCLA’s commitment list so far: Continue reading

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    Steve Alford: Bryce ‘as tough mentally as they come’

    "CU vs UCLA Mens Basketball"It’s not often that Bryce Alford is on the bench for critical moments of a game, but Steve Alford removed his son with six seconds left in UCLA’s 83-82 win over Utah on Saturday.

    Utah had the ball trailing by three and Steve Alford wanted his best defensive lineup on the floor. That meant guard Aaron Holiday was a better option than Bryce Alford, who is probably the team’s weakest defender.

    Steve Alford said didn’t feel the need to explain the move to his son, chuckling as he answered the question before UCLA’s practice on Tuesday.

    “He’s so much tougher mentally than that,” Steve Alford said. “That guy is as tough mentally as it comes, so I don’t ever worry about that whether he’s making a big shot, a big free throw, missing a free throw. I know he wants it the next time and that’s just who he is. He’s got that DNA in him that he’s a tough, tough kid that enjoys the competition, enjoys the big moments. But you can watch him whether he’s on the bench or on the floor, you can see the demeanor of how he supports this team because this team is a lot of fun.”

    Bryce Alford readily acknowledged Holiday’s defensive prowess and said he didn’t blame his father for the decision. Continue reading

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