Head coach Steve Alford talks about his reaction to Jaylen Hands‘ between-the-legs pass, Kris Wilkes‘ windmill dunk and how the Bruins used their defense to produce the transition offense that’s been lacking lately.
UCLA got past the easiest part of its critical three-game home stand. And the Bruins needed to come back from an early 13-point deficit to just do that part.
Beating last-place Cal won’t do much to change UCLA’s season, but Saturday’s game might.
UCLA is trying to avoid the season sweep against Stanford on Saturday after the Cardinal beat the Bruins in double overtime in Palo Alto earlier this month. The Bruins are still trying to climb back from the three-game losing streak that knocked them from first to fifth in the Pac-12 and can’t afford any slip-ups in Pauley Pavilion, especially with USC visiting next weekend.
Saturday’s game tips off at 7:30 p.m. on Pac-12 Networks with the radio broadcast AM 570.
Links to preview the game
- UCLA made a change to its starting lineup against Cal, but will it stick for Stanford?
- UCLA isn’t included in CBS Sports’ projection (updated Friday)
- Joe Lunardi tweeted Saturday morning that he has UCLA in his “next four out” group
FIRST FOUR OUT: Maryland, SMU, Western Kentucky, Washington. NEXT FOUR OUT: South Carolina, Va Tech, UCLA, Georgia. FOUR MORE: Baylor, Bonaventure, Utah, LSU. FRINGE: BYU, Oklahoma St, NC State, Oregon, Boston College, Stanford.
— Joe Lunardi (@ESPNLunardi) January 27, 2018
— KingChurch23 (@BabyChurch23) January 26, 2018
For safety Kenny Churchwell, mom always knows best.
At his commitment ceremony at Mountain Pointe High in Phoenix on Friday, the three-star prospect seemed to play a game of “Eenie Meeny Mieny Mo” to pick between three schools, hovering his hand over Arizona, Arizona State and UCLA hats with each word. When the song ended with his hand above the yellow ASU cap, he started to put it on.
Then his mother, sitting to his left, stepped in.
She extended her arms, blocking Churchwell from putting on the ASU hat, then the 6-foot-2, 180-pound safety reached for the blue UCLA cap placed in front of his mother, becoming UCLA’s 16th known verbal commit for the class of 2018 with less than two weeks left until National Signing Day.
Churchwell, who comes from the same high school as former UCLA offensive lineman Kenny Lacy, also had Pac-12 offers from Cal, Utah and Washington State, along with his two in-state schools.
Churchwell is the third safety to commit to the Bruins for 2018, joining St. John Bosco’s Stephan Blaylock and junior college transfer Je’Vari Anderson. They also have Patrick Jolly, who committed as a cornerback. UCLA signed five defensive backs last year, but all were considered better fits for the cornerback position.
The recruiting class is ranked 19th in the country, according to 247 Sports’ Composite Rankings.
Steve Alford walked quickly from the UCLA bench to the other side of the floor, where his 7-foot center was clutching his left knee. Alford bent down low, comforting Thomas Welsh as trainers examined his knee in the first half against Cal on Thursday.
“I know he was most frustrated, most upset – not for him; he was upset because he knows what he means to the team and he was scared,” Alford said. “And that’s just who he is. He’s an incredible teammate.”
Despite a scary-looking injury that turned out to be a left knee sprain, Welsh returned to help the Bruins (14-7, 5-4 Pac-12) snap their three-game losing streak with a 70-57 win over Cal (7-14, 1-7 Pac-12) at Pauley Pavilion. The injury in the first half turned out to be the best thing for the Bruins, who needed a wake-up call after yet another slow start that had them falling into a 13-point hole against the last-place Bears.
After Welsh went down, the Bruins went on a 16-0 run, part of 18 unanswered points in a 24-4 finish to the first half.
Links to wrap up the game