UCLA links: Josh Rosen sends thanks to Jim Mora

Josh Rosen knows he hasn’t always been perfect, both on and off the field, but through whatever controversy he stirred up during the past three years, Jim Mora always defended his quarterback. Rosen is grateful.

“We all are forever indebted to him,” Rosen said of his former head coach who was fired this week. “He has helped me grow up, mature, get closer to becoming a man. I mean, I’ve made a lot of mistakes and he’s always been by my side when I think a lot of people maybe wouldn’t, so it’s not just with me it’s with everyone on the team.”

More on Rosen’s reaction to Mora’s firing and how the team is moving forward with Jedd Fisch

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Photos: UCLA women’s basketball falls to No. 1 UConn

Click the photo above or (HERE) to see photos of No. 5 UCLA’s 78-60 loss to No. 1 Connecticut at Pauley Pavilion on Tuesday.

Above, clockwise from top left: UConn head coach Geno Auriemma cheers on his team from the bench; UCLA forward Monique Billings tries to box out UConn’s Azurá Stevens; UCLA guard Jordin Canada pushes the ball up court; UCLA head coach Cori Close talks to Canada. (All photos by Scott Varley/SCNG)

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Aaron Holiday rescues UCLA against Wisconsin

Steve Alford called a timeout with 13 seconds left. He knew what play he wanted.

Aaron Holiday scored the game-winning layup with 0.9 second left against Wisconsin on Tuesday in the third-place game of the Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City, Mo., using a screen from Thomas Welsh as the Bruins won 72-70.

“You just dream of it growing up,” Holiday told reporters of scoring game-winners. “You dream of big moments, being there, and making the big play. I just try to be aggressive. My teammates and my coach gave me confidence and gave me the ball, and we came up with the win.”

Holiday scored the final 10 points for UCLA (4-1) and finished with a team-high 18.

UCLA trailed by six, 65-59, with 3:52 to go, but Holiday dished one of his five assists to Jaylen Hands for a 3-pointer that sparked the Bruin comeback. Holiday took over from there, hitting two 3-pointers, two free throws and the game-winning layup all in the final 2:47.

“He is my pit-bull,” Alford said of Holiday. “You just turn him loose. I have all the confidence. He might not make the shot, but he is going to give me everything he has. And he is pretty good at making those shots.”

Welsh and G.G. Goloman had 11 points each. Welsh added eight rebounds and two steals.

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UCLA men’s basketball listless on defense in first loss of season

UCLA’s Thomas Welsh (40) attempts to block a shot by Creighton’s Davion Mintz (1) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Hall of Fame Classic, Monday, Nov. 20, 2017, in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Before this season, it had been 13 years since the UCLA men’s basketball team gave up 100 points in a game. The No. 23 Bruins have now done it twice in three games after losing to Creighton 100-89 on Monday in the Hall of Fame Classic in Kansas City, Mo.

UCLA (3-1) had career highs from Aaron Holiday (25 points) and Prince Ali (18 points), but allowed the Bluejays (4-0) to shoot 54.8 percent from the field in the second half.

“We just couldn’t get stops,” UCLA coach Steve Alford told reporters. “We just couldn’t get any stops that mattered. Offensively we did a lot of good things. We had the inside-out going like we wanted. We just couldn’t get the stops and I thought that was the key.”

The Bruins, who also gave up 101 points to Central Arkansas in overtime last Wednesday, play Wisconsin in the third-place game on Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. PT (live stream on Watch ESPN).

Creighton, which was coming off an upset over then-No. 20 Northwestern, was led by Marcus Foster and Mitch Ballock, who had 23 and 22 points, respectively.

The Bruins struggled with foul trouble all night, further emphasizing their short bench in the wake of the indefinite suspensions of freshmen LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill.

Thomas Welsh picked up three fouls in the first half and played 27 minutes. He still recorded a double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds with two blocks as UCLA’s other big men, G.G. Goloman and Alex Olesinski picked up four and three fouls, respectively, and combined for just six rebounds and four points.

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Video: Chris Smith, Jaylen Hands, Alex Olesinski after UCLA’s 96-68 win over South Carolina State

Freshman Chris Smith and Jaylen Hands and redshirt sophomore Alex Olesinski talk about the second-half defensive effort against South Carolina State, preparing for another tough road trip to Kansas City and how the team was able to use its size advantage against the Bulldogs on Friday.

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