VIDEO: Tony Parker talks about his career game for UCLA

Two days after one of his worst games of the season, UCLA center Tony Parker erupted for a career-high 28 points and 12 rebounds. In a 92-75 win over UAB that put them in a second consecutive Sweet 16, the Bruins benefited from the Blazers’ lack of double teams inside.

“I really thought they were going to double-team me,” Parker said. “Their coach decided not to. That was his and his staff’s decision. Good luck with that.”

The 6-foot-9 junior became the first UCLA player to record at least 28 points and 12 rebounds in an NCAA Tournament game since Kevin Love in 2008.

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UCLA reaches second straight Sweet 16, Tony Parker scores 28

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Tony Parker began this NCAA Tournament with one of his worst outings of the season.

He only played 18 minutes in Thursday’s win over SMU, even though he only had two fouls. He finished with three points and two rebounds. He missed five of his six shots, and sat for the final five minutes of the game.

“For whatever reason, he was run down a bit,” said UCLA coach Steve Alford.

On Saturday, he made up for lost time, anchoring the No. 11-seed Bruins as they earned a second straight trip to the Sweet 16. In a 92-75 win over 14th-seeded UAB, Parker scored a career-high 28 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. It was his sixth double-double of the season.

By halftime, he had already scored 19 points. No one else in this NCAA Tournament had scored more in a single period. Against a Blazers squad not blessed with size, the 6-foot-9 center was part of UCLA’s early game plan to attack the paint. Continue reading

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At a glance: No. 11-seed UCLA vs. No. 14-seed UAB

No. 11-seed UCLA (21-13) vs. No. 14-seed UAB (20-15)
NCAA Tournament — South Regional, Round of 32
Saturday, 9:10 a.m. PT, KFC Yum! Center (Louisville, Ky.)
TV: CBS (Verne Lundquist, Jim Spanarkel, Allie LaForce)
Radio: AM 570 (Chris Roberts, Tracy Murray)

Scouting report: UCLA might have earned one of the NCAA Tournament’s most surprising bids this year, but after one game, the Bruins are set up as a favorite to reach their second straight Sweet 16.

It certainly helps that this is the team’s second time drawing a double-digit seed in the round of 32. The Bruins dispatched 12th-seeded Stephen F. Austin without much drama in 2014, and could do the same to 14th-seeded Blazers on Saturday in Louisville.

The two rosters look quite different, but there is one similarity between SFA and UAB: offensive rebounding. Last year’s Lumberjacks squad was ranked 12th nationally in offensive rebounding percentage, while the Blazers will enter the KFC Yum! Center tomorrow at No. 71 in the country. UAB isn’t particularly intimidating otherwise. According to kenpom.com, it ranks outside the national top 240 in effective field goal percentage (47.4) and turnover percentage (20.4).

The team’s biggest key might be freshman William Lee, a former Alabama Mr. Basketball who was hampered by a knee injury early this season and didn’t play against UCLA during the Battle 4 Atlantis’ seventh-place game — a contest that the Bruins took by 12 points and led for all by 22 seconds. Now healthy, Lee is averaging 13.0 and 7.3 rebounds in his last eight games, and his team is 5-2 when he grabs double-digit rebounds.

Lee also pairs with point guard Nick Norton as two of UAB’s more dangerous threats from outside. The former has hit 19 of 43 from beyond the arc, and is the only player on the team shooting above 40 percent there. The latter has hit 55 of 143, slightly behind leading scorer Robert Brown (56 of 176) in volume but comfortably ahead in accuracy.

Norton takes an absurd 84.2 percent of his field goals from 3-point range.

Opposing player to watch: On Friday, UAB coach Jerod Haase was asked how drastically he changed the roles of some of his players this season. “When I told certain guys that you will not shoot any more threes, it’s about as drastic as you can get,” he responded.

The best example of that is sophomore Tyler Madison, who grabbed a career-high nine offensive rebounds in his team’s upset of Iowa State on Thursday. Continue reading

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UCLA vs. UAB scheduled to start Saturday’s tournament slate

The NCAA Tournament’s Saturday schedule will start with UCLA vs. UAB.

The No. 11-seed Bruins will tip off against the 14th-seeded Blazers at 9:10 a.m. PT at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, with the broadcast set on CBS. The two teams both won 60-59 on Thursday, defeating sixth-seeded SMU and third-seeded Iowa State, respectively.

This will be only the fifth-ever matchup between No. 11 and No. 14 seeds. The former has won all of those meetings, and each by at least 13 points.

Of course, UCLA already beat UAB by 12 points in November, winning the seventh-place game at the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas.

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