Culprit in UCLA’s season-ending loss to Kentucky wasn’t defense

Kentucky scored 50 points in the second half of its Sweet 16 win over UCLA, but the Wildcats’ shooting percentage was well below UCLA’s.

On the surface, the UCLA basketball team’s season-ending 86-75 loss to Kentucky in the Sweet 16 can be attributed to a defensive collapse evidenced by the Wildcats’ 50-point second half. It’s not nearly that simple.

In fact, it had little to do with UCLA’s often-criticized ability to guard.

Let’s start from the beginning.

UCLA coach Steve Alford has lamented missed opportunities in a low-scoring first half, but the 36-33 score in favor of Kentucky was uncharacteristic for both UCLA, the highest-scoring team in college basketball, and Kentucky, the ninth-highest scoring team. Call it a wash.

The game was decided in the first 15 minutes of the second half.

The most confounding number in the box score is UCLA’s 63 percent shooting in a second half during which its deficit grew from three to a final margin of 11 points. A closer look at the decisive 15 minutes reveals something even more shocking. The Bruins actually shot 69 percent during the portion of the game when their deficit increased from three to 13. Continue reading “Culprit in UCLA’s season-ending loss to Kentucky wasn’t defense” »

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UCLA football season opener moved to Sept. 3

UCLA Bruins helmets during the game against the Oregon Ducks at Rose Bowl in 2014. (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

UCLA’s 2017 season opener against Texas A&M has been moved to Sunday, Sept. 3. The game, which was previously scheduled for Sept. 2, will kick off at either 4:30 p.m. or 5 p.m. PT at the Rose Bowl.

The Bruins start spring camp April 4 with a revamped offensive coaching staff trying to bounce back from their disappointing 4-8 2016 season.

Here’s UCLA’s updated football schedule, with a look at the spring practice schedule.

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Jordin Canada named AP honorable mention All-American

UCLA guard Jordin Canada goes to the basket past Boise State forward Shalen Shaw during the second half of a first-round game in the NCAA women’s college basketball tournament, Saturday, March 18, 2017, in Los Angeles. UCLA won 83-56. (AP Photo/Danny Moloshok)

Junior guard Jordin Canada earned a second straight AP honorable mention All-American nod this week after she led UCLA to a second consecutive Sweet 16 appearance.

The Bruins made back-to-back Sweet 16s for the first time in school history, falling to No. 1 Connecticut this year as Canada set a school record for single-season assists. Her 242 assists this year surpassed Mary Hegarty‘s mark of 240, set in the 1980-81 season.

Canada was also named first-team All-Pac-12 and to the Pac-12 All-Defensive team. She led the Pac-12 in assists with 7.1 per game and steals with 2.5 per game. She led the Bruins in scoring with 17.9 points per game.

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Lonzo Ball an AP All-America; Kansas’ Mason Player of the Year


Lonzo Ball added one of the largest feathers in his cap on Monday, when he was named an Associated Press first team All-America. UCLA’s point guard is the only freshman on the team.

Kansas’ Frank Mason III won AP Player of the Year, an indication that the Jayhawks point guard may be Ball’s chief competition for the Wooden and Naismith Awards given to college basketball’s top player. Ball and Mason learned on Monday that they’re two of the five finalists for the Wooden Award with AP All-America first-teamers Josh Hart and Caleb Swanigan and second-teamer Gonzaga’s Nigel Williams-Goss. Ball and Mason are two of four finalists for the Naismith Award with Hart and Swanigan.

Ball added the Associated Press to many others who have named him a first team All-America, including USA Today, Sports Illustrated, The National Association of Basketball Coaches, the U.S. Basketball Writers Association, The Sporting News, Basketball Times and NBC Sports.

AP All-America Teams

FIRST TEAM
G: Lonzo Ball, Freshman, UCLA (14.6 ppg, 7.6 apg, 6.0 rpg)
G: Frank Mason III, Senior, Kansas (20.8 ppg, 5.1 apg, 4.1 rpg)
G: Josh Hart, Senior, Villanova (18.7 ppg, 6.4 rpg, 2.9 apg)
F: Justin Jackson, Junior, North Carolina (18.2 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 2.8 apg)
F: Caleb Swanigan, Sophomore, Purdue (18.5 ppg, 12.5 rpg, 3.1 apg) Continue reading “Lonzo Ball an AP All-America; Kansas’ Mason Player of the Year” »

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UCLA weekend recap: Offense breaks out in baseball sweep

The UCLA baseball team entered this weekend as one of the worst hitting teams in the Pac-12. After a three-game sweep over California at home, it looks like the Bruins might be ready to climb up the rankings.

UCLA scored 38 combined runs with 36 hits in its sweep, capping off the weekend with a 20-0 thrashing of the Bears (9-12, 1-5 Pac-12). The 20-run total was the most for the Bruins in a single game since 2010. The Bruins won 9-5 on Friday and 9-4 on Saturday.

UCLA (10-11, 4-2 Pac-12) was last in the conference in hitting percentage (.237) and second-to-last in runs scored (73) before this weekend.

First baseman Sean Bouchard led the Bruins with eight RBIs over the weekend, highlighted by a career-high five on Sunday. Cal committed seven errors Sunday, which led to 11 unearned runs.

Jon Olsen pitched a career-high seven innings Sunday while holding the Bears to just three hits in the shutout.

Elsewhere in UCLA athletics:  Continue reading “UCLA weekend recap: Offense breaks out in baseball sweep” »

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