UCLA forward Kevon Looney named Pac-12 Player of the Week

After the best weekend of his UCLA career, true freshman Kevon Looney earned his first Pac-12 Player of the Week honor.

The rangy 6-foot-9 forward helped the Bruins break their five-loss streak with a dominant effort in Thursday’s double-overtime win over Stanford. In the 86-81 victory, Looney poured in an absurd line: 27 points, 19 rebounds, three assists and a block. He was the first UCLA player to have that many points and rebounds in a game since Ed O’Bannon in 1994.

His follow-up effort against Cal on Sunday wasn’t bad either. Looney led UCLA with 15 points in the 73-54 win, and also chipped in seven boards, two assists and two steals. Continue reading

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UCLA 86, Stanford 81: Kevon Looney, Tony Parker, Bryce Alford

After UCLA’s 86-81 win over Stanford in double overtime, Kevon Looney, Tony Parker and Bryce Alford talked to reporters about the game that finally snapped their month-long, five-loss streak.

“We couldn’t lose,” Looney said. “Nobody wanted to lose. I just picked up another gear and got going.”

Looney was the star of the night, setting career highs with 27 points and 19 rebounds. He scored 10 of UCLA’s 12 points during a crucial second-half run, one that powered the Bruins back from a double-digit deficit.

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UCLA 86, Stanford 81: Head coach Steve Alford

UCLA head coach Steve Alford talked about the Bruins’ 86-81 double-overtime win over Stanford, one that snapped the team’s five-game losing streak. Freshman Kevon Looney set career highs with 27 points and 19 rebounds, helping UCLA survive a barrage of 3-pointers by the Cardinal.

“I could not be more proud of that group of young men,” Alford said.

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Tony Parker: UCLA’s NCAA tournament chances ‘in question’

After five straight losses, UCLA is sitting with an 8-7 record and in serious danger of missing the NCAA tournament.Junior center Tony Parker admitted as much on Tuesday, shortly before the Bruins practiced at Pauley Pavilion.

“That’s definitely in question,” Parker said. “You have to win games to make the tournament. That’s a big-time thing for us. We have to win games to make the tournament. … We have a chance. We have a shot. It’s early. The line is going to draw in every conference pretty soon.”

He left the window open for his team by citing Oregon’s stretch of eight losses in 10 games before eventually winning eight straight and earning a No. 7 seed in March Madness.

UCLA hosts Stanford at 6 p.m. Thursday.

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UCLA falls at Utah, stuck in first five-loss streak since 2009

This has not been a good year for UCLA men’s basketball.

Just two weeks after being embarrassed on national television by No. 1 Kentucky, the Bruins face-planted again — this time in an ugly 71-39 loss at No. 10 Utah. That was UCLA’s lowest single-game scoring total since Feb. 17, 1967, and marked its first five-game losing streak since December 2009.

UCLA began its afternoon at the Huntsman Center by falling in a 6-0 hole, crept back to within one point, then gave up another 11-0 run to Utah. It was more or less over after that, with the only questions left being: a) how many more ill-conceived shots the Bruins would launch at the rim, and b) how many more “Airball!” chants would volley down from the Utes’ fans.

Point guard Bryce Alford dug deeper into his shooting slump, opening the game with a pair of bricks from beyond the arc and finishing 0-for-10 from the field. After a decent offensive start to the season, the sophomore is in a 5-of-39 drought in his last three games. Continue reading

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UCLA ends nonconference play at Alabama with third straight loss

Earlier this week, Steve Alford said plainly that UCLA is not ready to beat a top-10 team in mid-December. So how about an unranked team in late December?

After falling to then-No. 9 Gonzaga and No. 1 Kentucky earlier this month, the Bruins suffered their third straight loss on Sunday — a 56-50 loss at Alabama that featured yet another ugly start.

UCLA opened scoring with an alley-oop from Tony Parker to Norman Powell, but not much went well after that. The Crimson Tide went on a 20-3 run that finally ended nearly 15 minutes into the game, and took a 12-point lead into the break. Alabama guard Ricky Tarrant matched the Bruins on his own by scoring 17 points in the first half, and finished with a season-high 24 on 7 of 17 shooting. He also made 8 of 10 free throws, and had an assist and two steals. Continue reading

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Wanaah Bail ruled academically ineligible, out for UCLA’s season

UCLA forward Wanaah Bail has been ruled academically ineligible and will sit out the remainder of the season, leaving an already thin Bruins roster with just two frontcourt reserves.

After an injury-riddled freshman year, Bail was averaging 1.5 points and 2.6 rebounds in nine minutes per game. He made 11 appearances as a sophomore, but saw his usage dwindle consistently: after playing a career-high 17 minutes in UCLA’s season opener, Bail’s minutes dropped to 15, 12 and 10 in the next three games.

He never played more than eight after Thanksgiving, and was a healthy scratch in the Bruins’ 87-74 loss to then-No. 9 Gonzaga on Dec. 13. He ended his season by playing eight minutes in an 83-44 blowout loss to No. 1 Kentucky.

There was little to like about Bail’s performance this year. Continue reading

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